I’ve just finished reading Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, so it was interesting to listen to Stephen Cottrell, the new Archbishop of York, speaking about Cedd and the Synod of Whitby.
The disagreements in AD 664 were profound: nothing less than the correct date for Easter, and the way monks should cut their hair! Cedd was on the losing side of the argument, but (1) the church made a clear decision, and (2) Cedd submitted to it.
Cedd, it seems, knew that the church needed to be shaped by agreement, not by ‘living together with our conscientiously held disagreements’ (something which apparently didn’t occur to the Synod of Whitby). May there be more Cedds today: people who help the church to make a clear decision on its significant points of disagreement in a timely manner, and who are willing to live in obedience to the church’s teaching.