Thinking Anglicans

Special Session of General Synod on 24 September 2020

The two Archbishops have called a special session of General Synod on Thursday 24 September 2020. The only business expected will be a draft measure to allow Synod to meet remotely in November (and subsequently) if necessary. The Archbishops wrote to all synod members last month to explain why this measure is necessary and can only be taken at an in-person meeting; their letter is copied below.

It is hoped that most members will not exercise their right to be present, but arrangements will be made to ensure that enough do attend to provide a quorum in each of the three houses.

Subsequently the text of the draft measure and explanatory notes have been published.

GS 2175 Draft General Synod (Remote Meetings) Measure – First Consideration
GS 2175X General Synod (Remote Meetings) Measure – Explanatory Notes

Letter from the Archbishops

22 July 2020
To: All Members of General Synod

Ref: Special Session of General Synod on 24 September 2020

Standing Order 2(6)(b), provides that in circumstances of special urgency or importance, the Presidents of the General Synod may summon a special session.

We consider that such circumstances exist. It is not practically possible at present to hold a group of sessions in the usual way and we do not know when it will be again possible to do so. Nor is it currently possible, under the Synod’s Constitution and Standing Orders, for the Synod to transact business remotely. There is important business which the Synod must transact before the end of this year. This includes the approval by the General Synod of the Archbishops’ Council’s budget for 2021, which is a statutory requirement under the National Institutions Measure 1998, and the approval of Fees Orders for 2021. Other business the Synod needs to address without delay includes amending safeguarding legislation to take account of recommendations from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and the giving of final approval to the Cathedrals Measure.

For those reasons, we need legislation that will enable the Synod to meet and transact business remotely should it still not be possible by November for it to meet in the usual way. The Government has not been able to make time for this in Parliament. We therefore need to legislate by Measure and are summoning a special session of the General Synod for this purpose on Thursday 24 September 2020.

This meeting will be held physically at Church House, London. Although no Synod member can be denied admission to this meeting, we will in practice hope to work with the three Houses to ensure that only a quorum-plus of members need attend to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements.

The only business we envisage being on the agenda for the special session is a draft Measure to enable the Synod to meet and conduct business remotely. It is proposed that all stages of the Measure would be taken at the special session. We do not expect to have any other business at this meeting, even urgent business outlined above. These items will be taken to the November Group of Sessions.

Members will receive further details, including the draft Measure, from the Synod Office in due course.

Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of York
Presidents of the General Synod

22 Comments

General Synod reports

Updated Sunday (twice)

Reports on today’s virtual meeting of General Synod

Video of the whole day’s proceedings

The presidential address was given by the Archbishop of York, but with contributions from others.
Video of the address
Full text of the presidential address
Official press release: Church must ‘learn afresh how to share the gospel’, Archbishop of York tells Synod

Church Times reports Archbishop of York: God wants a Church of ‘glorious and profligate diversity’
Welby browned off after grilling on church closures
Commissioners are trying to help cathedrals to weather financial crisis, Dr Poole tells Synod

The Guardian ‘Tribal and divided’: Church of England faces turbulent times

Yorkshire Post Newly confirmed Archbishop of York speaks of ‘devastating impact’ of pandemic in first public address

Glasgow Times Bishop of Manchester defends tweets criticising Dominic Cummings

Update

Andrew Nunn Unprecedented

Stephen Lynas Oh Zoom! You chased the day away

22 Comments

General Synod – preview and comment

General Synod meets tomorrow and the Church of England has put out this press release today: General Synod members to meet remotely.

A further paper has been added to the Church of England website.

GS Misc 1251 – Covid-19 General Synod Update

Two Synod members preview tomorrow’s meeting.

Stephen Lynas I’ve just seen a face
Andrew Nunn Zooming into Synod

Some bloggers have been looking at the questions and answers.

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church  General Synod and the Questions around Safeguarding
Richard Bastable All Things Lawful And Honest Archiepiscopal Contradictions II

My favourite is the breath of fresh air in the answer given by Rogers Govender, the Dean of Manchester, to question 121, which I have copied below the fold.

(more…)

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General Synod – Questions

The Questions paper for Saturday’s virtual meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod has been published today. This contains the 131 submitted questions and their answers. A total of two hours has been allocated on Saturday for supplementary questions and answers.

Other papers are here.

The meeting will be streamed online here.

32 Comments

Christ Church vs Martyn Percy

Updated Tuesday

Martin Sewell and David Lamming issued a letter to fellow members of the CofE General Synod, which was published by Archbishop Cranmer on 19 June: Martyn Percy: Synod challenges Christ Church abuse of CofE safeguarding process.

Peter Adams, another General Synod member, responded to that letter on reconciliationtalk.org on 28 June: When a safeguarding referral is made no amount of special pleading should change that.

Today, Archbishop Cranmer has published a further article, which contains a very detailed response from Martin Sewell to Peter Adams: Christ Church vs Martyn Percy: a conspiracy of lawyers, divine PR, and the purgatory of CofE Safeguarding. That letter will also be sent to all General Synod members ahead of the online “meeting” planned for next Saturday. As “Archbishop Cranmer” writes:

Members of Synod should read both letters and ask themselves three questions:

1) Am I prepared to publicly defend the Church of England’s conduct in this ?
2) Would I wish myself or someone I care for to be subject to such processes?
3) What exactly am I going to do about this?

TA readers are encouraged to read all these letters in full.

Update

Surviving Church has published A guide to the situation at Christ Church Oxford. Which is subtitled Trying to make sense of what is going on.

30 Comments

General Synod papers for 11 July

Updated 10 July to add extra papers

A number of papers for the informal and virtual meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod on 11 July are now available online. Links to them are below.

If any more appear I will add them to the list.

Timetable
Handling of Questions in the Meeting of Synod Members
Members’ Guide to Virtual Synod Proceedings
Note from the Chair of the Business Committee to Synod Members

GS 2171 – Audit Committee Annual Report
GS 2172 – Archbishops’ Council Annual Report (2019)
GS 2173 – Financial Update and AC Original Budget

GS Misc 1249 – Covid-19 Response
GS Misc 1250 – The Emerging Church of England
GS Misc 1251 – Covid-19 General Synod Update

Notice of Delay – Corporation of Church House AGM

Questions paper

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General Synod July 2020

Update Tuesday A press release was issued this morning; I have copied it below the timetable.
Update Saturday A note on the Handling of Questions in the Meeting of Synod Members has been added to the website. The Questions Notice Paper will be published by 10.00am on Wednesday 8 July.

A provisional timetable for a meeting of General Synod members on Saturday 11 July 2020 has been published today. This will be the informal remote meeting proposed by the officers of Synod last month when the residential meeting in York was cancelled. There are no details as yet about how this virtual meeting will be conducted.

The timetable is copied below.

GENERAL SYNOD: July 2020 Timetable
Saturday 11 July
10.30 am – 12.45 pm
10.30 am – 10.45 am Opening worship
Introduction and welcomes
10.45 am – 11.30 am Presidential Address
11.30 am – 11.45 am Pause for reflection
*11.45 am – 12.45 pm Question Time part one

1.30 pm – 4.30 pm
1.30 pm – 2.45 pm Response to Covid-19: Presentation followed by Questions
*2.45 pm – 3.00 pm BREAK
3.00 pm – 4.00 pm Question Time part two
4.00 pm – 4.15 pm Reflections and/or Scriptural thought
4.15 pm – 4.30 pm Closing worship
*4.30 pm Close of Business

* not later than
Please note that all timings are indicative unless marked with an asterisk.

Deadline for receipt of questions for the formal Question Time: 1200 hrs Tuesday 30 June 2020

Update – press release

Informal virtual meeting of General Synod members to take place
09/06/2020

The timetable for an informal virtual meeting of General Synod members has been published.

The timetable for an informal virtual meeting of members of General Synod on Saturday July 11 has been published. This has the support of the Business Committee of the General Synod after it was confirmed that the residential meeting due to take place in York in July had been cancelled in the light of the coronavirus pandemic. The term of the current General Synod has been extended for a year with planned elections to the General Synod postponed until next autumn. Synod officers continue to explore options to enable the Synod to transact its business remotely if it is not possible to meet in person in November.

The timetable can be found on the Synod area of the Church of England website.

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Postponement of General Synod elections

As I reported earlier this month the July meeting of General Synod has been cancelled. In addition the Archbishops said they would ask the Privy Council to postpose the election of a new Synod, due this summer, by twelve months. The Council met yesterday, and accepted the Archbishops’ request. The current Synod will now be dissolved on 31 July 2021.

The details are in Statutory Instrument 2020 No 526: The General Synod of the Church of England (Postponement of Elections) Order 2020.

4 Comments

July General Synod cancelled

The planned residential meeting of General Synod due to take place in York in July has been cancelled. In a press release today the officers of Synod also set out proposals for members of Synod to meet informally and remotely. The Archbishops will also ask the Privy Council to postpose the election of a new Synod, due this summer, by twelve months.

The press release is copied below.

General Synod officers examining possibility of ‘virtual’ meetings amid coronavirus challenge
05/05/2020

The Church of England is looking at options including a possible change in the law to enable the General Synod to meet remotely, in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to all members of Synod today, the officers of Synod confirm that they have used their legal powers to cancel the planned residential meeting due to take place York in July in light of the current restrictions.

However, they set out proposals for members of Synod to meet informally and remotely, potentially in a similar way to the current sittings of Parliament, as well as details of an extension to the term of the current Synod by a year.

Under the current rules, Synod can only pass legislation and transact key business by meeting in person.

In their letter, the officers – the Archbishops, Prolocutors of Canterbury and York of the House of Clergy, and the Chair and Vice-Chair of the House of Laity – say they wish to explore with the Government the possibility of Parliament passing legislation to enable the Synod to transact its business remotely if it is not possible to meet in person.

If it is not possible to do this in time to arrange a remote sitting in July, they suggest an informal remote meeting of Synod members in July when, although they could not pass legislation or take other decisions, could discuss urgent matters and carry out scrutiny.

Separately, Parliament has already approved a provision in the Coronavirus Act 2020 enabling the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to request an order postponing the elections to General Synod due to take place this summer.

A request to postpone the elections for a year is due to be considered by the Privy Council shortly. It would enable the current Synod to meet in November. If it were still not possible to meet physically by then, it is hoped that Parliament will have passed legislation so that an official sitting of the Synod by “virtual” means would be possible.

Synod members are to be surveyed to gauge support for the idea.

Canon Dr Jamie Harrison, Chair of the House of Laity, said: “The residential York Synod is a time to renew friendships and debate important matters; cancelling it has been a hard, but necessary, decision.

“We must now find ways, together, to ensure that the Synod’s vital work of engaging with legislation and scrutiny can continue.”

The Revd Canon Chris Newlands, Prolocutor of the Convocation of York, said: “The decision to cancel the physical gathering of General Synod was taken only after much prayer and reflection, conscious that we need to listen to the mind of the whole Synod more than ever at this time, though we are constrained by the measures currently in force nationally and the legal requirements that have to be met for a meeting of Synod.

“We very much hope that when we are able to gather physically once again, we will together seek to discern how God is calling us to be His Church in England in the ‘new normal’ of life after the coronavirus pandemic.”

The Revd Canon Sue Booys, Chair of Synod’s Business Committee, said: “It is obviously right in our current circumstances to take steps to minimise risk to Synod members and those who would serve them in York by cancelling the formal sessions in July.

“The Business Committee is ready to fulfil our role in finding ways to generate and enable discussion about issues of importance as well as to explore and make arrangements for a future formally constituted group of sessions.

“We will be working with others to enable the legal framework we need to allow our business to proceed properly and give Synod members the opportunity to scrutinise and comment on business.”

Notes to editors

The full letter can be read online.

The Officers of the General Synod are:

  • The Presidents – the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu;
  • Prolocutor of the Convocation of Canterbury, the Revd Canon Simon Butler
  • Prolocutor of the Convocation of York, the Revd Canon Chris Newlands;
  • Chair of the House of Laity, Canon Dr Jamie Harrison
  • Vice Chair of the House of Laity, Canon Elizabeth Paver
4 Comments

Post Synod roundup

Updated

Here are a few online articles relating to last week’s meeting of the Church of England General Synod.

Business Done [the official summary of business]
Video recordings of all the Synod sessions are available to watch on YouTube.

Tim Hind Open Synod Group report of proceedings

Church Times General Synod highlights [12 minute podcast]
Subscribers can read the detailed reports of all Synod debates here.

The Tablet CofE synod commits to ambitious green targets

David Pocklington Law & Religion UK “Public health funerals” and “direct cremation” – an update

The rules and related items for the forthcoming General Synod elections are here.

3 Comments

General Synod – Day 4 – Thursday

The day’s business is in Order Paper Six

Official press releases

General Synod approves Channel Islands legislation
Legal aid an ‘essential service’ that should be preserved for the ‘benefit of the nation’, Synod votes
Archbishop of Canterbury pays tribute to the Archbishop of York

Press reports

Church Times
Synod says yes to Channel Islands transfer

Members’  blogs

Andrew Nunn The last chapter
Stephen Lynas A hard day’s night

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General Synod – Day 3 – Wednesday

The morning’s business is in Order Paper Four.
The afternoon’s business is in Order Paper Five.

As usual, Stephen Lynas is providing his excellent summaries of each day’s business.

Stephen Parsons wrote this in advance of the first item of business on Safeguarding: Is Synod overseeing a revolution in the treatment of abuse survivors? We also covered this here.

At the end of the Safeguarding debate Synod passed the following motion by 361 votes to nil, with no recorded abstentions.

That this Synod
(a) endorse the Archbishops’ Council’s response, set out in GS 2158, to the five recommendations made by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in its investigation report Anglican Church Case Studies: Chichester/Peter Ball (May 2019) at pages 206 to 207;
(b) welcome the statement in paragraph 4.1 of the response that the National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG) “remains committed to ensuring that words of apology are followed by concrete actions”;
(c) urge the NSSG to bring forward proposals to give effect to that commitment that follow a more fully survivor-centred approach to safeguarding, including arrangements for redress for survivors;
(d) request that the NSSG keep the Synod updated on the development and implementation of responses to recommendations relating to the Church of England that are made by the Inquiry, including by submitting a report for debate by the Synod not later than July 2021.

The paper (GS 2158) referred to in the motion is online here.

The rest of the morning session was devoted to a debate on the Climate Emergency and Carbon Reduction Target. The motion as originally proposed was amended, most significantly when “2045 at the latest” in paragraph (a) was replaced by “2030”. This amendment was quite narrowly carried by 144 votes to 129 with 10 recorded abstentions. At the end of the debate, the amended motion below was carried on a show of hands.

That this Synod, recognising that the global climate emergency is a crisis for God’s creation, and a fundamental injustice, and following the call of the Anglican Communion in ACC Resolutions A17.05 and A17.06;
(a) call upon all parts of the Church of England, including parishes, BMOs, education institutions, dioceses, cathedrals and the NCIs, to work to achieve year-on-year reductions in emissions and urgently examine what would be required to reach net zero emissions by 2030 in order that a plan of action can be drawn up to achieve that target;
(b) request reports on progress from the Environment Working Group and the NCIs every 3 years beginning in 2022 and;
(c) call on each Diocesan Synod and cathedral Chapter to address progress toward net zero emissions every 3 years.

The first item of business in the afternoon was a debate on so-called Paupers’ Funerals. The motion before Synod (after amendment) was

That this Synod noting:

(a) the substantial rise in the number of ‘pauper funerals’ in England and the pain and hurt arising from them; and
(b) the call of the Gospel to meet people as Jesus does, in their time of need, as well as the duty of Christians to the poor as set out in Proverbs 31.8-9 and Deuteronomy 15.7-8;

call upon the Archbishops’ Council to direct and resource the Life Events Advisory Group, in consultation with the Churches Funeral Group and the British Council of Funeral Services to:

i. undertake the formation of plans at national, diocesan and parish levels to utilise Church resources (whether in the form of finance, volunteers or buildings) to tackle the issues relating to and, where possible, end ‘pauper funerals’;
ii. work with other stakeholders to find ways, at an affordable price, to deliver a more compassionate send off for the departed and to meet the spiritual and emotional needs of those left behind; and
iii. report progress made with reference to the above by the end of 2021;

and further call on Her Majesty’s Government to develop with Council leaders, a national plan and basic standards for pauper funerals, which should include allowing a Christian funeral service to take place in Church or at a Crematorium; for family or others to attend; and the return of the departed (where permitted) to family members.

and this was carried by 273 votes to nil, with one recorded abstention.

Next was a debate on Children and Youth Ministry. The motion before Synod (after amendment) was

That this Synod, recognising the continuing decline in numbers of under 16’s engaging with Church:
(a) encourage dioceses to act urgently and consider practical ways they can support and resource those churches both with significant numbers of children and young people and with specific aspirations to increase their numbers of the same;
(b) encourage dioceses to make provision to support and resource those churches serving communities which currently have small numbers of children, teenagers and young people;
(c) request dioceses to share good models of practice through churches helping to resource others so that we have many more churches engaging with children and young people;
(d) request the NCI’s to commit funding for qualitative research on the data received to help understand best practice in a variety of contexts;
(e) encourage dioceses to explore new ways to grow new church communities with young people as a primary missional focus;
(f) request the Evangelism and Discipleship team to ensure this work is clearly joined up with Growing Faith; and
(g) request an update from the Evangelism and Discipleship team in two years with analysis of progress in these areas.

and this was carried on a show of hands.

Official press releases

Overwhelming support for Synod safeguarding motion – This includes links to some of the speeches in the debate.
General Synod sets 2030 Net Zero carbon target
General Synod calls on Government to act over ‘pauper’ funerals

Press reports

Church Times
C of E ‘to be carbon-neutral by 2030’, after Synod rips up original target
Synod accepts that ‘serious money’ must be found for abuse survivors

The Guardian
Church of England may have to pay out millions over child sexual abuse

The Telegraph
Church of England cuts target for carbon neutrality by 15 years, from 2045 to 2030

Christian Today
Archbishop of Canterbury reaffirms apology to victims of clergy abuse

Ekklesia
Operation Noah welcomes Church of England decision to set 2030 net zero target

Blogs

Andrew Nunn Reality
Stephen Lynas You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone

[This page will be updated during the day.]

9 Comments

General Synod – Day 2 – Tuesday

The morning’s business is in Order Paper Two.
The afternoon’s business is in Order Paper Three.

Synod papers are online here.

As usual, Stephen Lynas is providing his excellent summaries of each day’s business.

Much of the morning was spent on the Draft Cathedrals Measure. This had been revised by a revision committee and it was now Synod’s turn to accept or revise it. The proposed amendments are in order paper two. All were accepted by Synod except for 510 and 516. The Measure now goes to committee for final drafting before coming back to Synod for final approval at a later group of sessions.

The other item of business before lunch was deanery synod term limits. The recent complete rewriting of the Church Representation Rules (the “Rules”) included a provision to limit lay members of deanery synods to two consecutive terms of three years (although APCMs could vote not to apply this). There was opposition to this at the time but by the time people realised the significance of the change it was too late to do anything about it. However the Business Committee had undertaken a consultation and proposed to introduce a change to the Rules so that the default position would be no term limit, although APCMs would be allowed to make a limit. Today’s debate was to see if there was sufficient support in Synod to make it worthwhile starting the process of amending the Rules. Because this requires a two-thirds majority in each house of Synod, today’s vote was by houses with this result:

Bishops for 14, against 6
Clergy for 66, against 31
Laity for 128, against 14

There were recorded abstentions of 1, 3, 2 respectively.

Today a simple majority in each house was sufficient, so the motion asking the Business Committee to introduce the necessary resolution at the July 2020 group of sessions was passed. However it should be noted that whilst the laity today were overwhelmingly in favour, the bishops and clergy only just reached the two-thirds majority that will be needed in July.

The afternoon started with a presentation on Living in Love and Faith the Pastoral Advisory Group – see the Church Times story linked below for details.

Later there was a private members’ motion on Windrush Commitment and Legacy. After some amendments the motion before Synod was

That this Synod, commemorating in 2018 the martyrdom of the Revd Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., noting with joy the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush liner in the United Kingdom in June 1948 bringing nearly 500 Commonwealth citizens, mainly from the Caribbean, to mainland UK; and the eventual arrival of approximately half a million people from the West Indies, who were called to Britain as British subjects to help rebuild the post-war United Kingdom:

(a) lament, on behalf of Christ’s Church, and apologises for, the conscious and unconscious racism experienced by countless Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) Anglicans in 1948 and subsequent years, when seeking to find a spiritual home in their local Church of England parish churches, the memory of which is still painful to committed Anglicans who in spite of this racism from clergy and others, have remained faithful to the Church of England and their Anglican heritage;
(b) request the Archbishops’ Council to commission research to assess the impact of this on the Church of England in terms of church members lost, churches declining into closure, and vocations to ordained and licensed lay ministries missed, and to report back to this Synod and the wider Church.
(c) express gratitude to God for the indispensable contribution to the mission, ministry, prayer and worship of Christ’s Church in this nation made by people of BAME descent in the Church of England;
(d) acknowledge and give joyful thanks for the wider contribution of the ‘Windrush generation’ and their descendants to UK life and culture in every field of human activity, including service across the Armed Forces and other services during and after the Second World War;
(e) resolve to continue, with great effort and urgency, to stamp out all forms of conscious or unconscious racism, and to commit the Church of England to increase the participation and representation of lay and ordained BAME Anglicans throughout Church life; and
(f) request the Archbishop’s Council to appoint an independent person external to the Church to assess the current situation as regards race and ethnicity in the Church, in order to present a report to this Synod with recommendations for actions to achieve reconciliation and authentic belonging so that we can move towards truly being a Church for all people;

to the greater glory of the God in whose image every human being is made.

The motion was carried by 295 votes to nil, with no recorded abstentions.

Official press releases

Cathedrals proposals move forward
General Synod votes to apologise over racism

Archbishop Justin Welby’s remarks during Windrush debate

Press reports

Church Times
Synod apologises to Windrush generation for C of E racism
Living in Love and Faith talks ‘will have an end’

The Guardian
Justin Welby says he is ‘sorry and ashamed’ over church’s racism

The Telegraph
Row erupts at General Synod over LGBT rights in the church

Christian Today
Church of England apologises for racism towards Windrush generation and minority ethnic people
Living in Love and Faith process is a ‘call to action’ for Church of England – bishop

Independent
Church of England ‘deeply institutionally racist’, admits Archbishop of Canterbury

Daily Mail
Archbishop of Canterbury compares CofE’s attitude towards black people to how churches treated Jews in Nazi Germany

Members’ blogs

Stephen Lynas All kinds of everything

Andrew Nunn Jewels in the crown
Quotable quotes

11 Comments

General Synod – Day 1 – Monday

The February group of sessions of the Church of England’s General Synod opened this afternoon. Proceedings can be watched live here.

The first day’s business is in Order Paper One.

The Archbishop of Canterbury gave a presidential address; you can read a transcript here.

There is some background information on one item, the draft Channel Islands Measure, in the item below. Synod voted to proceed with this draft measure, and it will be considered for revision in Full Synod tomorrow (Tuesday).

Synod voted to proclaim the Clergy Covenant for Wellbeing as an Act of Synod. The Covenant is here, and a paper on the Act of Synod, and an update on progress is here. There is also a Document for Reflection and Action for the Clergy.

The day’s business ended with Questions.

Official press release

Covenant for Clergy Care and Wellbeing declared Act of Synod

Press reports

Church Times No biting, Welby tells his fellow Anglicans

Christian Today Archbishop of Canterbury appeals for unity at the start of Synod
Church of England’s parliamentary body reaffirms commitment to tackling clergy stress and burnout

The Telegraph
Social media is evil at root of society’s ills, warns Archbishop of Canterbury

Press Association (via This is Money)
Archbishop says technology could be `danger to flock´ or `aid to shepherd´

Members’ blogs

Andrew Nunn Making a beginning
Stephen Lynas Over the sea, on the Island(s) of Dreams

13 Comments

Channel Islands

There is a proposal before the Church of England General Synod this week to transfer the Channel Islands from the diocese of Winchester to the diocese of Salisbury. This follows from the recommendations of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on the Relationship of the Channel Islands to the Wider Church of England (GS Misc 1241) which was chaired by Richard Chartres, the former bishop of London. This requires a Church Measure (the Church of England’s equivalent to an Act of Parliament) and it is intended to take all stages of this before Synod closes on Thursday. The first stage will be taken this afternoon and this will primarily deal with the principle.

Not everybody agrees with the proposal. One such is Simon Cawdell, a Synod member from Hereford. He has written a paper which has circulated amongst some Synod members and this has prompted a response from the Deans of Guernsey and Jersey (the senior clergy on the islands). With permission I have copied the texts of both papers below the fold.

The text of the draft measure is here and the explanatory notes are here.

(more…)

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pre-Synod news and comment

Updated Saturday evening

The General Synod of the Church of England meets in London from Monday to Thursday next week. I published a list of news stories here. Here is some more news and comment.

Stephen Lynas bathwellschap Return to Sender [Stephen’s usual informative introduction to the Synod]

Nicholas Henshall ViaMedia.News Is All Well with the “Clergy Well Being” Covenant?

recent Church Times news and comment
Synod members are invited to climate vigil
Priestly formation needs revising to benefit children’s ministry
To belong

There are links to Synod papers here. The official General Synod app is available to download on iOS and Android devices. It is described as “Once downloaded, the app allows access to an electronic version of the timetable as well as all the documents you need to take part in the session as a member. Any changes or updates to the timetable and documents are also sent to the app.” Although primarily intended for Synod members anybody can use it.

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General Synod questions

Updated Monday

The Church of England’s General Synod will have its usual question and answer session on Monday afternoon next week. The questions, and answers, have been published today (see links below). These will not be read out at Synod and the session will be devoted to supplementary questions.

Questions Notice Paper
Question 18
Question 91
Question 92
Question 105
Question 106
Question 108

Update: A list of errata has been published.

1 Comment

Survivors challenge General Synod

Updated Thursday evening

A group of survivors of sexual abuse committed by Church of England clergy have written an open letter to General Synod members. The full text of that letter is copied below the fold (and is also on the Surviving Church blog).

Amendments, supported by the survivors, to the proposed motion due to be debated next week regarding the recommendations from IICSA to the Church of England have been proposed by David Lamming and Peter Adams.

Peter Adams has written an article about the need for stronger action by General Synod: Closing the door on a shameful past: the need for a fully rounded response by CofE General Synod to IICSA.

These amendments have however been ruled out of order. See today’s Church Times news report Safeguarding amendments to give Synod motion ‘more teeth’ are rejected.

The full text of the proposed motion if the proposed amendments had been accepted, is as follows.

GENERAL SYNOD FEBRUARY 2020 GROUP OF SESSIONS WEDNESDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2020

AGENDA ITEM 9 Safeguarding: Response to recommendations in IICSA May 2019 Investigation Report (GS 2158)

COMPOSITE DRAFT OF THE MOTION AS IT WOULD BE IF AMENDED BY THE AMENDMENTS PROPOSED BY DAVID LAMMING (GS 399) AND PETER ADAMS (GS 392)

That this Synod:

(a) lament the Church of England’s abject failures in dealing with reports of abuse, as revealed during the hearings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and documented in its interim report, Anglican Church Case Studies: Diocese of Chichester and The response to allegations against Peter Ball (May 2019), and accordingly welcome the terms of the Diocese of Blackburn ‘Ad Clerum’ letter dated 17th June 2019, reflecting on the IICSA report and commend its victim-centred approach to all in authority within the Church as a suitable model for developing reconciliation with those who have been wronged by our sins of commission and omission;

(b) affirm (in the words of the National Director of Safeguarding at para 4.1 of paper GS 2158) that the Church of England “remains committed to ensuring that words of apology are followed by concrete actions to improve how all worshipping communities across the whole Church in its many forms – across its parishes, dioceses, cathedrals, religious communities, national church institutions and other church bodies – respond to concerns and allegations of abuse and to all victims and survivors of abuse and others affected by this, whilst at the same time working to prevent such abuse from occurring in the first place.”

(c) endorse the Archbishops’ Council’s response, set out in paper GS 2158, to the five recommendations made by IICSA at pages 206 to 207 of its said report;

(d) request the Archbishops’ Council, National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG), National Safeguarding Team, and House of Bishops to respond immediately to the recommendations of the final IICSA report on the Anglican Church when it is published, and bring their response to General Synod for debate no later than July 2021; and

(e) request the Archbishops’ Council, NSSG and House of Bishops, working in conjunction with the Church Commissioners, to bring forward proposals for an appropriate and properly resourced compensation and redress scheme, so that words of apology are matched by actions that truly reflect the justice and righteousness of God’s kingdom.

(more…)

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Responses to the Apology from the Archbishops

The original signatories of the Open Letter have issued this public response

“MORE THAN WORDS ARE NOW NEEDED” – RESPONSE TO THE ARCHBISHOPS’ APOLOGY

Whilst we are grateful for the Archbishops’ apology and the recognition that their statement has jeopardized our trust, the fact is more than words are now needed.

Over 3500 people have now signed our open letter, which includes nearly 90 members of General Synod and a range of other senior church leaders.  This shows the strength of concern that exists across the Church of England that its mission is being significantly damaged and that their promise of a “radical new Christian inclusion” must now be delivered.

We await the evidence that they have truly heard and taken onboard our concerns by what comes out in the Living in Love and Faith report, and the willingness to engage directly with those whose lives it primarily affects.

Christina Baron
Rev Andrew Foreshew-Cain
Ven Peter Leonard
Jayne Ozanne

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Statement from the Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England about the recent apology from the house of Bishops for their ‘Pastoral Statement on Same sex Civil Partnerships

We welcome the Archbishops’ apology and acknowledgement of the hurt & division their words have caused.
We regret that they have neither withdrawn their ill-advised Statement nor sought to amend its harsh and cruel wording. It still stands in its entirety as an attack on the integrity and lives of not just many in the LGBTI communities but also to the countless committed and faithful straight couples and lone parents raising children whose love and commitment they have disparaged.

We are disappointed that they do not address the undermining of the trust in their leadership and the Living in Love and Faith process that the release of the Statement has caused. Trust cannot be simply rebuilt by ignoring that reality. Bridges have to be built from both sides and the Statement released last week demolished the foundations on the Bishops’ side.

We had hoped that the Bishops might have learnt from this embarrassing experience but they appear not to have done so. We invite the Bishops to reach out and ask to meet with representatives of the LGBTI communities and sit down and ask how trust can be rebuilt. Telling us it will simply be so suggests that they are still unwilling to listen, unable to learn from this very public embarrassment and does nothing to inspire confidence for the future.

We would welcome an invitation to meet with the Bishops to discuss how that trust can be re-established.

Friday 31st January 2020

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At Via MediaGiles Goddard an LGBT member of the co-ordinating group for the Living in Love and Faith project has published After the Apology – What Next?

…I have heard a great deal of contrition from the College of Bishops and from the Archbishops and I am grateful for that. I hope it will help us to move on. But I also have a strong sense that the underlying causes for the publication of the Statement have only just begun to be addressed. I have had very recent conversations with bishops who remain dismayed by the Church’s way of being: still, deep down, dominated by a world-view which feels white, male and patriarchal in its teaching on sexuality and relationships. Women still find it hard to be heard. There is still a huge problem with BAME representation. There is only one out LGBTI+ bishop…

Do read it all.

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Prolocutors respond to House of Bishops statement

Simon Butler and Chris Newlands, the prolocutors of Canterbury and York respectively in the General Synod, have made public the letter they have written to the archbishops. The full text of this is available here.

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