Thinking Anglicans

July General Synod to take place online

Next month’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod will now be held remotely via Zoom. This has necessitated some changes to the timetable; the amended version is online and is copied below the fold.

The following press release explains the change.

July Synod to take place online
17/06/2021

The annual July meeting of the Church of England General Synod, due to take place in London, will now be held online following the Government decision to delay the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions for a month.

Synod’s Business Committee examined alternatives including a hybrid meeting or reduced attendance to comply with restrictions but has reluctantly concluded that the only viable option is to hold the group of sessions from July 9 to 12 remotely.

As a result, the timetable for the event has been slimmed down slightly, with some items better suited to a face-to-face meeting postponed and some extra screen breaks introduced.

In a letter to Synod members, the Clerk to the Synod Dr Jacqui Philips, said: “The Committee gave careful consideration to all options, including an in-person meeting, a hybrid meeting and a remote meeting.

“The Committee took legal advice regarding the ongoing restrictions and considered the health and safety options for a physical, socially-distanced meeting in Church House Westminster.

“Having done so, the Committee very reluctantly concluded that the only safe and deliverable option for next month is for Synod to meet on a remote basis.”

  • Papers for Synod will be published on Thursday June 24 on the Synod section of the Church of England website.
  • The revised timetable is now available.

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General Synod elections 2021

The Church of England has published a series of documents about the conduct of the elections to General Synod that will take place this summer, starting very shortly after the close of the July group of sessions. Although much of this is aimed at those conducting the elections, the documents will be of wider interest.

Not included in these documents are the numbers of proctors (clergy) and laity to be elected by dioceses, but they can be found in GS 2203.

There is also some information aimed at those considering standing for election.

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General Synod – July 2021

Updated 17 June 2021 – This Synod meeting will now be held online. Details and a revised timetable are in my post here.

The timetable for July’s meeting of the Church of England General Synod in London was published today, and is copied below.

Synod members have been sent a copy of the timetable with the following attached note.

Please see attached an outline Synod timetable for July 2021, which has been agreed by the Business Committee for a physical meeting of the General Synod in Church House, Westminster in the expectation that no legal restrictions would in place at the time (in line with the anticipated Government Covid-19 plans as per COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021 (Summary) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)). The Committee has further decided that a hybrid session of Synod will not be practically possible in July though is open to the possibility in the future (should resources be in place to enable it).

GENERAL SYNOD: JULY 2021 OUTLINE TIMETABLE

Friday 9 July

12.30 pm – 7.15 pm
12.30 pm Opening worship
Introduction and welcomes
Presidential Address
Business Committee Report
Racial Justice Commission – presentation
Implementing the Recommendations of “Responsible Representation” (GS 2202)
Climate Change presentation
Appointment of Body to oversee next stage of Anglican-Methodist Covenant
*6.00 pm Question Time
7.15 pm Close of Business

Saturday 10 July

9.00 am – 12.45 pm
9.00 am Opening worship and Bible Study
Joint Presentation by the Archbishops’ Council and the Church Commissioners on their Annual Reports
2022 Archbishops’ Council Budget and Apportionment
Leeds DSM: Wealth Gap

2.00 pm – 5.20 pm
2.00 pm 57th Standing Orders Committee Report (synodical processes for legislative business etc.)
Bereavement and Funerals during the Pandemic – Presentation
4.00 pm (approx.) Adjournment
*5.00 pm Living in Love and Faith: Passing the baton presentation

Informal items not forming part of the Agenda
4.00 pm – 5.00 pm Discussion panel – Clergy Discipline and the Nature of Ordained Public Ministry
5.30 pm – 7.00 pm Living in Love and Faith Group work, including closing worship

Sunday 11 July

2.00 pm – 7.15 pm
2.00 pm Opening worship
Special Agenda I: Draft Legislative Reform (Church Commissioners) Order
Safeguarding report
Appointments:
• Chair of AC Finance Committee
• AC’s Auditors
Mutuality in Finance
Responding to the Housing Crisis: What is the role of the Church?
7.15 pm Close of Business

Monday 12 July

9.00 am – 1.00 pm
9.00 am Opening worship
Special Agenda I: Draft Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) (Amendment) Regulations 2021
Special Agenda I: Church Representation Rules (Amendment) Resolution 2021
Vision and Strategy
Transforming Effectiveness

2.00 pm – 7.15 pm
2.00 pm Report from the Implementation and Dialogue Group
PMM: The Five Guiding Principles
The Nature of Ordained Public Ministry – presentation
Proposals for legislation to replace the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003
Special Agenda I: Approval of form of electronic service register under Canon F 12
Special Agenda I: Diocesan Boards of Education Measure 2021 (consequential amendment to regulations under Canon B12) Regulations
7.15 pm Close of Business

Tuesday 13 July

9.00 am – 12.30 pm
9.00 am Opening Worship
Report of the Review of Clergy Remuneration
A review of the Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011
Amendments to Standing Orders for elections to CNC

1.45 pm – 4.15 pm
1.45 pm Special Agenda I: Vacancy in See Committees (Amendment) Regulation 2021
Farewells
*3.15pm Service of Holy Communion
*4.15pm Prorogation and Dissolution

Deemed Business:
Church of England Funded Pension Scheme Rules 2021,
Legal Officers (Annual Fees) Order 2021,
Ecclesiastical Judges, Legal Officers and Others (Fees) Order 2021,
and some amendments to the Standing Orders

* not later than

Deadline for receipt of questions: 1200 hrs Tuesday 29 June

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Sheldon steps down from campaign to replace CDM

Updated Wednesday 26 May

From the Sheldon Hub

News 25th May 2021:

Major research paper published
and Sheldon steps down from campaign to replace CDM

‘I was handed over to the dogs’: lived experience, clerical trauma and the handling of complaints against clergy in the Church of England

A devastating systematic analysis of data from the Sheldon/Aston research survey. This paper explores the deeply troubling territory around the edges of the CDM. The painful testimonies are a hard read but these are voices that need your ears. Anyone in ministry can get caught up in this, often through no fault of their own.

We hope it will impassion you to become part of an unstoppable movement for constructive change.

That movement for change will no longer involve Sheldon’s leadership.
We are stepping back now. We have given it heart and soul for several years and much has been achieved. Now we are in danger of over-stretching ‘real world’ Sheldon. Sheldon has generously funded this project in direct cash (£35,000), but in many ways the time and emotional energy has been much more costly. We don’t put a monetary value on our time, but time spent on ProjectCDM is time not spent with people in need or on other necessary projects. We have attended many meetings, written papers, collaborated with researchers, contributed to consultations by others and built networks. There has probably been some vicarious trauma in the mix. Bringing to light such deep-rooted pain has generated significant additional correspondence and pastoral need from those directly harmed by the CDM.

The church can look away but can no longer say it didn’t know. A complaint against a caring professional in a public role should be treated as a pastoral emergency. Clergy urgently need a system for handling complaints and allegations of misconduct against them that is swift, proportionate, easy to understand, presumes innocence unless or until found guilty, and is applied without fear or favour. It needs to be rooted in gathering of robust factual evidence and prioritise restoring relationships wherever possible. The administration of the process must itself be properly accountable. Reputations of institutions matter, but those of individuals are far more vulnerable in this context. A year after the bishops agreed that CDM should be replaced we have no evidence that the NCIs have a handle on any of this. This press release was published on 17th May but we have no idea whether the proposals considered relate to the heavily criticised Lambeth proposals of December 2020 or have already pivoted towards the ELS model. The lack of transparency is itself deeply problematic.

Sheldon, along with CECA, is therefore now recommending that the ELS proposals are urgently taken forward into legislation.

Do read the whole text of the Sheldon announcement here.

Updates

The Church Times has two items:

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General Synod: July meeting to take place in London

Church of England press release

General Synod: July meeting to take place in London
10/05/2021

The University of York, which hosts the annual July group of sessions of the General Synod, has taken the decision to cancel all events on its campus this summer as a result of the impact of the coronavirus.

Arrangements are therefore being made for the Synod scheduled for July 9 – 13 to take place at Church House, London, during the same dates.

It will be the first full in-person Synod for 18 months. Although it is expected that the final stages of the Government’s ‘reopening’ roadmap will have been passed by that time, Synod staff will ensure that all necessary health and safety arrangements are in place for everyone attending.

A timetable for the group of sessions will be finalised by the Business Committee later this month and the full agenda and papers will be published on the Synod App and the Synod web page on Friday June 25.

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General Synod – Day 2

Updated Sunday and Tuesday and 8 May

Today’s session started at 9.30 pm and a live video stream is available here.

Order Paper II – the morning’s business

Order Paper III – the afternoon’s business

Andrew Nunn writes about some of the business: Responsible representation.

Church Times Synod feels its way carefully towards greater diversity

Stephen Lynas summarises the day’s business: So sad to watch good love go bad.

Church of England press releases: Bishop tells General Synod to speak out against persecution of religious believers and atheists
Unanimous Synod support for new safeguarding code

Business Done – the official summary of both days’ business.

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General Synod – Day 1

Updated Friday, Saturday, Sunday

The Church of England’s General Synod meets today (23 April) and tomorrow. The agenda and papers are here.

Today’s session starts at 12.30 pm and a live video stream will be available here.

Order Paper 1 – the day’s business

There are two previews of the business by Synod members.

Stephen Lynas I will be alone again…
Andrew Nunn The sun rises

Reports on the day’s business

Archbishop of York’s Presidential Address to General Synod
Andrew Nunn A moving beginning
The Guardian Archbishop of York commits C of E to racial justice after ‘sobering’ week
Episcopal News Service Bishop tells Church of England’s General Synod to speak out against persecution of religious believers and atheists
Church Times Archbishop of York: How I was saved by Grace
Church Times Action, not words, needed to protect freedom of religion or belief

Stephen Lynas summarises the day’s business: See my friends.
There is also a brief review from Andrew Nunn: Under pressure.

Business Done 23 April 2021 – the official summary of the day’s business.

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General Synod Questions

Updated

The questions, and answers, for this week’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod are now available here. Supplementary questions will be taken on Friday at 6.00 pm.

An extra item has been added to the agenda regarding the late Duke of Edinburgh, and this has resulted in changes to the timings of other items. The latest timetable is here.

Update

The timetable has been revised again to add a presidential address. This version is here.

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April General Synod – online papers

The Papers for this month’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod are now available online.

Papers with a note of the day scheduled for their consideration are listed below the fold. Synod meets virtually on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 April. They can be downloaded as two zip files.

GS papers .zip folder
GS Misc papers .zip folder

The Agenda is here and the Report by the Business Committee (Guide to the April 2021 group of sessions) is here.

Timetable

Synod members reading this might like to note that the deadline for the submission of questions is 12 noon on Tuesday 13 April 2021.

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General Synod – April 2021

The draft timetable for April’s virtual meeting of the Church of England General Synod was published today, and is copied below.

GENERAL SYNOD: APRIL 2021
DRAFT TIMETABLE

Friday 23 April
12.30 pm – 7.00 pm
12.30 pm – 12.45 pm Opening worship
Introductions and welcomes
12.45 pm – 1.15 pm Business Committee Report
Legislative Business – Special Agenda I
1.15 pm – 2.45 pm Draft Safeguarding (Code of Practice) Measure – Revision Stage
2.45 pm – 3.05 pm Adjournment/screen break
3.05 pm – 4.05 pm International Religious Freedom
4.05 pm – 4.45 pm Report of the Standing Orders Committee
4.45 pm – 5.00 pm Adjournment/screen break
Legislative Business – Special Agenda I
5.00 pm – 5.45 pm Draft Legislative Reform (Church of England Pensions) Order
*5.45 pm – 7.00 pm Question Time

Saturday 24 April
9.15 am – 12.30 pm
9.15 am – 9.30 am Opening worship
Legislative Business – Special Agenda I
9.30 am – 10.30 am Clergy Discipline (Amendment) Rules 2021
10.30 am – 10.55 am Appointment of the Chair of the Pensions Board
Appointment of the Chair of the Dioceses Commission
10.55 am – 11.15am Adjournment/screen break
Legislative Business – Special Agenda I
11.15 am – 12.30 pm Draft Safeguarding (Code of Practice) Measure – Final Drafting and Final Approval

1.30 pm – 5.00 pm
1.30 pm – 2.45 pm Responsible Representation: Crown Nominations Commission Elections Review Group Report
2.45 pm – 3.00 pm General Synod elections 2020: allocation of seats Amendment Resolution
3.00 pm – 3.20 pm Adjournment/screen break
3.20 pm – 4.05 pm Safeguarding
4.05 pm – 4.30 pm Farewells
4.30pm – 5.00pm Deemed business
*5.00 pm Prorogation

Deemed Business:
Code of Practice under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003
Payments to the Churches Conservation Trust Order 2020
some of the proposed amendments of the Standing Orders

* not later than
Please note that all timings are indicative unless marked with an asterisk
Deadline for receipt of questions: 1200 hrs Tuesday 13 April

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Chair of the Business Committee

Robert Hammond has been elected as chair of the General Synod Business Committee. The count was on Friday last week and the voting figures are available here.

8 Comments

General Synod Reports

Updated Monday evening

Church Times
Archbishops’ message: Don’t be unkind to the Church or each other
Church’s vision is for more front-line ministry, not less, Archbishop of York tells Synod members
Synod members hear significant changes planned for church safeguarding
This is the right moment to act, housing commissioners tell Synod

Press release from the Church of England
Report on housing crisis ‘challenge to the soul’ of the Church of England – Archbishop of Canterbury

Archbishop of York General Synod Address on progress of Vision and Strategy – February 2021

Update

Stephen Lynas bathwellschap I can’t see nobody…

There is a recording of the whole day’s session on YouTube here.

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General Synod questions

Updated Saturday morning

The February 2021 General Synod Questions (and answers) have been published. These are written answers only as there will be no opportunity for supplementary questions at the informal meeting of Synod on Saturday.

The papers for the meeting are online here; they include these.

Programme
Why the Church should care about housing
Independence in Safeguarding – with a Cover Note for Synod members, February 2021

We have published articles about the second and third of these here and here.

Update

Church Times Synod Q&A: safeguarding, CDM, and the Church’s future

Stephen Lynas previews today’s meeting on his bathwellschap blog: We don’t talk any more.

You can watch General Synod live here.

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Proposals on NST independent oversight published

See previous report from 15 December.

CofE press release today:

The Archbishops’ Council has approved the next steps in independent oversight of the National Safeguarding Team (NST), with the first phase to be implemented by the summer. The paper by Revd Dr Malcolm Brown on the proposed interim arrangements is to be presented to General Synod members on Saturday. The proposals for this new structure were presented to an informal meeting of the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council this week, with Council members then approving the paper. During the meeting members noted the importance of being able to review the structure after a set period and further detail needed on Phase 2 once the Board was in place. Dr Brown noted his thanks to MACSAS (Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors) and members of the Survivors’ Reference Group who acted as consultants. Together, they formed a Focus Group and considered an early draft of the proposals and their report offered numerous comments and suggestions, with as many as possible incorporated into this paper.
The Archbishops’ Council originally voted on independent oversight in December.

The paper containing the proposals as issued to General Synod is a page longer than the version linked above.
Here is a link to the copy that includes the cover page (total page count 20).

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Informal Meeting of General Synod members – 27 February 2021

As we published earlier the February meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod has been postponed to April, but there will be an informal meeting on Saturday 27 February. The timetable for this has been published today, and is copied below.

There will be no question time in February, but the Business Committee has agreed that members can submit questions for written answers only not later than 12 noon on Tuesday 16 February. Supplementary questions will not be taken at this informal meeting. The questions booklet will be circulated on Thursday 25 February.

INFORMAL MEETING OF SYNOD MEMBERS SATURDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2021

10.30am Opening Worship
10.40am Introduction by the Chair of the Business Committee
10.50am Reflections from the Presidents

11.35am BREAK

12.00pm Worship
12.10pm Vision and Strategy
12.50pm Story of hope and salvation
1.00pm Voting Test

1.10pm LUNCH

2.00pm Story of hope and salvation
2.10pm Safeguarding update, including screen break
3.15pm Story of hope and salvation
3.25pm Archbishops’ Commission on Housing

4.10pm BREAK

4.30pm Story of hope and salvation
4.50pm Worship
5.00pm Close of meeting

5 Comments

February General Synod postponed

The meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod planned for the end of February has been postponed, although there will be an informal online meeting on 27 February. Details are in today’s press release.

Synod to discuss challenges facing the Church and world amid coronavirus lockdown
20/01/2021

General Synod is to hold a special online meeting next month examining challenges facing the Church and world in light of the coronavirus pandemic followed by a formal session in the spring, as a result of the current lockdown restrictions.

Members will discuss questions including the future shape of the Church in the wake of Covid-19, independent oversight of safeguarding and proposals by a Commission of the Church of England towards addressing the Housing Crisis at a meeting held entirely remotely on February 27.

Legislation and other business which can only be addressed in a formal session will be discussed slightly later – expected to be from April 23 to April 24. The two meetings will replace the planned group of sessions which would have taken place from February 26 to March 1.

The decision was taken by the officers of Synod – the Archbishops, Prolocutors of Canterbury and York of the House of Clergy, and the Chair and Vice-Chair of the House of Laity with the support of the Chair of the General Synod Business Committee.

It was taken in order to follow the Government’s call for people to stay at home to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The Officers of General Synod agreed that Synod chairs and the staff needed to manage formal proceedings should not be required to travel or gather together at the moment.

The decision to hold an extra meeting means Synod will be able to discuss vital questions facing the church and society in February and still address legislative business in the spring, without having to delay discussions to the July group of sessions.

Synod will also have an opportunity to engage in detail with the recently published Living in Love and Faith resources on human identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage later in the year.

The Revd Canon Simon Butler, Prolocutor of Canterbury, said: “Clearly the Covid-19 situation needs to improve before we can ask staff and chairs of Synod to gather together or travel anywhere safely.

“What matters most is that we do the essential business we need to in the coming months and we all can hope that this will be much safer after Easter.”

Canon Dr Jamie Harrison, Chair of the House of Laity, said: “Deciding to change the focus of what we can achieve through a virtual Synod has not been easy.

“However, as a medical doctor, I am acutely aware of the need to keep us all safe, not least when I think about our excellent Synod staff and chairs.”

The Revd Canon Sue Booys, Chair of the General Synod Business Committee, said: “The February meeting will be focusing on looking ahead to the aftermath of the pandemic and how the Church can help our communities recover.

“I look forward to a formal session at the end of April when we can address some key remaining legislative business prior to July.”

17 Comments

General Synod February/March 2021

The Church of England General Synod next meets from Friday 26 February to Monday 1 March 2021. The draft timetable for the meeting was published today, and is copied below the fold.

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General Synod – day 3

The Church of England’s General Synod meets virtually from 1300 on Monday until 1530 today. The papers are available here.

Video recording of the day’s proceedings

Order paper 4 – details of the morning’s business

Order paper 5 – details of the afternoon’s business

The main item of business in the morning was a presentation and debate on Safeguarding (GS 2184). There is an official press release reporting on this: Unanimous Synod support for IICSA report.

This was followed by final approval of a new Diocesan Boards of Education Mesure: Diocesan Boards of Education Measure approved by General Synod.

Reports from members and the press

Stephen Lynas Who’s sorry now?

Andrew Nunn ‘Wearing thin’

Church Times Synod votes unanimously to accept IICSA recommendations

2 Comments

House of Bishops – Monday 23 November 2020

The House of Bishops met yesterdday evening and issued this press release. There is a misprint as the Regulations are actually GS 2191. There are also some explanatory notes (GS 2191X).

House of Bishops – Monday 23rd November 2020 via Zoom
24/11/2020

The House of Bishops met on the evening of Monday 23rd November, in the margins of Synod, and approved the Religious Communities Regulations 2020 as set out in (GS 2192) (“the Regulations”).

The Religious Communities Regulations set out the conditions a community must meet in order to be declared, under Canon DA 1, to be a religious community in the Church of England. These conditions include the requirement that all religious communities of the Church of England must comply with all House of Bishops Safeguarding policies and practice guidance.

This legislation follows on from a resolution at General Synod in February 2018. The resolution called on the Business Committee to provide a framework for religious life in the Church of England noting the historic importance of religious communities in the life of the faithful and celebrating the many new expressions of the religious life through Recognised and Acknowledged Communities.

Once approved by the House, the Regulations will be subject to approval by the General Synod.

The House then briefly received updates from the various works streams operating under the auspices of the Emerging Church Groups, with a forward look to the House of Bishops meeting in December, where they will be discussed in greater detail.

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General Synod – day 1

Update – the voting figures below were corrected on Wednesday morning; there is an explanation in this order paper.

The Church of England’s General Synod meets virtually from 1300 today until 1530 on Wednesday. The papers are available here.

Video recording of the day’s proceedings

Stephen Lynas previews the business in some detail: I only had a picture of you. So too does Andrew Nunn but only briefly: Here we go again!

Order paper 1 – details of the afternoon’s business

The Archbishops gave a joint presentation to Synod, summarised in this press release: We must change to become a ‘simpler, humbler, bolder Church’ – Archbishops tell Synod. There are links to their full remarks here and here.

There was a debate on the response to the covid-19 pandemic (GS 2192) at the end of which this motion

That this Synod, recognising the profound challenge to life and wellbeing posed by the Covid-19 pandemic:
(a) call upon the whole church to hold in prayer all those ill, bereaved, unemployed or suffering mentally as a result of the virus, to pray for Her Majesty’s Government and all who hold responsibility for navigating the intractable dilemmas that Covid-19 poses;
(b) give thanks for the continuing selfless service of NHS and social care staff, scientists, and key workers in every sector, encouraging all to follow their example by affirming the common good over sectional interests;
(c) request the church’s representatives, in conversations with Her Majesty’s Government, to press the case for reducing social inequalities, especially the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME people, children living in poverty, disabled people, elderly people and those living with chronic health conditions, and to reflect concerns expressed by Synod in debate on this motion;
(d) express concern that the God given image, dignity and value of disabled and/or elderly people, including all those in residential care homes, are diminished when they are denied access to the same level of health care as the rest of the population;
(e) call on Her Majesty’s Government to preserve the United Kingdom’s foreign aid budget at 0.7% of GDP, sending a strong signal that the United Kingdom is a reliable partner for long-term economic, social, environmental and educational advancement across the globe;
(f) celebrate the role of churches in building mental and spiritual resilience to face the crisis and, affirming the role of worship and the sacraments as the source of Christian service and discipleship, call upon Her Majesty’s Government immediately to review the decision to curtail public worship during lockdown.

was passed by 349 votes to 5 with 9 recorded abstentions.

There was then the usual debate on the Report of the Business Committee (GS 2179). There was a counted vote on the motion to take note of this report with 179 votes in favour, 56 against and 24 recorded abstentions. The significant vote against might be explained by this speech from Jayne Ozanne.

The day’s business concluded with Questions.

Reports from members and the press

Stephen Lynas Can’t take my eyes off you

Andrew Nunn Crystal Maze

Church Times Synod: Archbishops defend LLF and warn of post-pandemic changes

Church Times Synod highlights injustices in pandemic response

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