Updated Sunday morning and afternoon
The morning started with a presentation by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the proposals for the pastoral advisory group on human sexuality and the development of the teaching document (GS Misc 1158). It was followed by a question and answer session.
Synod then debated Presence and Engagement: Report from the Archbishops’ Council’s Mission and Public Affairs Council (GS 2063). The motion, after amendment, read:
That this Synod, recognising the Church’s continued presence and engagement in parishes, chaplaincies and new missional communities in multi-religious contexts:
(a) commend the national Presence and Engagement (P&E) programme and offer prayerful support for its work over the next five years, requesting that the fruit of this be made available to the whole Church through the P&E Centres and that the programme report back to Synod at the end of this period;
(b) recognise the cultivation of relationships with other faith communities as a vital component of the Church’s mission in today’s society, and encourage dioceses to incorporate this into their mission plans; and
(c) re-affirm the Synod report “Sharing the Gospel of Salvation” (GS Misc 956) and call on the P&E Task Group to continue supporting parishes in bearing faithful witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ with sensitivity and confidence among people of other faiths;
(d) noting the importance of relationships between churches and people of other faiths in maintaining community peace and solidarity in many P&E parishes, encourage churches and Christian people throughout the nation to reach out to neighbours and colleagues of other faiths to offer solidarity and friendship in times of tension, condemning the attempts of extremists to divide us, and challenging all hatred.
The debate was adjourned at 11.00 am as timed legislative business was reached.
The legislative business was the final approval of three measures. They were so uncontroversial that nobody voted against any of them.
There was then a brief presentation on the workshops on forms of national support for local churches to be held in the afternoon.
Synod then returned to the Presence and Engagement debate, when, after a few more speeches, the motion above was carried.
After lunch and the workshops, Synod debated National Support for Local Churches: Report from the Archbishops’ Council (GS 2069) and passed this motion:
That this Synod:
(a) welcome the range of evangelism and growth resources provided by the national church in support of local churches;
(b) note the progress made to support Life Events ministry since it was commissioned by the Archbishops’ Council in 2012;
(c) agree to encourage dioceses and parishes to engage with these areas of work through prayer and practical action; and
(d) call on the Archbishops’ Council and the House of Bishops to report back to the Synod on a regular basis on the progress of these areas of support.
Details of the original motion and the amendments are below the fold. The motion as finally put to Synod was:
12 (as amended) That this Synod:
(a) endorse the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in the UK of November 2015, signed by The Royal College of Psychiatrists and others, that the practice of gay conversion therapy has no place in the modern world, is unethical, potentially harmful and not supported by evidence; and
(b) call upon the Church to be sensitive to, and to listen to, contemporary expressions of gender identity; and
(c) call on the government to ban the practice of Conversion Therapy.
The motion was carried on a vote by houses.
bishops: 36 for, 1 against, 0 recorded abstentions
clergy: 135 for, 25 against, 13 recorded abstentions
laity: 127 for, 48 against, 13 recorded abstentions
Official press release: General Synod backs ban on conversion therapy
Press reports etc
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England bishops ‘delaying same-sex equality’ move
Church of England demands ban on conversion therapy
Callum May BBC News Church of England: Plea for ‘urgency’ on new sexuality policy
Aine Fox and David Wilcock Independent Church of England bishops back motion calling for a ban on ‘unethical’ gay conversion therapy
Stephen Lynas continues his reports from Synod: bathwellschap Stop! In the name of love
Jayne Ozanne moved her private member’s motion:
12 That this Synod:
(a) endorse the statement of 16 January 2017 signed by The UK Council for Psychotherapy, The Royal College of General Practitioners and others that the practice of conversion therapy has no place in the modern world,
is unethical, harmful and not supported by evidence; and
(b) call upon the Archbishops’ Council to become a co- signatory to the statement on behalf of the Church of England.
The Revd Dr Sean Doherty (London) moved as an amendment:
55 Leave out everything after “That this Synod:” and insert ̶
“(a) note the statement of 16 January 2017 signed by The UK Council for Psychotherapy, The Royal College of General Practitioners and others concerning the practice of conversion therapy;
(b) affirm that all sexuality is equally affected by the Fall and that therefore Christian therapies and pastoral practices which assume otherwise are not warranted;
(c) affirm that pastoral care, prayer ministry and professional counselling are legitimate means of supporting individuals who choose them freely, provided that they respect the proper dignity of human beings and do not involve coercion or manipulation or make unwarranted promises about the removal of unwanted feelings; and
(d) ask the House of Bishops to draw up guidelines for work in this area to discourage inappropriate pastoral practices, and to encourage good ones.”
The amendment was defeated on a vote by houses; all three houses voted against.
Bishops: 10 for, 26 against, 2 recorded abstentions
Clergy: 64 for, 110 against, 2 recorded abstentions
Laity: 88 for, 97 against, 6 recorded abstentions
Dr Jamie Harrison (Durham) moved as an amendment:
56 Leave out everything after “That this Synod:” and insert ̶
“(a) endorse the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in the UK of November 2015, signed by The Royal College of Psychiatrists and others, that the practice of gay conversion therapy has no place in the modern world, is unethical, potentially harmful and not supported by evidence; and
(b) call upon the Church to be sensitive to, and to listen to, contemporary expressions of gender identity.”
Ms Christina Baron (Bath and Wells) moved as an amendment to Dr Harrison’s amendment (item 56):
57 At the end, insert ̶
“(-) call on the Archbishop’s Council to become a co- signatory, on behalf of the Church of England, to the 2015 Memorandum of Understanding, subject to the agreement of the current co-signatories.”
This was voted on by houses where it was defeated, as it failed to be passed by the House of Bishops, who were tied.
bishops: 16 for, 16 against, 5 recorded abstentions
clergy: for 117, clergy 46, 12 recorded abstentions
laity: for 108, against 73, recorded abstentions 11
The Revd Andrew Dotchin (St Edmundsbury and Ipswich) moved as an amendment:
58 At the end, insert ̶
“(-) call on the government to ban the practice of Conversion Therapy.”
This was carried after a vote by houses;
bishops: 28 for, 2 against, 5 recorded abstentions
clergy: 121 for, 34 against, 16 recorded abstentions
laity: 120 for, 52 against, 18 recorded abstentions