The General Synod of the Church of England will meet in York from 9 to 13 July 2010. The following press release was issued a short time ago.
See our item below for links to online Synod papers.
Full agenda published for July General Synod sessions at York University
21 June 2010
Key debates centre on women bishops’ legislation, while other subjects include clergy pensions, clergy terms of service, relations with the Church of Scotland, the status of deaneries and resources for Fresh Expressions in sessions of the Church of England’s ‘parliament,’ the General Synod, to be held in York from July 9th to 13th.
This is the last Synod before the five-yearly elections to and inauguration of the new Synod in November. More than half of the time available at these Sessions has been allocated to the key Revision Stage of the women bishops’ legislation.
In February 2009, Synod agreed that draft legislation to allow women to be consecrated as bishops should be referred for revision in committee. The Revision Committee completed its work in April, and its report has been published.
The draft legislation continues to make provision for those who in conscience cannot receive the ministry of women as bishops, by providing for certain functions to be undertaken by a male bishop under a diocesan scheme made in accordance with a national code of practice.
After a ‘take note’ debate on the Revision Committee’s report, the Synod is scheduled to embark on the Revision Stage. This provides Synod with its last chance to amend the substance of the legislation before it is referred formally to dioceses, and then returns to Synod for Final Approval, probably in February 2012. Synod members need to submit their amendments for this Synod by June 30.
Other legislative business includes two pieces of legislation as part of the preparations for the introduction of ‘common tenure’ for clergy in 2011, including provision for maternity, paternity, parental and adoption leave and time off work to care for dependents for those holding office under the common tenure arrangements.
Synod agreed in February to make certain changes to the clergy pensions scheme, including increasing the pension age for future service and increasing the accrual period for future service. This was subject to statutory consultation with scheme members.
Separately, the Synod carried a Private Member’s Motion from the Reverend Mark Bratton which asked for changes to the clergy pensions rules to remove the remaining differences between pension benefits for surviving civil partners and surviving spouses.
At this Synod, the Archbishops’ Council is reporting back on the consultation exercise and making recommendations about changes to the clergy pensions scheme. Synod will then be asked to formally approve the resulting amendments to the scheme rules.
Relations with the Church of Scotland
The report Our Fellowship in the Gospel is the fruit of informal conversations between the two churches. It sets out ways in which the Church of England and the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland can consult and co-operate as established churches. The Church of Scotland welcomed the report and its recommendations at its recent General Assembly and it now comes before the General Synod for endorsement.
Diocesan Synod Motion – Deaneries
The motion from the Coventry Diocesan Synod asks that the case for conferring incorporated status on deanery synods should be considered by the Archbishops’ Council. The motion also asks that deanery synods should be specifically enabled to promote the deanery in the Church’s mission.
Private Member’s Motion – Fresh Expressions
Synod received a presentation on Fresh Expression from Bishop Graham Cray in February. Richard Moy’s Private Member’s Motion asks the Fresh Expressions team, in consultation with the Liturgical Commission, to produce an on-line library of visual and video resources for worship.
Synod’s other business
Synod will receive a Presidential Address from the Archbishop of York. There will also be a special address from one of the ecumenical guests – the Archbishop of Estonia, The Most Rev Andres Poder.
There will be the one item of liturgical business: the Further Revision Stage and Final Approval of the Additional Weekday Lectionary and Amendments to the Calendar, Lectionary and Collects.
Synod will be asked to agree the setting up of the new Faith and Order Commission, in succession to three bodies: the Doctrine Commission, the Faith and Order Advisory Group and the House of Bishops’ Theological Group. This represents a streamlining and concentration of the Church of England’s theological resources at national level.
Following the Synod’s rejection in July 2009 of the Archbishops’ Council’s proposals for overhauling its committee structure, Synod will debate the Council’s revised proposals, produced after consultation with the bodies concerned, which essentially entail a reduction in the size of the bodies.
Synod will receive presentations of the Annual Reports of the Archbishops’ Council, and the Church Commissioners.
There will also be a closing Eucharist, at which the Archbishop of Canterbury will preach, as well as the customary Sunday morning Eucharist in York Minster, at which the Archbishop of York will preach.
As this is the last Synod of the quinquennium, there will be a number of farewells.
Parishioners can keep in touch with the General Synod while it meets. Background papers and other information will be posted on the Church of England website ahead of the General Synod sessions. A live feed will be available courtesy of Premier Radio, and audio files of debates, along with updates on the days’ proceedings, will be posted during the sessions.