Next week’s meeting of General Synod won’t just be about women bishops. After dinner on Saturday Synod will have a take note debate on this report: GS 1895 Challenges for the Quinquennium. The Business Committee in their report (GS 1889) preview this.
Progress on Meeting Challenges for the Quinquennium
22. The take note debate will be an opportunity for the Synod to review progress on the three themes set at the start of the quinquennium. The Synod will have before it a report from the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council (GS 1895).
23. The debate will allow members to assess and critique the ways in which the three goals are being pursued, to contribute local insights and experiences which could help inform the work through the rest of the quinquennium, and to reflect in particular on the mission challenge facing the Church of England, which Synod debated in July 2011 and on which a separate paper – Making new Disciples – is being circulated (GS Misc 1054). There will be further debates on themes from the quinquennial report at future groups of sessions.
The three themes are:
contributing as the national Church to the common good;
facilitating the growth of the Church;
re-imagining the Church’s ministry.
David Keen writes about this on his blog General Synod: Sneaking in a radical growth strategy whilst everyone is looking at women bishops. He emphases that church growth must be the top priority, as this extract from GS 1895 makes clear.
The opportunities for contributing to the common good at a time of considerable social and economic distress are enormous. But the Church of England’s capacity will be less than it would wish unless it can also make progress in reversing the long term decline in numbers and increase in the age profile of its membership.
Keen also looks at the companion paper (GS Misc 1054 Making New Disciples: the Growth of the Church of England), which, he says, “makes the theological and practical case for prioritising church growth in the CofE”.
It’s not mentioned in the Synod papers, but my own diocese of Liverpool has had a growth agenda since 2009.