Sunday, 8 February 2004

British News Sunday

First, the Sunday Times Atticus column has a story Rebellion in the pulpits as clerics threaten archbishop with a pay cut about the motion in General Synod to cut clergy differentials. As already noted in connection with the earlier story in The Times on this, there is no certainty that this motion will be debated at all, as it is listed as a contingency item, to be taken up only if a gap appears in the Agenda during the week. And the headline is anyway seriously misleading, as the proposal is not for pay cuts but merely for the elimination of differentials by freezing the pay of all dignitaries at their current levels until the National Stipend Benchmark for Incumbents has caught up.

Second, the Observer reports this in the Pendennis column:

Just when Rowan Williams thinks he’s kicked the thorny issue of gay clergy into the long grass, up pops a double whammy. This week’s General Synod, the Church of England’s parliament, will hear a motion welcoming the appointment of Gene Robinson as the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion. To compound matters, Robinson will soon visit these shores to speak at the Oxford Union. How Williams, desperate not to go down in history as the Archbishop of Canterbury who presided over the break up of the Anglican Communion, must long for the days of the love that dare not speak its name.

Update: more details about this General Synod motion below.

And the BBC Sunday radio programme had a substantial feature (12 minutes) on Church of England funding. Listen with RealAudio here.

The Church of England faces some major decisions this week - about the nature of its work, and how to pay for it. A new report called Mission Shaped Church to be debated by the General Synod, proposes a new structure of “network churches” to sit alongside the traditional parish system. Meanwhile a working group of the Archbishops’ Council and the Church Commissioners has come up with radical proposals about how to fund these new projects, in part by taking money away from richer Cathedrals. Not surprisingly the proposals face widespread criticism. Sunday obtained a copy of a document written by the Archbishop of Canterbury, which summarises the corporate opposition of the Church of England’s bishops to this report in its current form. And its not just Bishops who are opposed. England’s cathedrals deans also say that they’ve been largely ignored in the consultation process. Christopher Landau reports. Roger then spoke to Phillip Giddings, a member of the Spending Review Working Group.

The motion tabled at the General Synod mentioned above reads as follows:

“This Synod commends the 2003 General Convention of the Episcopal Church (ECUSA) for approving the decision of the Diocese of New Hampshire to consecrate Gene Robinson as a bishop in the Church of God; noting in particular that this was the democratically expressed wish of the majority of Episcopalians, a Church in which we have full confidence and in which we, members of the General Synod of the Church of England, gladly remain in full communion.”

This is a Private Members Motion tabled by the Revd Anthony Braddick-Southgate (Southwark). There will be no debate on it this week. It will be on a notice paper and will be available for members to sign this week. Private member’s motions are normally debated in order of the number of signatures. If it gets enough signatures to rise to the top of the list it could get debated in York in July. Alternatively, it will lapse if it attracts less than 100 signatures after three groups of sessions. The pay differentials motion mentioned above reached the top of the list with 122 signatures.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 8 February 2004 at 2:58 PM GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: General Synod | News

I’m not sure we should find that last sentence from Pendennis funny at all but it surely had me snorting coffee all over my moniter and keyboard!

Posted by: Tim at February 8, 2004 10:51 PM