Comments: synod reports for Tuesday

"Following this vote the committee responsible for steering the legislation through synod withdrew all the clauses about the ownership of clergy housing and as a result there will be no changes to the current arrangements."

Sorry Peter, does this mean *all* of Common Tenure has been withdrawn or just the part which vested parsonages in the DPBs?

Posted by Justin Lewis-Anthony at Tuesday, 12 February 2008 at 9:56pm GMT

His Grace the Archbishop's comments on Sharia has sent us back many years. At this time we need our Archbishop to concetrate on uniting the anglican communion.
In any case in the same breadth His Grace would have also asked that the Saudi Government allow free worship in their land as Muslims are allowed to worship freely in England, Italy and Greece - countries with strong christian presence.

Posted by Rev'd Enoch Opuka at Wednesday, 13 February 2008 at 8:27am GMT

I do not understand why one needs to record an abstention. Abstention is not taking part in the vote, it should not really be used for recording that one is undecided or 'not really happy but uncomfortable about voting against'.
If you don't want something to happen then you should vote against it.

Posted by Wilf at Wednesday, 13 February 2008 at 9:42am GMT

In reply to Justin Lewis-Anthony all that has been withdrawn are the proposed changes to the ownership of clergy housing. Everything else to do with common tenure went through.

Posted by Peter Owen at Wednesday, 13 February 2008 at 11:47am GMT

Today’s front page lead in the Telegraph is fascinating:

News watchers will have noticed that both Telegraph papers have been moving strongly to support an extreme conservative position in their handling of the Anglican crisis and Rowan in particular. Jonathan Petre has acknowledged this “slant” and has mainly managed to keep the news value of his stories high – particularly with some good scoops from the Southern Cone. Quoting certain Synod voices recently came close to misrepresenting the position and the report of the Rowan’s speech thus in the FIFTH paragraph:
“While the vast majority rallied to his defence by greeting his arrival with a sustained minute-long standing ovation, a small number refused to join in the applause.”
Only gave Jonathan increased cause to quote the tiny group (the usual suspects) that sat on their hands and also write an opinion piece on “lasting damage” to Williams – but most interesting is today's Royal story (particularly as we are told the Palace agrees with its readers).
Of course it is the usual unnamed Royal source saying the usual careful stuff but its remarkable what the journalist Andrew Pierce can do with this! Claiming the Queen for your side and giving the impression she shares the Telegraph’s view is important to the old fashioned conservative establishment who buy the paper.
It seems from this that the Telegraph has decided to get the knife into Rowan and keep it there. If the paper begins a sustained attack and maintains this through the difficult times we can expect around Lambeth – just imagine the non-attendees floating around the UK – and another (say the Mail) paper decides it wants blood too – then we may see an interesting confrontation. A confrontation these papers expect to win.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 13 February 2008 at 12:43pm GMT

We have horse race betting, football pools and the Lottery (churches and cathedrals are very happy to receive Lottery funding). It would be interesting to know why Synod felt so strongly about casinos. Was there any logic to the debate or was it the usual puritanical reaction to people enjoying themselves? All human activity is open to abuse - sex, drugs, drink, food, as well as gambling. Opposing new casinos isn't the answer to the problem.

Posted by Terence Dear at Wednesday, 13 February 2008 at 1:22pm GMT

Thanks for letting us know Peter; I suppose half-good news is still good news.

Posted by Justin Lewis-Anthony at Wednesday, 13 February 2008 at 2:19pm GMT

"That this Synod, gravely concerned that the total national spend on gaming has risen in each year over the past four years from £4 to £40 billion."

Sorry, but this is complete nonsense.
If the amount spent is the amount lost, then £4bn is more or less the right number for four years ago.
That amount has not risen by a factor of 10 in four years.
£40bn looks like the amount wagered, not the amount lost.
The comparison is meaningless.
Which is not to say there is no problem - there is - but try to get the numbers right whoever was responsible!

Posted by cjcjc at Wednesday, 13 February 2008 at 2:21pm GMT

Episcopal priest here, trying to make sense of all this! In the vote cited, there are only some 160 clergy...? Is this all the priests that showed up at Synod (vs. 14 bishops?), or is this a subdivision? I guess what I'm interested in is - how many CoE priests are there?
blessings to all..

Posted by Fr Craig at Wednesday, 13 February 2008 at 7:33pm GMT

Very nerve-wracking for me here on the other side of the pond to venture to disagree with Martin Reynolds about the the Telegraph/Daily Mail campaign against ++Rowan, but while that group may "expect to win," I see their maneuvering as defensive. Surely Royal circles are far more displeased with the attempts of Canon Dr. Sugden et. al. to forcibly overthrow the position of the Archbishop of Canterbury via something called GAFCON? To cover their tracks, a campaign against the Archbishop may well be necessary, but one finds it hard to believe that many in the Establishment sympathize with the latest group of mouthy, insurgent Roundheads. As another Telegraph article had it: "Could it be that Dr Williams speaks for a traditional English culture - learned, charitable, understated - which the Church of England exists to uphold?"

Posted by Charlotte at Wednesday, 13 February 2008 at 10:26pm GMT

Fr Craig

General Synod has close to 200 lay members, 200 clergy members and 53 bishops. Unlike the US General Convnetion the General Synod does not have alternate members so the number of members present is always somewhat less than the total number because of illness, other commitments etc. Some may have abstained without going into the chamber to record this.

So for 161 clergy and 167 laity to take part in the vote is actually quite good. The number of bishops is rather low.

Posted by Peter Owen at Wednesday, 13 February 2008 at 10:44pm GMT

Thanks, Martin Reynolds, for exposing the absolute vacuity of the Telegraph piece. The bile of the letters received is unimpressive. Rowan Williams was merely rehearsing the respectable though controverted tradition of a "pluralist State"; his incautious reference to Sharia made him a victim of media spin and mob hysteria; most of the letters are an expression of this hysteria.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Thursday, 14 February 2008 at 6:06am GMT

One thing missing from your synod reports for Tuesday is the brief speech made by Elaine Storkey during the debate over the Ecclesiastical Offices (terms of service) Measure, helpfully flagged by Jody on Fulcrum. This can be found by going to the last audio link on this page:, and skipping forward 56 minutes for the full debate (Storkey's contribution is at 1hr 6mins). She basically defends herself against a rather zealous exegete of 1 Cor 6, who would have the CofE set up its own structures for dealing with employment disputes rather than see its employees take recourse to secular courts. It is a heartfelt and revealing little speech, which was greeted by loud and prolonged applause.

Posted by Sarah at Thursday, 14 February 2008 at 11:39am GMT

I do not understand why one needs to record an abstention. (snip)
Posted by: Wilf on Wednesday, 13 February 2008 at 9:42am GMT

These were new gadgets, introduced for the first time at Synod on Monday; so not everybody was used to them - and this was the very first vote they were used for.

But there is perhaps another reason for recording abstentions.

Detail of the voting is to made available, so each synod member's voting record will be public. It may be that some members will have been in a debate, and heard or even taken part in the arguments, but chosen not to vote yes or no, and rather than imply they were absent from the chamber and debate, wish to record an abstention.

Photographs of the equipment, and that vote, are on the General Synod Blog here:

Posted by Alastair Cutting at Friday, 15 February 2008 at 12:25am GMT
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