Monday, 16 December 2013

February 2014 General Synod

General Synod will meet in London from 10 to 12 February 2014. The outline agenda was issued today, and is copied below.

One item requires some explanation - the proposal to suspend Standing Order 90(b)(iiii). This appears to be a misprint for 90(b)(iii), which is the standing order requiring dioceses to be given at least six months to respond to a reference of Article 8 business (such as the legislation on Women in the Episcopate). If Synod agrees to suspend this standing order the reference to dioceses can be completed before the July 2014 meeting of Synod, thereby allowing final approval of the legislation to be taken then.

The texts of the private member’s motions and the diocesan synod motions are online.

GENERAL SYNOD: FEBRUARY 2014 GROUP OF SESSIONS

Timetable

Monday 10 February

2 pm – 7.00 pm

2.00 pm Worship
Introductions, welcomes, progress of legislation
Report by the Business Committee
Dates of groups of sessions in 2016-2018
Presentation by the Ethical Investment Advisory Group
Gender-Based Violence: Report by the Mission and Public Affairs Council

Not later than 5.30 pm Questions

Tuesday 11 February

9.15 am – 1.00 pm
9.15 am Holy Communion
10.45 am Women in the Episcopate: Consideration of the House of Bishops Declaration and draft disputes resolution procedure regulations

Legislative Business
Women in the Episcopate: Revision Stage for the draft Measure and Amending Canon

2.30 pm – 7.15 pm
2.30 pm Women in the Episcopate: Continuation of Revision Stage for the draft Measure and Amending Canon

Preliminary consideration of the draft Act of Synod rescinding the 1993 Act of Synod

Motion to suspend SO 90(b)(iiii)

Legislative Business
Church of England (Naming of Dioceses) Measure
Church of England (Pensions) Amendment Measure
Draft Parochial Fees and Scheduled Matters Amending Order
Legal Officers (Annual Fees) Order
Legal Officers (Annual Fees) (Amendment) Order
Church Representation Rules (Amendment) Resolution

7.00-7.15 pm Evening worship

Wednesday 12 February

9.15 am – 1.00 pm
9.15 am Worship
9.30 am Presidential Address by the Archbishop of Canterbury
Motion on proposed new legislation on Safeguarding

11.00 am Legislative Business
(Any uncompleted business from Tuesday)

Not later than 11.45 am Southwark DSM: Environmental Issues

2.30 pm – 5.30 pm

2.30 pm PMM: Alison Ruoff: Girl Guides’ Promise
PMM: Revd Christopher Hobbs: Canon B 8

Not later than 4.15 pm Pilling Report: Presentation and Next Steps (including Q&A)

Farewells

5.30 pm Prorogation

Contingency Business
Guildford DSM on the Magna Carta

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 16 December 2013 at 10:35pm GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

So, no more than an hour or so on 'Pilling'? Obviously way down the list of priorities.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Monday, 16 December 2013 at 10:45pm GMT

Note for information: Guildford DSM on Magna Carta is not yet on the link

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Monday, 16 December 2013 at 10:49pm GMT

Mrs Williams leads the way in securing a hearing for her Private Members Motion.

Here is an outstanding opportunity to highlight this woman's outrageous views and to demonstrate just how deeply concerning her public pronouncements are.

Synod has a real opportunity to show its mind.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 17 December 2013 at 3:00am GMT

No small groups!

Posted by: Susan Cooper on Tuesday, 17 December 2013 at 6:42am GMT

Mrs Williams is trying to update the Higton motion to enshrine the 'traditional' teaching of sex and marriage while the Chester motion is designed to eliminate Jeffrey John, yet again. Will they fail to get enough signatures? I am not holding my breath.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Tuesday, 17 December 2013 at 8:54am GMT

So, Andrea Minichiello Williams has the motion:

'That this Synod affirm the public doctrine of Christian marriage, between a man and a woman, as set out in the Book of Common Prayer as the only basis for engagement with public policy on marriage and family life.'

The ONLY basis! The only basis for engagement "with public policy"! Presumably, that includes criminal justice, and fits in nicely with her campaign to say that any lesbian or gay man who has a sexual relationship should be punished by the criminal law.

This had attracted, by 26 November this year, 134 signatures from other members of General Synod!

I believe there are 226 members of the House of Laity. Therefore, if she has not got signatures from any clergy or bishops, she has signatures from more than half the House of Laity. If she has signatures from other parts of the Synod (Chris Sugden, clergy, has probably signed, for example), then she has support from 134 out of 467 members, which is approaching one third of the total. This is an astonishingly high proportion for a motion like this at this time. She might have more signatures by now.

On the other hand, John Ward's motion to allow churches to opt in as places available for the registration of civil partnerships has an almost equal number, 128 signatures.

Even if the bishops propose a calming amendment based on Pilling - for example, welcoming a proposal for facilitated conversations on these issues - it is clear that the Synod is strongly divided.

As Pilling says, "...the Church of England's travails over these issues are becoming an increasing scandal to many and... a massive missiological challenge."

Posted by: badman on Tuesday, 17 December 2013 at 9:39am GMT

Mrs Williams' motion is not scheduled for debate in February. The only PMMs scheduled are the one about not having to wear robes if you don't want to, and the one about the Girl Guides and their promise.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 17 December 2013 at 12:00pm GMT

The PMM is not about not having to wear robes if you don't want to!
It is to begin a debate about amending the canon, so that one does not have to wear robes if the PCC and the bishop give permission. If the PMM passed there would be quite a number of more steps where synod could fine tune it, or throw it out.
Christopher Hobbs

Posted by: Christopher Hobbs on Tuesday, 17 December 2013 at 3:00pm GMT

My apologies Christopher for misrepresenting your PMM about not wearing robes. Twas not intentional...

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 17 December 2013 at 3:19pm GMT

I too am sorry to not get the facts right.

Perhaps then it might be useful to contact those who have already shown support for this motion and ask them if they also support the proposers views as per Jamaica.

If they are as horrified as one might expect then they should be invited to withdraw their names. If they support he criminalising agenda then that should be made known.

I see that Changing Attitude have got a response from the bishop of Chichester, maybe they might see following this through will be a useful piece of work

I seriously think Mrs Williams has opened up new and useful horizons through her words and actions in Jamaica.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 17 December 2013 at 4:21pm GMT

' it might be useful to contact those who have already shown support for this motion and ask them if they also support the proposers views as per Jamaica.'

Remember that when General Synod members sign a PMM, they are saying that they want this issue to be debated. So, it is possible to want it debated, in order to have the opportunity publicly to argue and vote against the motion.

I believe that this PMM and John Ward's are likely to be on the agenda at the same future session of GS, deliberately so that all views can be heard.

Posted by: Sue Slater on Tuesday, 17 December 2013 at 4:56pm GMT

It would have been incredibly bad management to have had more than an hour on Pilling, just as we are working to get the legislation through on the ordination of women to the episcopate. A process of discussion is being started, which must lead to a synod debate. If Andrea Minichiello Williams has 134 signatures from General Synod members, then that figure will include bishops, clergy and lay, not just the House of Laity. Contrary to a view expressed that no one on synod is likely to oppose what Ms Williams has said, there will be people who are aghast at her statements, but who will have supported her motion just to allow the debate to take place. We cannot assume that all the 134 will vote in favour of that motion.

Posted by: Nigel LLoyd on Wednesday, 18 December 2013 at 1:12pm GMT

A technical question on the procedures: are the signatures to a PMM an indication of support for the content of the PMM, or an indication of support for its being brought forward for discussion?

I raise this because here in the US we have a similar issue in our Senate; one can vote for cloture to bring a bill to the floor and then speak and vote against it when it arrives.

I wonder if some want to see the Williams motion discussed -- and defeated -- as a sign of the beginning of a change in "stated policy."

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Wednesday, 18 December 2013 at 2:47pm GMT

Bishops rarely sign Private Members Motions. Signing a PMM only indicates a desire to have the motion debated. You need to get at least 100 signatures, over no more than three sittings of Synod, for a PMM to be debated (and when the debate happens depends on when the Business Committee schedules it). For instance Alison Ruoff's motion on Girl Guides only went to synod in November but quickly received more than 100 signatures. My PMM on whether robes sometimes be voluntary, took three sessions of synod to get the 100.

Posted by: Christopher Hobbs on Wednesday, 18 December 2013 at 5:31pm GMT

Thanks for the explanation.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Wednesday, 18 December 2013 at 9:23pm GMT

I was hoping that those who saw some merit in the PMM would be persuaded to see their names withdrawn not to stifle debate but to signify distance from she who promotes it.

Perhaps those who see no merit in her motion should lead the way.

She who advocates these views and those who would support her must be identified and isolated.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 19 December 2013 at 1:21am GMT

"'That this Synod affirm the public doctrine of Christian marriage, between a man and a woman, as set out in the Book of Common Prayer as the only basis for engagement with public policy on marriage and family life.'"

If Synod actually debated that, and had a vote and stuff, it would be box-office boffo. I think that provided there hadn't been a major scandal occupying the Public Accounts Committee that week you could probably reckon on getting BBC News 24 to cover it live.

Perhaps the BBC could then play the theme music from "The Titanic" over the gaps when voting was taking place.

It would be interesting to speculate what would happen if such a measure were passed, or came close to passing.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Thursday, 19 December 2013 at 7:27am GMT

Interested Observer,
I wonder... if they actually debated it it could be the catalyst for all those who are said to be quietly supportive of marriage equality to say so. This could backfire spectacularly on conservatives and become another House of Lords moment.

In any case, we would know just where the church stands after Pilling.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 19 December 2013 at 9:18am GMT

"if they actually debated it it could be the catalyst for all those who are said to be quietly supportive of marriage equality to say so."

Indeed. Although the people who are "quietly in favour" remind me of my Dutch neighbour's joke that everyone in Amsterdam joined the resistance, the shame was that they waited until May 1945 to do so.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Thursday, 19 December 2013 at 4:07pm GMT

We need a General Synod motion to start a debate about possibly amending canon law to make wearing robes optional? And this gets over 5 times more support than a motion to facilitate church planting? What planet are we on?

Posted by: David Keen on Thursday, 19 December 2013 at 4:30pm GMT

Interested Observer,
that made me chuckle!
Thing is... people change sides when they sense that the balance is shifting, and the more it shifts the more of them change sides. And suddenly, they all "always supported Civil Partnerships".
Something like this debate could be a major moment where balances shift and the incredibly slow tectonic plates of the church move.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 19 December 2013 at 4:35pm GMT
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