Thinking Anglicans

General Synod February 2019

Press release from the Church of England

General Synod February 2019
12/10/2018

The Business Committee of the Church of England General Synod has agreed the outline timings for the February 2019 group of sessions.

Synod will meet from 2.30pm on Wednesday February 20 to 4pm on Saturday February 23 at Church House Westminster.

Following the workshops and seminars in York in July, there will be a update on progress with Living in Love and Faith and the plans for completing the project through a presentation as part of the main Synod agenda as well as a collection of fringe meetings.

It is anticipated that the timetable will be published in December.

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General Synod – Church Times detailed reports

The detailed Church Times reports on the recent Church of England General Synod are now online here. Unless you subscribe there is a limit on how many of these reports you will be able to read.

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General Synod – Tuesday

Order paper of the day

The main business of the morning was the Report of the Cathedrals Working Group (GS2101A and GS2101B). Synod passed this motion:

That this Synod:
(a) welcome the recommendations in the Report of the Cathedrals Working Group (GS 2101A);
(b) request the Archbishops’ Council to bring forward a draft Measure for First Consideration at the July 2019 group of sessions to give effect to the recommendations that involve legislative change; and
(c) call on all concerned, including bishops, cathedrals and the National Church Institutions, to give effect to the recommendations that do not involve legislative change as soon as practically possible.

The date in paragraph (b) had been amended by Synod from February 2019 to allow more time to decide what should be in the draft measure. There was criticism particularly of the proposal in the report for there to be a vice-chair of the chapter to be appointed by the bishop.

Official press release: Church of England approves ideas to support and streamline England’s cathedrals

Stephen Lynas reports on the final day’s business: The Can(n)on’s thunder can’t prevail.

Press report

Church Times General Synod welcomes cathedrals reform but plays for time

 

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General Synod – Monday

Updated Tuesday morning

Order paper for the morning session
Order paper for the afternoon session

Stephen Lynas writes on Monday’s events: I fought the law…

In the morning Synod agreed the expenditure of the Archbishops’ Council for 2019.

It then spent the rest of the morning, and much of the afternoon, considering the legislation listed in the morning order paper. For the record the items for final approval were given this. Of the amendments to Draft Church Representation and Ministers Measure and the associated Amending Canon, only 518, 524 and 525 were passed. Finally the second miscellaneous provisions measure was sent to a revision committee.

This only left time for the debate on the National Health Service. This was on a Diocesan Synod Motion from Carlisle.

After amendment (to add paragraphs (b), (d) and (e)) the motion read:

That this Synod:
(a) welcome and commend the report The Long-term Sustainability of the NHS and Adult Social Care published in April 2017 by the House of Lords Select Committee on the Long-term Sustainability of the NHS;
(b) express its heartfelt gratitude for the dedication of NHS and social care staff, and call on local churches to support those working in the NHS and social care, and to pray for them regularly publicly and privately;
(c) call upon Her Majesty’s Government to implement the recommendations made by the Select Committee, giving particular consideration to:
(i) the problems arising from the use of urban models of strategic care in the rural context;
(ii) whether social care is being adequately funded in the context of an ageing population; and
(iii) whether sufficient resources are being given to the recruitment, outside larger urban centres, of experienced and highly qualified health professionals;
(d) call upon Her Majesty’s Government to establish a Royal Commission to consider how the United Kingdom’s health 2and social care needs might best be delivered and financed in the period to 2040, taking into account expected changes in life expectancy, demography and medical technology; and
(e) call upon local churches to lead by example in showing Christian compassion and care to the elderly and vulnerable in our local communities, as we have done historically and is now especially needed, given the shortfall in the funding of social care.

The motion was carried by 267 votes to none, with no recorded abstentions.

Official press release: Synod backs Royal Commission on future of health and social care

Press report

Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph Church of England sees fall in planned donations for first time in 50 years as millennials fail to engage

 

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General Synod – Sunday

Updated Monday morning, Tuesday morning

Stephen Lynas reports on Sunday’s events: No-one to save, with the world in a grave.
He does not restrict himself to the debates in the Synod chamber.

Synod members joined the regular congregation at York Minster for the morning Eucharist.

The afternoon session was devoted to three debates on the Church and the World.

Order paper for the day
Video of the day’s proceedings

Climate Change and Investment

Synod passed this motion by 347 votes to four, with three recorded abstentions.

That this Synod:
(a) welcome the worldwide agreement in Paris in December 2015 to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and to pursue “efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”;
(b) affirm, as it did in 2015, its support for the climate change policy recommended by the EIAG and adopted by the National Investing Bodies (‘the NIBs’) in 2015;
(c) welcome the NIBs’ disinvestment from companies focused on thermal coal mining and the production of oil from oil sands;
(d) welcome the NIBs’ establishment of the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) to track whether major companies associated with high carbon emissions are aligning their business plans with the Paris Agreement;
(e) urge the NIBs to engage urgently and robustly with companies rated poorly by TPI and, beginning in 2020, to start to disinvest from the ones that are not taking seriously their responsibilities to assist with the transition to a low carbon economy;
(f) urge the NIBs to ensure that by 2023 they have disinvested from fossil fuel companies that they have assessed, drawing on TPI data, as not prepared to align with the goal of the Paris Agreement to restrict the global average temperature rise to well below 2°C;
(g) urge the NIBs proactively to seek and scale up investment in renewable energy and low carbon technology; and
(h) request the NIBs to report to Synod within three years on progress, with a timetable for rapid continuing action.

Official press release: National Investing Bodies’ approach to climate change affirmed by General Synod

Environment Programmes

After two successful amendments this motion read.

That this Synod:
(a) recognise the escalating threat to God’s creation from global warming and climate change, and the suffering caused, particularly to the poor;
(b) recall the previous resolution of the Synod, including ‘to develop Shrinking the Footprint (StF) to enable the whole Church to address the issue of climate change;
(c) call on every diocese to have an environment programme with a designated member of the bishop’s staff team to lead and advocate for the programme;
(d) call on the Environmental Working Group, supported by the national teams for the Church of England Environmental Programme (CoEEP) and Mission & Public Affairs;
(i) to prepare and submit a framework plan to the Archbishops’ Council for the promotion, co- ordination and rapid acceleration of the CoEEP, with particular attention to reducing the Church of England’s energy use and CO2 emissions;
(ii) to continue developing, and making available, tools for the annual collation of the energy consumption of cathedrals, churches and church halls and calculation of their total CO2 emissions to enable monitoring of progress towards the Church’s target of reducing CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050;
(iii) to promote communication and peer-review between individual dioceses as a means of encouraging best practice in the area of environmental policy, with special reference to investments, property and land use; and activities supporting the CoEEP and Eco Church Initiatives;
(iv) to compile and submit a progress report to the Synod at least every three years; and
(e) call on the Archbishops’ Council urgently to assess what human and financial resources would be required to enable the work in (d) above, and to report this back at the February 2019 group of sessions.

Synod then passed a motion to adjourn debate on this item until February 2019.

The Ethics of Nuclear Weapons

The final business of the day was this motion:

That this Synod, mindful that a faithful commemoration of the centenary of the 1918 Armistice must commit the Church afresh to peace building; and conscious that nuclear weapons, through their indiscriminate and destructive potential, present a distinct category of weaponry that requires Christians to work tirelessly for their elimination across the world:
(a) welcome the 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the clear signal it sends by a majority of UN Member States that nuclear weapons are both dangerous and unnecessary;
(b) call on Her Majesty’s Government to respond positively to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by reiterating publicly its obligations under Article VI of the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty and its strategy for meeting them; and
(c) commit the Church of England to work with its Anglican Communion and ecumenical partners in addressing the regional and international security concerns which drive nations to possess and seek nuclear weapons and to work towards achieving a genuine peace through their elimination.

The motion was carried by 260 votes to 26, with 21 recorded abstentions.

Official press release: General Synod calls for renewed efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament

Press reports

Adam Becket, Hattie Williams and Madeleine Davies Church Times The General Synod sets church investors target on fossil-fuel recalcitrants
Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph Church of England to withdraw funds from polluting firms that fail to tackle climate change
Attracta Mooney Financial Times Anglican £12bn investment funds in threat to fossil fuel companies
Ekklesia Christian Aid responds to General Synod vote on Church’s fossil fuel investments
BBC News Church of England threatens oil firm crackdown
Josh Gabbatiss Independent Church of England votes to withdraw funds from companies that contribute to climate change
Steve Doughty Mail Online Church of England launches fresh campaign for Britain to give up its nuclear weapons
Hattie Williams Church Times The General Synod calls for ‘elimination’ of nuclear weapons
Ekklesia General Synod calls for renewed efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament

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General Synod – Saturday

Updated Sunday

Order paper for the day
Video of the day’s proceedings

The day began with a Presidential Address by the Archbishop of York.

The remainder of the morning was devoted to Safeguarding. After a presentation there was a debate on a motion which, after amendment (to add paragraphs (b) and (d)), read:

That this Synod, recognising that safeguarding is at the heart of Christian mission and the urgent need for the Church of England to continue to become a safer place for all and a refuge for those who suffer abuse in any context:
(a) endorse the priorities for action outlined in the report (GS 2092);
(b) endorse as an additional priority the support of safeguarding at parish level to create a safer church for all;
(c) call on the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council to ensure that the plan of action is implemented as a matter of priority; and
(d) call on the House of Bishops to introduce, as a matter of urgency, ways to improve relations between the Church and those survivors currently in dispute with the National Church Institutions including, where appropriate, by the use of mediation processes.

The motion was carried by 368 votes to none, with two recorded abstentions.

Official press release: Synod backs action on IICSA themes

Stephen Lynas writes about Saturday’s business: There’s a shadow hanging over me…

Press reports
Hattie Williams Church Times Synod hears from abuse survivors and pledges reform
Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England ombudsman to oversee sexual abuse cases
Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph Hostility and anger towards church on social media is stopping abuse survivors coming forward, vicar warns

Papers
GS 2092 Report by the National Safeguarding Steering Group
GS Misc 1188 Saturday Seminars

In the afternoon Synod members attended a series of private seminars.

Watch the live stream of General Synod here.

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General Synod – Friday

Updated Sunday

Stephen Lynas writes about Friday’s business: Football crazy, football mad

Video of the day’s proceedings

Official General Synod Twitter account

Order Paper for the day

Questions order paper

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Pre-Synod news and comment

Stephen Lynas (bathwellschap) previews the agenda: Off we went, to make a great big tent, on the weekend

David Walker ViaMedia.News Synod Goes Nuclear

Christian Aid Christian Aid calls for Church of England to divest from fossil fuel companies ahead of crunch Synod vote

Madeleine Davies Church Times Oxford amendment calls for National Investing Bodies to show sense of urgency on climate change

Anglican Communion News Service Britain’s Methodists debate Church of England full communion proposals

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General Synod Questions – and Answers

The questions to be asked at General Synod tomorrow evening have been published.

Questions Notice Paper

The notice paper contains the answers as well as the questions. The questions and answers will not be read out, but Synod members have the opportunity to ask supplementary questions.

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Time for General Synod to protest?

Ahead of the General Synod debate on Saturday  (see our earlier articles first here, and then here) Martin Sewell has written a detailed analysis of the current situation regarding safeguarding in the Church of England, which has been published at the Archbishop Cranmer blog:

It is time for General Synod to protest: victims of sexual abuse deserve better than ‘adequate’

Martin refers also to the Singleton report, whose publication we reported here, and then again over here. Martin incorporates into his article (scroll down some way) a further analysis of Singleton prepared by ‘Gilo’.

Although this is long, it is worth a very careful read.

As @His_Grace has tweeted

By giving no prior debate, so little time to digest the material, so little briefing material, and no alternative, the Bishops and senior ranks of the are treating their General colleagues and victims of abuse with some disdain”

I don’t often say this, but the below-the-line comments on that article are also worth reading.

 

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update to July General Synod – online papers

The second batch of General Synod papers have been released today. I have updated my list published last week.

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National Safeguarding Steering Group identifies priorities

This morning, GS 2092 Report by the National Safeguarding Steering Group has been published.

For the context, see our earlier article: Safeguarding debate at General Synod.

The Church Times has a report: National register proposed for clergy to ease safeguarding concerns.

Update: The Bishop of London has published a blog article: Safeguarding – independence V responsibility? This also appears at Christian Today.

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Questions about the Teaching Document

Colin Coward has published an article titled  Ten questions about the House of Bishops Teaching Document.

In this he refers to GS Misc 1158, published in June 2017,  Next Steps in Human Sexuality, which was the subject of a presentation at the 2017 July General Synod sessions in York.   A more up-to-date list of members of the various groups can be found here.

See our two articles from last year on GS Misc 1158

Our recent article about the presentations planned at York this year is here.

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General Synod agenda – press reports

Updated Friday afternoon

Madeleine Davies Church Times Canons most critical in response to cathedrals consultation

Harry Farley Christian Today Church of England sexuality debate off the cards until 2020
‘Michael Curry effect’: Church of England opens up congregations to black-majority pastors

Steve Doughty Daily Mail Church of England bishops will call on Theresa May to surrender Britain’s nuclear deterrent

Update

Madeleine Davies Church Times General Synod discussions to go nuclear in York

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Beyond Inclusion

OneBodyOneFaith published this on 5 June:

We’re delighted that this film, funded by our supporters and members and featuring John Bell and Nick Bundock, has now been completed and can be viewed on our YouTube channel. As you’ll probably recall, the film arose out of John hearing about Nick’s church’s response to Lizzie Lowe’s death, and the films are a conversation between the two of them, with ideas for reflection by church groups.

Please share the films and encourage others to do so too; we want them to reach the widest possible audience because we believe they have the potential to help people move on in their journey of understanding, and to make real change. If you need more resources for study and reflection, check out some of the books in our online shop – or get in touch and we can help you identify people to talk to, speakers and other sources of support, reflecting your particular context.

Today is Lizzie’s 18th birthday. Her parents Kevin and Hilary appear briefly in the film. Notwithstanding the remarkable transformation of their church following her death, would still give anything to have their daughter back. Please remember them, and Lizzie’s siblings and many friends, today.

Part one of the film is here.
Part two is here
. Do be sure to watch both parts.

And then consider this question: So – how’s the ‘radical Christian inclusion’ coming along then?

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Safeguarding debate at General Synod

On Saturday morning, 7 July, following Morning Worship and a Presidential Address by the Archbishop of York, the synod will consider the topic of Safeguarding. There will be a presentation, followed by questions, followed by a debate. However, the relevant document, GS 2092 will not be published until Friday 22 June but we do now know the wording of the motion that will be proposed. It is highly likely to attract numerous amendments.

SAFEGUARDING (GS 2092)

7 Presentation under SO 107.

Note: The Business Committee has determined under SO 107(3) that this presentation should include an opportunity for questions.

8 The Bishop of Bath and Wells to move:

That this Synod, recognising that safeguarding is at the heart of Christian mission and the urgent need for the Church of England to continue to become a safer place for all and a refuge for those who suffer abuse in any context:

(a) endorse the priorities for action outlined in the report (GS 2092); and

(b) call on the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council to ensure that the plan of action is implemented as a matter of priority.

GS Misc 1192 Summary of decisions by the House of Bishops and Delegated Committees, contains brief reports of various meetings that have considered Safeguarding. The relevant extracts are copied below the fold. I have changed the order of the meetings to put them in chronological order.

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General Synod and Sexuality on Saturday afternoon

The Business Committee report GS 2091 contains the following:

Arrangements for the Saturday afternoon

25. The Business Committee has agreed that on Saturday afternoon the Synod will not be in session. Instead, members will be invited to attend a choice of seminars intended to update members on various important areas of work and to encourage our participation in the development of them.

26. The seminars will cover the developing work of the House of Bishops Teaching Document on Human Sexuality, the Pastoral Advisory Group, Digital Evangelism, the Evangelism Task Group and the Environmental Working Group, as well as Children and Young People. Each seminar will be 1 hour long and will take place 3 times on a rotating basis in order to allow those members who wish to attend up to three different seminars. There will also be workshops available on a number of these topics. Full details of these opportunities are set out in GS Misc 1188. This conference style session will be introduced at the end of the Saturday morning session by the Chair of the BC and some of those leading the different workstreams.

27. After due consideration, the Business Committee has come to a mind that the various PMMs and DSMs relating to the matters which are intended to be addressed by the proposed House of Bishops Teaching Document on Human Sexuality will not be scheduled for debate until that document has been published. This decision was taken on the understanding that the work on the Teaching Document will be completed by 2020. In addition, there has been an understanding that from the inception of the project there will be regular opportunities for members of the General Synod to engage with that work, as it develops at each group of sessions. This process of engagement begins with the seminars arranged for the Saturday afternoon of the July group of sessions.

The details of the arrangements for the Saturday afternoon are contained in GS Misc 1198.

The programme for the afternoon comprises

  • four separate seminars and three workshops relating to the four strands of work contributing to the Episcopal Teaching Document on human identity, sexuality and marriage;
  • a seminar on the work of the Pastoral Advisory Group
  • a seminar on mission among children and young people;
  • a seminar on the Church’s environment programme
  • a seminar on digital evangelism; and
  • a seminar on the work of the Archbishops’ Evangelism Task Group

The nine seminars will each run three times during the afternoon, for an hour, at 2.30 pm, 4.15 pm and 6.00 pm.

The three workshops are described as follows:

…organised so that you can visit them at your own pace and in your own time throughout Saturday afternoon. Each workshop space will have information about aspects of the work of the Teaching Document and offer ways in which you can participate in shaping its work.

One or more members of the Co-ordinating Group for the Teaching Document will be available to respond to your questions and tell you more about the work of the group. These workshops are as much for the benefit of the Teaching Document as to inform you about the project..

There is a lot more detail in GS Misc 1188.

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General Synod papers published

The Church of England has issued the press release below about papers for next month’s meeting of General Synod.

See the previous article for my list of papers.

New links between Church of England and black-majority churches
14/06/2018

Church of England congregations will be able to share mission and ministry with a range of churches in their area more easily under plans due to receive final approval by the General Synod next month.

A long-anticipated overhaul of rules underpinning ecumenical relations is expected to open the way for parishes to take part in joint worship with more churches than previously possible.

For the first time this will include churches without a large national structure – something which will particularly affect newer independent evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic groups including many black-led churches.

The move – part of a drive to simplify ecclesiastical law – is among several significant legislative changes being considered at Synod which meets in York from July 6-10.

Dr Joe Aldred of Churches Together in England, who serves as an Ecumenical Representative for Pentecostals on General Synod and is a bishop in the Church of God of Prophecy, welcomed the change.

He said: “This is a great moment for relations between the Church of England and Pentecostal and Charismatic denominations and congregations, including many black-led churches, as we share the task of building the Kingdom of God in this country.

“In working together and worshipping together our churches have the potential to transform their neighbourhoods.

“The shape and style of the Church in England has changed considerably over the years and this legislation reflects the new reality on the ground.

“Through the work of the Pentecostal Presidency in Churches Together in England, I have seen just what is possible by strengthening relationships, engaging in prayer and mission together and I hope and pray this change in legislation will mean we can do even more together.”

In one of the most broad-ranging agendas in recent years, Synod will also discuss national and international issues from nuclear proliferation and responses to climate change to the future of the NHS.

There will be a major debate on the Church of England’s work on safeguarding and Synod will be asked to endorse the priorities for action outlined in the report (GS 2092) to be published with the second set of papers next week.

Synod will also have an opportunity for a detailed update on progress on the episcopal teaching document on human sexuality and marriage and to engage with those working on it through a series of seminars and workshops.

The document, due to be completed in 2020, will be entitled Living in Love and Faith: Christian teaching and learning about human sexuality and marriage.

Synod papers published today also include the final report of the Church of England’s Cathedrals Working Group which sets out new ideas to help secure the cathedrals for the future.

Further details on the Cathedrals Working Group report are set out in a separate press release.

Notes to editors

A full set of papers from the first circulation is available here. A second circulation will follow and will be available on Friday June 22.

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July General Synod – online papers

Update Links to almost all the papers are now (22 June) available and have been added below.
Update Remaining links added (5 July)
Update All papers are available to download via Dropbox

The first batch of papers for next month’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod are now available online. The remaining papers will be issued on 22 June and I will add links when these become available.

Papers in numerical order with a note of the day scheduled for their consideration are listed below the fold. Synod meets from Friday 6 to Tuesday 10 July 2018 in York.

Timetable
GS 2090 Agenda

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General Synod Agenda for July

The Business Committee of General Synod has today published the agenda for the July Group of Sessions in York.

The published information can be read here and is copied in full below the fold.

(more…)

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