General Synod – Friday's business

Updated Saturday morning to add more press reports, and on Sunday

The July 2016 meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England has opened.

There is a live video stream here.

The agenda and other papers are available here.

Order Paper I listing all the day’s business. Synod agreed to vary the order of business after item 6 to that on page 4.

Scroll down for press reports.

As announced last week, the Archbishops have added a motion on the EU Referendum, which will be debated this afternoon. The text of the motion is:

The Archbishop of Canterbury to move:

That this Synod, recognising the result of the recent referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union, welcome the Archbishops’ call for all to unite in the common task of building a generous and forward looking country, contributing to human flourishing around the world, and encourage all members of the Church of England to play their part actively in partnership with everyone in Civil Society in pursuit of this task.

One amendement to the motion was carried so that it became:

That this Synod, recognising the result of the recent referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union:
a) welcome the Archbishops’ call for all to unite in the common task of building a generous and forward looking country, contributing to human flourishing around the world, and encourage all members of the Church of England to play their part actively in partnership with everyone in Civil Society in pursuit of this task; and
b) commend the work already carried out by the Church in bringing communities together and recommend that as a minimum every bishop identify a champion in their diocese to assess what more the Church could do and to make recommendations for creating stronger and more constructive links between local communities as a basis for achieving this common task.

in which form it was clearly carried on a show of hands.

There’s an official press release: Synod approves motion to build a ‘generous and forward looking country’ in the aftermath of the EU Referendum, and texts of the speeches by the two archbishops: Canterbury and York.

Questions were taken after dinner. The booklet of questions and answers, issued in advance, is here. The Synod session only dealt with supplementary questions and answers.

Audio recordings of the day’s debates are made available here, and (the questions session) here.

There is a brief official summary of the day’s business: General Synod July 2016 sessions: Friday

Press reports

Madeleine Davies and Hattie Williams and Tim Wyatt Church Times Look forward with generosity, Synod urges a divided nation

Gavin Drake Anglican Communion News Service Christians urged to “build generous forward looking country”

Harry Farley Christian Today General Synod: Church of England opts to ‘recognise’ EU referendum result despite opposition

John Bingham The Telegraph
Church of England vicar says Brexit vote is not just a cry of ‘incoherent rage’

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian ‘Lasses’ jobs’ replacing industry led to Brexit vote, says clergyman

Tom Richmond Yorkshire Post Archbishop of York calls upon post-Brexit Britain to evoke spirit of Nelson Mandela

Sunday update

Stephen Lynas reviews the day’s business: Time is tight.


  • Father David says:

    Rather would that the Archbishop of Canterbury were proposing a Second Referendum in the light that so many people who voted Leave now wish that they had voted Remain when considering the political, economic and financial mess that a Brexit win has foisted upon the country.

  • Kate says:

    The motion is pure fluff but for once at least the fluff reads well and for that we should be grateful.

    I become ever more disappointed in ABC however. He said this:

    “The length of the EU referendum campaign, the high turnout and the clarity of the result… “

    It is key that the result is NOT clear. Not only was the margin slim but Scotland and Northern Ireland voted against Remain and the constitutional implications of that are anything but clear.

    It is also apparent that both archbishops spoke of race but ignored the ongoing discrimination faced by LGBT+ people. Not only is that disappointing but I worry they intend to use Brexit to focus attention away from the issues faced by LGBT+ people.

  • Alas, Father David; that’s what democracy is all about – allowing people to make their own mistakes and repenting afterwards.

  • Neil Patterson says:

    For the avoidance of doubt, the vote on the post-Referendum motion was taken by a show of hands because of a problem with the electronic voting apparatus, which seemed to have confused some of our identities vis-à-vis the cards. It would have been possible to have an old-fashioned division out through the doors, but that would have taken a long time and still not recorded individual votes.

  • Nick Nawrockyi says:

    I was disappointed to see the Bishop of Willesden (Q&A, p.17) use the language of “Christians who experience same sex attraction.” It really buys into the notion that such “experience” can be changed, cured or otherwise suppressed in pursuit of celibacy.

  • Daniel Berry NYC says:

    The EU’s purpose includes a key phrase, “free movement of capital.” This insidious provision is very important to “owners” of capital because it entitles them to go into any area affected by the agreement and destroy the traditional economy by buying up and exporting local industries to, say, India, leaving behind only what are unkindly referred to by the Vicar of St Oswald’s in Hartlepool as “lasses’ jobs.” It’s the meaning of the NAFTA agreement that has destroyed the lives of innumerable farmers and other working people in Mexico, and promises to do the same in the Pacific Rim agreement now being worked into place. In other words, it allows the pigs to gobble up anything they wish with no accountability, because, you see, it’s entirely “legal.” Meanwhile, many thousands – no, millions – have their lives and livelihoods destroyed by the insatiable need for more driving the already grotesquely overfed, overprivileged who already have far more than they can need or use. I’m very sure that Hartlepool is one of dozens of communities in the UK that have been ruined in this way. But forces like the IMF will not be put off. I’m delighted by the vote. Communities are entitled not to have themselves destroyed by controllers of commercial interests who suffer no ill consequences from “free movement of (their) capital.”

  • Kate says:

    Daniel, perhaps but for every loser in Hartlepool there may have been ten winners in India and as Christians why should we see those in Hartlepool as mattering more.?

  • Graeme Buttery says:

    my purpose in saying what I did, in the way that I said it, was not to pass judgement in any way. I was trying to get over what the local folk actually say and believe, whether or not I believe it. Come to Hartlepool and I will introduce you to several of the people who have said that to me. I was not giving my views, but trying to give fellow Synod members an insight into why others might have voted not was also not about Macro trade agreements, movement of capital or EU bureaucracy, but what these good folk have actually said, and believe

    Graeme Buttery

  • Graeme Buttery says:

    at the risk of sounding repetitive, I tried merely to represent the views of the people among whom I live and minister. Their point would be, not that Indians are less important than us, but that nobody seems to show any care for us. And anyway, we should be concerned for the wellbeing of all people, regardless of who they are, and whether we are Christians or not.


  • Daniel Berry NYC says:

    @ Kate: It’s a false dichotomy. The issue really isn’t “mattering more” but having a way of live stolen by the unregulated excesses of private capital. By parsing the points I make as you’ve done, you’ve neatly stepped around that entire issue; and I can’t help wondering why.

    More to the point (IMHO) is that people in all times and all places have pretty much always been able to construct, regulate and maintain their ways of life. The attitude inherent in colonialism, i.e., that might makes right, which underpins the idea of “free movement of capital” is just another disguise for the iron fist of capitalism. The British colonial enterprise in India created economic problems (and starvation) that are far less likely to occur of peoples are able to run their own affairs for their own commonweal–not for the benefit of those who can command armies as in the modern capitalist state.

  • Daniel Berry, NYC says:

    Kate, let me make my point just a little clearer: improvement of the economic lot of people in India does not have to be based upon deprivation of people in rusting industrial cities and towns in the UK. The world is big enough and has plenty enough resources for everyone. To say that one group must be allowed to benefit at the expense of another is rubbish.

  • Pete Broadbent says:

    Nick – the answer is more nuanced than that – I referred to “Christians who experience same sex attraction or identify as LGBTI” We will be hearing from people who use both sorts of descriptions about themselves. You may not like how people self-describe, but a proper liberality must be afforded to people to wear their own labels.

  • Kate says:

    The lady I live with disagrees with me on this too, but attempting to preserve our privileged way of life by keeping immigrants out and by not wanting to outsource work to poorer countries is, I feel, morally indefensible for a Christian. The issue is income disparity in this country, and that wealth can be inherited, not international issues. One of the problems for the Conservatives is that Europe has been used as the bogey man for all injustices and, if we leave, the social injustices within the UK will suddenly be seen much more clearly.

  • Daniel Berry, NYC says:

    Kate, I don’t think I’d blame working class people for the gross inequality among the classes: such rhetoric is the weapon handily and effectively used by the privileged to divert attention from the fact that decision-making in faux-democratic institutions favors the conspicuously privileged; and those ill-advised enough to raise their voices, and perhaps, their fists, in protest, are likely to have those voices silenced, those fists cut off. Surely it can’t have escaped your notice that, when push comes to shove, the police and the military are the private army of private capital? Meanwhile, Marx was absolutely right: those living at the top of the heap so constructed and defended, are parasites. Nevertheless, I also agree with Churchill: Democracy is a terrible form of government; but all the others are so much worse. Of course, he also said that if you’re not a communist by the time you’re twenty, you have no heart; if you’re still a communist by the time your thirty, you have no head.

  • James Byron says:

    There’s a longstanding, respectable Brexit position based on national sovereignty and trade flexibility. It’s globalist and forward looking, and imagines Great Britain as a supersized Norway.

    This particular vote, by contrast, was won by the Brit version of Donald Trump, on the basis of keeping immigrants out, and if allowed to proceed, will follow that vision. Great Britain (sorry, rUK) will end up like South Africa alright, but not how the Archbishop of York imagines.

    Any church that can’t even oppose rampant nativism should just shut the doors and hand its real estate over for something useful: sure the Donald would welcome a new golf course or hundred.

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