Comments: General Synod agenda - press reports

Four more reports in the wake of Lord Green's Managing Talent. I've lost count of the number of reports the C of E has commissioned and published since I was first ordained almost 40 years ago. The vast majority of them simply mouldering away gathering dust. Surely the last thing we need from an increasingly panicky hierarchy is yet more reports which in themselves can solve nothing let alone halt the continuing decline in church attendance.
I recently came across a letter to Cosmo Lang written by Evelyn Underhill in which she stated the following:-
"We look to the clergy to help and direct our spiritual growth. We are seldom satisfied because, with few exceptions, they are so lacking in spiritual realism, so ignorant of the laws and experiences of the life of prayer . . . In public worship they often fail to evoke the spirit of adoration because they do not possess it themselves. Hence the dreary character of many church services and the increasing alienation of the laity . . . God is the interesting thing about religion, and people are hungry for God. But only a priest whose life is soaked in prayer, sacrifice, and love can, by his own spirit of adoring worship, help us to apprehend Him."
Michael Ramsey credited Evelyn Underhill with saving the Church of England single-handed during the inter-war years. What we need today to get us out of the current malaise and decline is not five more reports but the visionary outlook of someone like her. Would that she were still with us at this hour.

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 17 January 2015 at 12:24pm GMT

The proposal to streamline part of the legislative process sounds like a welcome one. As for reducing the number of General Synod days, anyone interested in greater transparency should be wary of any initiative that looks like reducing democracy within the Church, namely through the reduction in debating time and scrutiny by the gathered synod.

Posted by Tim M at Saturday, 17 January 2015 at 2:19pm GMT

The proposals for redundancy even for those with freehold are outrageous and probably unlawful as they touch upon a long held right that surely must be protected under common law if not by employment legislation. How can it be at all right to impose a restriction of 21 months on the proposed month's stipend per annum served. Even if this suggestion comes into force then what figure would be right. The actual stipend paid or a figure that includes the "housing" element discussed in the synod papers on clergy stipends?
This also raises the question about what else may be hidden amongst this massive plethora of panic and anxious measures.

Posted by paul richardson at Saturday, 17 January 2015 at 4:30pm GMT

Paul Richardson; I share your concerns. And I wonder just how much of the motivation for the proposed abolition of freehold may be to assist those wishing to dispense with turbulent priests who insist on exercising their legal right to marry...

Posted by Stevie Gamble at Sunday, 18 January 2015 at 3:00am GMT

'Reducing he number of General Synod days...' sounds identical to what the current Archbishop of Wales did in radically reducing the size and scope of the Church in Wales's Governing Body (our equivalent to your GS). The result? More top-down implementation; less consultation; a more monochrome complexion to representation; and a much less consensual Church where the 'foot soldiers' feel they are no longer stake-holders in the decision-making and vision-shaping of the Church. We face an even greater demographic crisis and the pathetic attempts at a growth strategy taking us up to 2020 is precisely what happens when there is minimal consultation and the creative, theological and strategic task is given to a small, unrepresentative group.

Your Archbishop needs to be taken to task over how all this has come about - and he must be made to realise he is accountable to the Church he serves. He is not an infallible pope. We have precisely this scenario in Wales - and all because people rolled over and gave in instead of challenging a deeply un-Anglican mode of 'reform.'

Posted by Gareth P at Sunday, 18 January 2015 at 6:05pm GMT
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