Comments: General Synod - Saturday's business

Five more years!! After a lifetime in the Church of England, almost all of my adult life ordained and in parish ministry I reach the sad conclusion that the game is up.

Synod lumbers towards insignificance over issue after issue. Why can't our bishops and archbishops see that we don't have another five years? Perhaps we never did. Perhaps only when Lambeth palace is sold as luxury apartments and the ABofC is living is a bijou bungalow near Margate will they get it.

Institutionally we have treated women badly, people of same sex orientation badly, ethnic minorities badly, working class people badly, victims of abuse badly....

Are we any longer for for purpose? Is it already too late?
We need, to borrow a slogan 'Action This Day''

Posted by another Fr. David at Saturday, 8 July 2017 at 11:37am BST

Blessings on Bishop Alan Wilson, the only Bishop with the guts to stand up to the two Archbishops who wish to make our beloved church of no meaning or bearing for the christian members of our congregation.
Like Fr David my whole ministry has been riddled with the church discussing sex. Whilst many of us have just got on with proclaiming the gospel of God's love for all.
Personally this meant being a hospital chaplain at a London teaching hospital at the start of the Aids pandemic, no place to hide, when caring for real people; not ideas or theories.
Please Bishops join Bishop Alan, and not allow the Archbishops to kick us into the deep moras of the long grass.

Fr John Emlyn

Posted by Fr John E. Harris-White at Saturday, 8 July 2017 at 4:03pm BST

Re the Guardian article on C of E Bishops delaying the same sex equality business.

[Archbishop Welby] "...said he hoped a document would be available for discussion at synod in early 2020 'though on a process this complicated we cannot be pinned down relating to time ' ”.

How interesting, hoping to keep the lid on until the eve of or perhaps even after Lambeth 2020? Nothing like engaging in transparent avoidance behavior.

Can someone get us more mitres in here please, and bigger mitres, much bigger, much taller.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Saturday, 8 July 2017 at 4:57pm BST

Professor Hill: "I am very concerned that there's a lot of long grass growing in the programme that is being put before us."

Julian: "There is no magic wand to provide a solution."

No magic wand... but Scotland found a solution that allowed people their own consciences on the matter.

What's missing is not a 'magic wand'. It's the will to actually let people follow their consciences.

In short, the perpetuation of top-down domination.

In arguing for more time to explore "the depth and range of the questions that need to be addressed" Julian is implying we somehow haven't already done this work ten times over.

We've had over 30 years of "discussions", we've had the listening process, we've had the debates, we've gone over and over the theology. People simply disagree - they hold divergent points of view and exercise differing consciences with integrity and faith.

You cannot square this circle.

You can really only do what the Scots did: agree to disagree, and hand over control from the leaders to local churches, and let people follow their consciences, and seek love and grace towards each other, wishing each other well, instead of the impossible 'magic wand' of uniformity imposed.

We do not need to wait five years or fifty years for that. We don't need a magic wand. We just need love and the exercise of grace... and the will of the bishops to relinquish control, and accept that diversity exists right at the heart of the Church of England.

Stop the prevarication, which simply extends top down domination of conscience, and follow the example of the Scots.

It's not magic at all.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Saturday, 8 July 2017 at 5:31pm BST

This delay is designed to get the CofE past the next Lambeth Conference.

Once again the bishops are allowing Communion politics to interfere with their pastoral duties at home.

If this delay is the price of England leading the Anglican Communion, then surely the price is too high?

Posted by Jeremy at Saturday, 8 July 2017 at 7:06pm BST

Now that we see the conversion-therapy results, several reactions:

1. It took a private member's motion to get Synod to do something that only one bishop opposed?

2. Well done, Jayne Ozanne. This is what leadership from below looks like.

3. This is a synodical muscle that, exercised once, can be exercised again. What is the next topic?

4. How long can the House of Bishops veto what the other houses want, without damaging the Church's public reputation and political interests?

Posted by Jeremy at Saturday, 8 July 2017 at 8:24pm BST

Interesting that 97% of bishops voted for the conversion therapy motion but only 68% of laity.

Posted by Bernard Silverman at Saturday, 8 July 2017 at 9:05pm BST

This was a hugely important debate. I assume +Blackburn voted against. Completely brilliant performance by Jayne Ozanne who was harangued and hassled by all comers, including Core Issues Trust. The importance of the debate may take a while to sink in, but important it was. As to what is the next issue, the 'long grass' observation is the correct one. The Teaching (and perhaps Learning) Document is clearly a holding operation. There is not much new to say about this. The bishops (with a few honourable exceptions, including +Liverpool) are paranoid about a change to the church's doctrine. The SEC precedent may prove to be irresistable for adoption by other provinces.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Saturday, 8 July 2017 at 11:18pm BST

The Press Release quotes Ms Ozanne saying "the debate is actually quite simple : do we trust our medical health professionals to know what they are talking about?" Does anyone think the answer to that rhetorical question is that it depends on whether their opinion has been "endorsed" by the General Synod?

Next the Bishop of Liverpool is quoted as saying that "as the world listens to us the world needs to hear us say that LGBTI+ orientation is not a crime." Yet orientation was never a crime, and even practice was decriminalised 50 years ago. The phrase "as the world listens to us" is comically, or tragically, but endearingly, whimsical.

Wednesday's Orange Day parades across the Liverpool diocese will doubtless draw their usual enthusiastic crowds, but they will be dwarfed by the city's Gay Pride at the end of the month. The world is listening elsewhere. Those who do listen to Synod do so, like the Pharisees, mainly in the hope of catching them out.

The call for a government ban on Conversion Therapy leaves so much unclear. Should it apply to England or the whole UK? Could English LGBTI+ persons travel to Ireland for CT? Would they be banned from going abroad unless they could prove they were not seeking CT? What punishment should there be? Would praying with someone in a Pentecostal Church, or mosque, lead to burning at the stake? What else should be banned - trips to Lourdes, the Tridentine mass, abortion, contraception, circumcision, chocolate, Common Worship? Should it be illegal to seek to influence a person by means of unverifiable threats or promises pertaining to an afterlife? Calling on the government to ban things is a very slippery slope. Or rather it would be, if anyone was listening.

Posted by T Pott at Sunday, 9 July 2017 at 2:42pm BST

Those who think the bishops learn from Scotland, remember they like to see large attendance numbers

Posted by S Cooper at Sunday, 9 July 2017 at 10:26pm BST

"There is no magic wand to provide a solution."

Really. So much for a rousing quidditch match at Lambeth 2020.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Sunday, 9 July 2017 at 11:16pm BST

So instead of the 'Teaching Document' we are to have another three years of discussions, and even that might not be long enough! Welby seems to think he is the head of some sort of ecclesiastical Circumlocution Office.

Posted by Stephen Morgan at Monday, 10 July 2017 at 8:56am BST

With Rod Gillis I'm amused by the Archbishop's revealing rhetoric.

No magic wand for a solution--but the Archbishops have just waved a magic wand to create three years of further delay.

Posted by Jeremy at Monday, 10 July 2017 at 5:31pm BST
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