Thinking Anglicans

pre-General Synod press reports and blogs

Updated Monday evening

The General Synod of the Church of England meets on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The papers are linked here and there is an outline of the agenda here.

The questions and answers have been published this morning.

Here are some recent online articles.

Bishop of Sheffield Reform and Renewal: the Noddy and Big Ears Guide

Harriet Sherwood The Observer Welby bids to defuse Church of England’s ‘demographic time bomb’

Gavin Drake Anglican Communion News Service C of E proposes to repeal obsolete Medieval laws
This refers to this paper GS Misc 1128 – Consultation on possible Statute Law (repeals) Measure. The consultation closes on 29 January 2016.

Jonathan Petre Mail on Sunday Wedding banns face axe after 800 years as senior clergy think practice of reading out names ahead of ceremony is ‘antiquated’.
BBC News Marriage banns ‘should be axed’ urges clergy member
Stephen Trott’s motion is contained in notice paper 4, and reads:

“That this Synod, noting the Registration of Marriages Regulations 2015 and the growing burden and complexity of the legal requirements imposed on members of the clergy who conduct weddings in the Church of England, invite the Archbishops’ Council to bring forward draft legislation to replace ecclesiastical preliminaries to marriage by universal civil preliminaries, such as those which have been in operation in Scotland since 1997, when banns were replaced by a Marriage Schedule issued by the civil registrar.”

Update

Stephen Lynas We’ve only just begun…

11
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
11 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
9 Comment authors
Richard FranklinFather Ron SmithSwithunHenry Deerobert ian williams Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Chaplain Bunyan
Guest
Chaplain Bunyan

I cannot remember when reading the banns was ever formally required in Australia. However, throughout 22 years as Rector in a more or less working class parish, I asked couples to come and hear their banns (with prayer for the couple) normally at three successive simple Sunday Evensongs. Confirmee lessons were also part of Evensong for a period each year. Regular men’s dinners also followed Evensong (many men only ever attending then). Various special occasions – personal or civic or festal etc were also associated with Evensong. It thus survived as a weekly service (in addition to the morning’s BCP… Read more »

Chris Routledge
Guest
Chris Routledge

Maybe I’m missing something, but I cannot see the point of this motion. Growing burden and legal complexity? I can only speak for myself, but, even with the changes regarding EU nationals, non-EU nationals, passports, etc, I really don’t find it complicated at all. There are simple guidelines to follow, and if there’s any doubt, a quick email to the Registrar clears it up. Replacing it with universal civil preliminaries will, presumably, pass the responsibility for checking evidence of name, DOB, nationality, address, decree absolutes (where relevant), etc on to the district registrar. So I appreciate it may reduce the… Read more »

Rev David
Guest
Rev David

I’m with Chris on this. I cannot see the point of the motion.

Stephen Trott seems to be unaware that *We are already allowed* to marry couples after civil preliminaries!!

If a few people are finding the administration of Banns too challenging, they can already ask couples to get a Senior Registrar’s Certificate instead… No need to make the whole church do the same… and waste time on debating and legislating for what is already on the books?

Swithun
Guest
Swithun

In his blog post, Stephen Croft explicitly links the Reform and Renewal program to facing up to the end of Christendom. If you accept this, it follows that clinging on with an ever more white-knuckled grip to the vestiges of that Christendom, such as the reading of banns, does not ultimately further the gospel. Yes, in giving it up you lose a small something, but you gain the opportunity to re-engage honestly and with integrity and maybe even enthusiasm. Comments on the previous post about ‘nagging’ people back to Christianity via the Lord’s Prayer are related I think. Hoping to… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

In his answer to question 39, the Archbishop of York seems to show that paragraph 18 of the so-called ‘pastoral guidance’ is empty rhetoric. Paragraph 18 says that even if a candidate for bishop has disagreed with the Church’s teachings regarding marriage and human sexuality, ‘An issue could only arise as a result of the way in which that disagreement had been expressed.’ The Archbishop now tells us, however, that proponents and opponents of the church’s teaching are not, after all, ‘mirror images,’ and that (despite paragraph 18) both the manner and content of a candidate’s public statements may be… Read more »

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

Couldn’t you avoid banns by a special license from the bishop anyway?

Henry Dee
Guest
Henry Dee

Speaking as someone from an ‘ugly on the outside’ church, with no where for the pretty marriage pictures – and consequently no marriages. The £28 fee from the reading of the banns is our only marriage income. Stopping the banns would cost us in the region of £400+ per year. An insignificant amount to some, but to a poor parish its a lot to recoup through coffee mornings. Perhaps the ivory towers would reduce our parish share by a similar amount by their decision to cut off this income.

Richard Franklin
Guest
Richard Franklin

I have some serious reservations about the Reform and Renewal Programme that is being promoted by the leadership of the Church of England. I have never been a strong believer in grand strategies, feeling that they rarely achieve what they set out to accomplish. This particular strategy is particularly misguided in that it wants to try to hold back a large-scale social and cultural movement which is in the short to medium term unstoppable. I believe that the decline of the church and of much mainstream religion in Europe is historic. It is a long term social trend which cannot… Read more »

Swithun
Guest
Swithun

To ‘worship and serve God faithfully in church and in the wider communities in which we are set’ is indeed a strategy, though some may instinctively recoil from that terminology. Keeping on keeping on is the strategy of an incumbent institution with an ultra-long term horizon such as the Church in general and that of England in particular. It involves being cautious of passing fads and trends, operating rather intricate organisational structures where powers are balanced against each other to prevent particular interest groups or parties wielding too much power. The possibility of dynamism is sacrificed in favour of long… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

the letters ‘R. and R.’ used to mean something else. However, perhaps it is time for the Church of England to take note of the Franciscan Preacher at the General Synod’s Opening service – by Relaxing its hold on the past, and Resting in the power of the Holy Spirit to clarify the future of Mission.

Richard Franklin
Guest
Richard Franklin

Thank you, Swithun, for your thoughtful and helpful contributions on this subject. On reflection I should not have used the word ‘strategy’ to describe faithful Christian worship and service. This is surely what Christians are about all the time and unconnected with the church in any particular institutional form. Sorry if the use the term strategy (intended to be ironical)in the last paragraph of my comment distracted from my more fundamental points in the first two!