Comments: General Synod - July 2011 - online papers

Hallo, Ignorant Yank here.

Is it just me, or is anyone else amazed at how OFTEN the CofE has these General Synods? [Compared to TEC's once-every-three-years General Conventions]

If the CofE was disestablished, could they *afford* to meet this often? (Knowing that the transportation costs to meet from anywhere in Merry Olde, is considerably less than traveling from anywhere in the US of A, *plus* the overseas dioceses)

I wonder...

Posted by JCF at Monday, 20 June 2011 at 6:11am BST

On the face of it, the way in which the English General Synod continually meets would appear to be a strength, enhancing the role of the laity and clergy in the governance of the church.

However, the sheer frequency and the volume of time involved likely ensures that ordinary workaday folk are effectively underrespresented or even excluded, leaving effective decisionmaking in the hands of a relatively few demographics (ie, the retired, the wealthy elites) who can afford the investment of time and either do not require time off or who can self approve time off.

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Monday, 20 June 2011 at 8:19am BST


Why would disestablishment make any difference to how often GS could afford to meet?

Posted by Lister Tonge at Monday, 20 June 2011 at 10:38am BST

GS992, Section 26 is nicely illustrated in this cartoon:

Posted by Laurence Cunnington at Monday, 20 June 2011 at 3:48pm BST

It is a shame that some of the comments on the current legal situation concerning marriage were dismissed simply as a request to do away with Banns GS1805Y. The suggestion was grounded in a need to clarify the legal position in respect of clergy who are legally required to read Banns and to marry people on the basis of their residence in the parish, but are being instructed to instruct couples to seek a Licence instead so that their immigration status can be checked.

Amongst other things there is an implicit discrimination against foreign nationals (and therefore potentially races) when this is required for foreign nationals only. The church does not believe that marriage comes only to certain groups of people, thinks marriage is a good thing, and some colleagues are very unhappy about the collusion with state powers which may prevent some couples getting married, or which may significantly delay their marriage.

Given the complexity, I did ask whether it would be possible to send all our couples to the Superintendent Registrar for a Certificate - this would make sense for us because that is what my Methodist colleague, who conducts weddings in our shared building, has to do for all his couples, and we would then be able to ask all couples to do the same, and give them the same figures for their budget etc. [we could read Banns too, but they would be legally redundant]. But apparently such a policy would be unlawful. So we can't avoid discrimination by treating everyone the same.

And incidentally, our Methodist Colleague can marry people from a wider area so we have an informal agreement that he will only marry couples in our shared buildings when they qualify under the CofE rules.

Living in an LEP where the parish contains an increasingly large population of Christian immigrants, we get pretty much every complexity thrown at us. There is more work to do in this area, and it is a real shame it has not been done properly this time through, because it will inevitably come back again.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Monday, 20 June 2011 at 5:58pm BST

Frequency of meetings ought, in the ordinary way, help the Church of England to 'do it's business' in a more expeditious way. However, with it's history on the process of electing women bishops, it might appear to affirm that 'Less could, in fact, produce More Action'.

There is, of course, the argument that ordinary people on General Synod may not be in a position financially to attend more frequent sessions. But then, how many 'ordinary' Anglicans are on G.S.?
Which begs the question about representation of the ordinary voice in general Synod.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 21 June 2011 at 1:02am BST

Establishment in Britain does not mean the church receives any funds from the state, unlike in Germany where the church is financed through a church tax collected by the Inland Revenue.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 21 June 2011 at 8:55am BST

It would be interesting to compare the cost of running General Convention every three years (a HUGE production which must cost a fortune) with the cost of running General Synod twice each year.

Posted by Lister Tonge at Tuesday, 21 June 2011 at 11:51am BST

Well, Lister, on your own count here - six months into 3 years goes six times. That's sufficient evidence to allow General Convention six times the amount spent on General Synods in the same period!

The cost of 'holding' a Synod - as compared with the cost of it's members in time, travel, accommodation and other expenses - on six separate occasions in three years - must be enormous. Is it worth it?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 22 June 2011 at 10:44am BST

The latest Church Times leader on the next session of the General Synod is entitled "Yawning in York". It describes the agenda as "thin" and the diocesan motions as "enough to induce despair".
If they haven't really got that much to discuss - then why on earth are they meeting and thus costing the Church tens of thousands of pounds at a time when more and more parishes are being amalgamated or transformed into Teams and Groups?
Isn't it about time to cull this over blown, self important cuckoo?
Time and time again since its creation the General Synod in the decisions it has taken shews how unwise it is to try and impose democracy onto a theocracy.

Posted by Father David at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 9:45am BST

"GS 1837 The Anglican-Methodist Covenant: a report from the Council for Christian Unity, to which is appended Moving Forward in Covenant: Interim Report of the Joint Implementation Commission"

- General Synod Agenda Paper -

'Moving Forward in Covenant' - does that mean that the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant will have about the same traction as has this long-delayed action on the proposal to unite with the U.K. Methodists?

And then, there is the word COVENANT again. What precisely does it mean when the Church of England can 'Covenant' with another Church without the bother of consulting with it's fellow Churchex of the Anglican Communion? Surely this matter of 'Church Order' is at least as important as any move towards the inclusion of Gays in Ministry? Does it not need consensus within the Communion?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 24 June 2011 at 12:54pm BST

"Yawning in York".

It'll be fascinating to watch though...

Posted by A J Barford at Friday, 1 July 2011 at 3:45am BST
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