Thinking Anglicans

Faith and Sexuality Survey results published

The Ozanne Foundation has published the results of the 2018 National Faith & Sexuality Survey. There is this Press Release  which summarises the results:

SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS REPORTS OF SIGNIFICANT HARM EXPERIENCED BY LGBQ+ CHILDREN OF FAITH WHO ARE SUBJECT TO “CONVERSION THERAPY”

The 2018 National Faith & Sexuality Survey has revealed the high level of mental health issues reported amongst people who have attempted changing their sexual orientation, with many sharing they have attempted suicide or had suicidal thoughts. Over half said they first attempted to change whilst they were 18 or under with many stating they were influenced by their religious leader. 22 people said they had been forced to undergo sexual activity with someone of the opposite gender. These attempts were reported as being overwhelmingly unsuccessful, with the primary motivations given for attempting to change relating to either religious beliefs or internationalised homophobia.

The survey, the first of its kind in the UK, was designed to understand the impact of religious belief on people’s understanding and acceptance of their sexual orientation. It ran during December 2018 and attracted over 4600 responses, of which a tenth (458) stated they had personal experience of attempting to change their sexual orientation. Over half of these said they had experienced mental health issues, of whom nearly a third (91 people) said they had attempted suicide while over two-thirds (193 people) said they had had suicidal thoughts. Two in five of those who reported mental health issues indicated they had self- harmed and a quarter said they had suffered from eating disorders. Few said they had sought advice from the medical profession but instead nearly half said they had sought advice from their religious leader, who was identified as being significantly more likely than parents to be the person to advise or force attempts at sexual orientation change…

…The report is being presented at a lunchtime fringe meeting at the General Synod on February 21st 2019 ahead of the Church of England’s own presentation of its proposed “Pastoral Principles” for pastoral ministry among LGBTI+ people in the Church.

The full set of results can be downloaded here.

The survey questionnaire can be downloaded here.

The full Executive Report can be downloaded here.

Media coverage is being collated over here.

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General Synod – Wednesday

Updated late Thursday

News and comment from the opening day of the Church of England’s General Synod

OP1 – Order Paper I – lists the day’s business

Questions (and answers)

Stephen Lynas bathwellschap But when the weekend comes, she knows where we will be…
a summary of the day’s business

Archbishop of Canterbury‘s presidential address

Christian Today Archbishop of Canterbury pleads with Church factions to give up ‘cynicism’ as Synod gets underway

Archdruid Eileen Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley Turn to Your Neighbour and Scream

You can watch Watch General Synod live here.

Update

Zachary Guiliano The Living Church Synod Discusses Transgender Guidance

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Living in Love and Faith and the Pastoral Advisory Group present to synod

GS Misc 1200 is the document prepared for the synod session on Thursday afternoon, for which the Agenda item reads:

Not later than 5.30 p.m
LIVING IN LOVE AND FAITH AND PASTORAL ADVISORY GROUP (GS MISC 1200)
Presentation under SO 107.
Note: The Business Committee has determined under SO 107(3) that this presentation should include an opportunity for questions.

GS Misc 1200 starts thus:

This paper summarises developments regarding the Living in Love and Faith project and the work of the Pastoral Advisory Group. It includes an account of some of the key activities that the work has involved, the emerging shape of the groups’ next steps and how these relate to finding a way forward for the Church in matters relating to human identity, sexuality and marriage.

The paper introduces two key pieces of work, namely the ‘Living in Love and Faith Learning Outcomes’ and ‘Held Together in the Love of Christ: Pastoral Principles for Living Well Together’ produced by the Pastoral Advisory group. A series of fringe sessions are introduced that offer informal engagement with individuals who are members of LLF or PAG as well as members of General Synod…

The text of the Pastoral Principles start on page 8 of the document. A separate copy of them is available over here. TA readers are invited to read and comment on them.

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Pre-Synod News and Opinion

The Church of England’s General Synod meets in London this week from Wednesday to Saturday.

Stephen Lynas bathwellschap Ch – ch – ch – ch – ch – changes
Stephen’s usual excellent introduction to this week’s business

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Hey ho, hey ho & it’s off to synod we go

Steven Croft Bishop of Oxford Rethinking Evangelism
an (unauthorised) background paper for the General Synod.

David Pocklington Law & Religion UK Measuring the Footprint, Delivering the ambition?
“The continued debate on the London/Truro Diocesan Synod Motion”

Church Times leader Mission creeps

There are  links to the Synod agenda and papers here.

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Church abuse survivors update General Synod booklet

Updated Wednesday morning

Press Release
Monday 18th February 2019 1000
GENERAL SYNOD FORCED TO FACE CHURCH ABUSE CRISIS
Victims of abuse address the church through hard-hitting booklet

The General Synod of the Church of England, meeting this week in Westminster, has once again been forced to face up to the crisis of abuse by clergy and other church officers. In spite of featuring prominently in the ongoing Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), the church had decided not to formally discuss the crisis during its four-day meeting. But victims and survivors of church abuse have forced the issue back onto the church’s agenda through a hard-hitting pamphlet. The booklet We Asked for Bread but you gave us Stones updates a previous booklet, which shocked many synod members twelve months ago. Victims of abuse, whose comments about the church caused widespread dismay this time last year, were asked to describe how the church has treated them since then.

The message of the booklet is that for all the talk, the Church of England is no further forward in addressing the needs of victims. “I have been more of less abandoned'” says one. Another complains that “Nobody has taken charge. We remain adrift.” The Archbishop of Canterbury has described the church’s treatment of complainants as “a deeply evil act.” And yet Andrew Graystone, who collated the new booklet, says that the church has persisted in its “lawyer-led, money-driven approach to survivors of abuse.” He pleads for the church to treat its victims as “wounded friends” and to “start by asking what you might do to help them rebuild their lives.”

All members of the General Synod will receive a copy of the new booklet when they arrive for the meeting on Wednesday.

A copy of the new edition of We Asked for Bread but you gave us Stones is available for download here: Stones not Bread Revisited.

Update 

All Synod members will today receive as well a copy of this Credit card sized reminder of what they personally can do to prevent abuse.

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General Synod Questions

The Church of England’s General Synod will hold its Questions session on Wednesday this week, starting not later than 17:45. The questions (and their answers) have been published this morning. These questions and answers will not be read out on Wednesday, and the session will be devoted to supplementary questions and answers.

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Briefing paper on the House of Bishops transgender pastoral guidance

The General Synod Human Sexuality Group has issued a briefing paper for synod members, which has been produced by Christina Beardsley & Susan Gilchrist.

Inclusive Cburch has published it here: A briefing paper on the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance on using the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith with transgender people.

Another copy is available in PDF format here.

And there is an associated reading list.

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February General Synod – papers and press release

Updated Friday evening to add press report

The second batch of papers for this month’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod have been released. I have updated my list of these papers here. There is also a press release about some of the items on the agenda which I have copied below.

Press report

There was a press briefing on the agenda this morning. Madeleine Davies writes about it for Church TimesEvangelism and estates to occupy General Synod at February meeting.

Press release

Evangelism at heart of General Synod agenda

The need to mobilise the whole Church of England to reach out to others with the Christian message is set to dominate discussions at next month’s General Synod in London.

Papers published today set out how “small behavioural changes” by the around one million people who regularly attend Church of England churches could make a “huge difference”.

(more…)

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General Synod to debate call for reconciliation for divided nation

The agenda for next month’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod (released yesterday) includes an addition to the original timetable, this motion from the two archbishops:

That this Synod, knowing through the experiences of parishes across the country that social divisions feel more entrenched and intractable than for many years, and concerned at the divisions within the major political parties which are stifling the emergence of a hopeful and viable vision for the common good in our communities:
(a) call upon every diocese and parish regularly to hold in prayer their local MPs and politicians and the members of Her Majesty’s Government and civil servants, seeking God’s strength and wisdom for the responsibilities they bear;
(b) reaffirm the Christian commitment to putting the voices of the poor and marginalised at the heart of the nation’s concerns; and
(c) call upon the nation’s leaders, drawing on Christian hope and reconciliation, to work together for that common good at this time of division.

The debate will be held on the afternoon of Saturday 23 February, the closing day of the Synod meeting.

There is this official press release:

General Synod to debate call for reconciliation for divided nation
25/01/2019

The UK’s political leaders should draw on “Christian hope and reconciliation” to help steer the country through a time of seemingly “entrenched and intractable” divisions, according to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

The call comes in the text of a special motion on the state of the nation, tabled by the two archbishops, to be debated by the Church of England’s General Synod, which meets in London next month.

It speaks of divisions within the major political parties and calls for every parish and diocese to pray regularly for their local MPs, other politicians, the Government and civil servants.

The timetable for February’s meeting of Synod had been amended to make time for the special debate.

An updated timetable and full agenda are published today alongside the first set of papers.

A further batch of papers for Synod will be published next Friday (February 1, 2019).

Synod meets at Church House Westminster from Wednesday February 20 to Saturday February 23.

Press reports

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian C of E leaders rebuke politicians for ‘stifling’ Brexit reconciliation

Adam Becket Church Times Synod to debate the country’s ‘entrenched and intractable social divisions’

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February General Synod – online papers

Update (1 February) Links to the second batch of papers have been added
Update (19 February) Link to Questions notice paper added
Update (20, 24 February) more notice papers etc added

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 1 February 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 Wednesday 20 to Saturday 23 February in London.

The Agenda is here and the Report by the Business Committee (Guide to the February 2019 group of sessions) is here.

(more…)

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General Synod Timetable for February

Update An amended timetable was issued on 25 January 2019.

The Business Committee of General Synod has today published the timetable for the February 2019 Group of Sessions in London. The timetable can be downloaded here and an abbreviated version can be found below the fold.

(more…)

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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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