Thinking Anglicans

February 2024 General Synod – Agenda and Papers

The Church of England’s General Synod will meet in London from Friday 23 to Tuesday 27 February. The agenda (GS 2332) and papers were released today. The report of the Business Committee (GS 2333) includes a guide to the group of sessions.

The papers can be downloaded as two zipped files, and there are links to individual papers below the fold.

Papers for Friday

Papers for Saturday

Papers for Sunday

Papers for Monday

Papers for Tuesday

GS Misc papers

Notice Papers

Deemed and contingency business

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Kate Keates
Kate Keates
24 days ago

Those 10 commitments (is that really intended to reference the 10 Commandments?) are awful. Supposedly homophobia will be called out but diocesan bishops will be allowed to refuse to licence gay priests. Those two are incompatible.

It doesn’t help that homophobia isn’t defined. Any definition needs to include systematic discrimination against LGBT Christians.

Adrian
Adrian
24 days ago

Safeguarding S.1 – I read this and say debacle, not debate. I wonder if this was my mistake in reading or their mistake in writing…

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
24 days ago

Interesting that the paper about removing the divorce impediment is concerned about the distress caused to heterosexual couples by intrusive questioning about their previous relationships. lgbtq+ clerics of course are used to prurient questions from DDOs, bishops, selectors and college principals. No quarter is given to us in these matters. We’re told that the archbishops have decided to kick this particular can down the road for the foreseeable future.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Fr Dean
23 days ago

Fr Dean – my paper is concerned with the pragmatics of what actually happens and the cases to which the Canon now applies. The issues you raise are certainly part of the LLF conversation (Mae Christie has a motion on aspects of this) but the questions to which you refer do not arise as a result of the Canon. The “pastoral guidance” under LLF is supposed to deal with this. Obviously there are very different views about what such guidance should contain. The pragmatic point is that currently one in every six ordinations require the personal intervention of an Archbishop… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Mark Bennet
23 days ago

Mark, Whilst I support the general thrust of your proposal, that fact that it has come to this particular synod emphasises the knots we are tying ourselves into when it comes to sexual ethics in the church. Canon B30 – of Holy Matrimony 1. The Church of England affirms, according to our Lord’s teaching, that marriage is in its nature a union permanent and lifelong, for better for worse, till death them do part, of one man with one woman, to the exclusion of all others on either side, It seems that for years the Archbishops have been able and willing… Read more »

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Mark Bennet
23 days ago

Thank you Mark for your reply. You will have gathered that I am sympathetic to those who have been through marital difficulties – I just wish that there was some parity in the treatment of straight people and lgbtq+ people. I doubt that the archbishops will be overly burdened by their involvement with divorcees. The spade work will be done by the DDOs, the relevant diocesan bishops and the archbishop’s staff. I expect that the conservatives will want detailed scrutiny to be maintained and the final decision to be made by an archbishop given Jesus’ explicit teaching on the remarriage… Read more »

Brenda
Brenda
23 days ago

Commitment 8 seems to me to leave clergy who are in a same sex marriage in a precarious position and at the whim of the presiding diocesan bishop. Having been granted a licence by one, any succeeding bishop could remove that licence, if I read Commitment 8 correctly. Whilst stipendiary clergy generally have more freedom to move diocese, the same would (probably) not be true for non-stipendiary and locally ordained clergy. Whilst provision for ordinands/candidates is mentioned, it says nothing for later career clergy. Am I reading this right?

trackback
22 days ago

[…] Synod will address biodiversity, safeguarding, racial justice and Prayers of Love and Faith; and Thinking Anglicans has helpfully produced a day-by-day summary.  Additionally, the “GS Misc” papers which […]

David Lamming
David Lamming
22 days ago

Whichever side of the issue anyone is on, at least Bishop Martyn Snow’s paper GS 2346 is honest in acknowledging openly for the first time the legal risks involved in the House of Bishops seeking to authorise the use of ‘stand alone’ services using PLF by various ‘routes’. It would have been better (and to her credit) if the Bishop of London had not obfuscated on this issue in November and had accepted the amendment proposed by Clive Scowen: see Report of Proceedings, November 2023, pages 227-235. Tom Woolford (whose resignation from Synod on his appointment as Interim Theology Adviser… Read more »

Charles Clapham
Reply to  David Lamming
21 days ago

Still wondering what legal distinction there is between commending the individual prayers for use in existing services under canon B5 (which has now been done), but not commending the stand alone services by the same canon. Surely if there is possible legal risk in doing the latter, the same risk would occur with the former, since they both may (allegedly) undermine the doctrine of marriage. Can anyone more knowledgeable about canon law enlighten me why the former is possible but not the latter? Or is there no legal distinction at all – meaning the decision to do one but not… Read more »

Last edited 21 days ago by Charles Clapham
Peter
Peter
21 days ago

I have not been able to find any evidence that the new theological adviser (Jessica Martin) to the HOB has any credentials as a theologian.

I assume there must be some basis for her selection. Does anybody know the details of her relevant academic credentials ?

Its a genuine question.

Last edited 21 days ago by Peter
Ezlxq
Ezlxq
Reply to  Peter
21 days ago

She was selected to deliver the Bampton Lectures in 2021 which requires a certain academic credibility. Her related book was well reviewed in the CT (paywall) https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2023/1-december/books-arts/book-reviews/book-review-the-eucharist-in-four-dimensions-the-meanings-of-communion-in-contemporary-culture-by-jessica-martin

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Ezlxq
21 days ago

Being selected to deliver a lecture is not an academic credential. Nor is having a book review.

Has she completed an academic programme (of which the most obvious would be a university degree) at a reputable institution of Higher Education within the general field of academic theology ?

Last edited 21 days ago by Peter
Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Peter
21 days ago

The Bampton lectures are arguably, along with the Gifford lectures in Scotland, the most prestigious theological lectures in the UK. To be invited to deliver them is – I would suggest – the theological equivalent of a blue ribband (https://canterburypress.hymnsam.co.uk/books/9781786224729/the-eucharist-in-four-dimensions). A glance at lists of prior Bampton lecturers will demonstrate just how prestigious they are, even if it has become very much harder for the University to find clerical lecturers of sufficient standing, and a good many recent lecturers have not been in orders because so few theologians of repute now get ordained. This recent work has been reviewed enthusiastically:… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Froghole
20 days ago

I am afraid I am not convinced that the arrangements to which you refer from the nineteenth century are an adequate response to my concern. Nor do I accept that the Bampton lectures constitute the credential you seem to infer. The bishops of the Church of England are asking Jessica Martin for theological advice. It is perfectly reasonable to be concerned that she has no discernible credentials in that field. On a point of detail. The heads of the Oxford Colleges select the person who is invited to give the Bampton lectures. The College Heads are not themselves necessarily scholars.… Read more »

peter kettle
peter kettle
Reply to  Peter
20 days ago

I don’t know what her subjects were, but Crockfords records a Cambridge BA in 1986 (Trinity Hall) and PhD in 1993.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  peter kettle
20 days ago

Her subject was English Literature. She is clearly a scholar in that field of the first rank.

To be clear, Jessica Martin is an eminent academic with decades of service to her students. She is to be respected and admired as a public scholar.

If she was asked to help the bishops, she could hardly refuse given the current crisis.

The fault is not hers and no negative inference is intended regarding her.

She is obviously an exceptional and gifted person.

She still not a theologian.

Last edited 20 days ago by Peter
Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  peter kettle
20 days ago

This from the University Church, Oxford website:

“The Revd Canon Dr Jessica Martin has been Residentiary Canon for Learning and Outreach at Ely Cathedral since 2016, following six years as priest-in-charge of a multi-parish benefice in South Cambridgeshire. Before that, she was Fellow in English at Trinity College, Cambridge, where her research focus was on early modern piety and the early history of literary biography.”

Dr Martin delivered the four Bampton Lectures in 2021; recordings of them are available on YouTube.

The Bampton Lectures were founded in 1780. The 2024 lectures are to be given by Archbishop Rowan Williams.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Peter
20 days ago

I hadn’t heard that a new appointment had been made. That was quick. Given the speed of the appointment, can we be certain that proper process was followed in making it? Or does process not matter if the appointee thinks the ‘right’ things?

Peter
Peter
20 days ago

If you want to make sense of the Church of England you need to know something about the Puritans and the Methodists. You should know about the eighteenth century Revivals. You probably need to be able to at least read Packer and Barth. Much else beside would also be good.

Scholarship in theology (yes, I know I have listed historical topics as well as naming two theologians) does matter.

Alice Goodman
Alice Goodman
Reply to  Peter
20 days ago

As a scholar of early modern literature (and Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge), Dr Martin is well acquainted with the Methodists and the Puritans. Her grandfather was a Revivalist preacher (and black cab driver); her father, The Revd Canon Professor David Martin (first a Methodist preacher and then ordained in the Church of England) is generally considered to be the father of the study of the sociology of religion in this country, a critic of the theory of secularisation, and the author of many studies of the spread of Pentecostalism. Her mother, Dr Bernice Martin, is also a distinguished sociologist… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Alice Goodman
20 days ago

I have been clear that I admire and respect the scholarship of Dr Martin in her field of study, though I fail to see how her family history has any relevance to the issue.

My concern is not in any sense personal to her and I agree with your inference that Dr Woodford exemplifies the same issue.

The problem is not the particularities of these two perfectly decent academics.

The problem is the Church of England has abandoned its confidence in theology as an intellectual discipline.

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  Peter
20 days ago

Many people have made this mistake but I am tired of silently correcting their comments. His name is Woolford.

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
19 days ago

The latter part of this thread is very tiresome and is, in my view, wholly subsidiary to the greater question, already raised elsewhere on TA, of why the HoB needs one or more theological advisers at all. Aren’t the bishops supposed to be advising us? I know that far too many bishops, in the Boddington era and subsequently, have been chosen on the basis of their supposed managerial skills rather than for their theological expertise but surely there must be one or more in their considerable number, or in the wider College, who could provide any necessary advice?

Tim P
Tim P
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
13 days ago

I think that’s very insightful… Why indeed should they need an advisor?
I think many would argue they do need one – but why they should have allowed themselves to get into such a situation is another matter.

On the other hand; maybe even if functioning “well” (whatever that means) the HoB could benefit from an assistant/advisor to put together some literature reviews or similar before they take decisions – -to save them time while they try and perform other functions. That might not be a problem.
But I suspect this role will be for much more than that.

Mandy Bowen
Mandy Bowen
6 days ago

Those called “randomly ” to speak in the LLF debate Monday afternoon ..(after a long day) seemed very one sided. Once the chair had reaslised that (as it was very obvious) couldn’t he have readdressed it and asked some to speak who were not speaking in favour… to get a better and more representative balance? The biased seemed passionate speeches pro llf and yet there is clearly a pretty equal number who do not hold that view. I felt it was very undemocratic.

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