Thinking Anglicans

General Synod – 23-27 February 2024

This post will be updated as the meeting proceeds.

The Church of England’s General Synod is meeting this weekend. The timetable is here, the agenda is here and the papers are here.

House of Laity meeting

In addition the House of Laity will meet on Sunday evening.

Live video etc

All sessions are streamed live on YouTube and remain available to view afterwards. Links have been provided in advance.

There is an official Twitter account.

Order papers

Business done

Official press releases

Press reports and comment

Church Times

The Guardian

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Fr Dean
Fr Dean
4 months ago

It does seem that the sound and fury at GS is increasing as the CofE’s influence wanes. Anyone looking on, assuming that they can be bothered, must be bemused by it all. I see that the Guardian has picked up that the Archbishop has conceded that more questions should have been asked about Mrs Vennells before her appointment to influential committees. One of his many blunders during his tenure at Canterbury.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Fr Dean
4 months ago

I won’t be following synod directly – the toing and froing of the arguments is too confusing for me to do so, but I am praying for the events, that people will listen to one another and to God’s spirit. We can play the blame game over past mistakes if we wish to – but will it either reflect glory on God or be productive in terms of discerning his will for us? Look to God, to the future and look outwards. There’s a world out there that needs his loving compassion – and they must see him through us.

Thomas G. Reilly
Thomas G. Reilly
Reply to  John Davies
4 months ago

Thank you, John. You said what is in my heart. We need to love and listen, to God and to each other. Gerry.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  John Davies
4 months ago

I admire your optimism John but at what point do we accept that the key protagonists are unable to change. The archbishops, their council and GS have failed the survivors of clerical abuse, lgbtqi+ people and also to arrest the dramatic decline in church membership. People and institutions make missteps and as Christians we ought to be generous and forgiving but I feel that all we see nowadays are missteps. As a gay man I have been bullied and belittled by bishops, colleagues and the institutional church. My prayers that things will improve have not been answered. I’ve reached the… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Fr Dean
4 months ago

I know, Father, this is what worries me too. Jesus asked, did he not, that when he returns, will he find faith on earth? Not being irreverent here; I’m a retired civil servant. I can see far too many parallels between my experiences of seeing one department or agency after another run down, hived off and closed by an untrusted senior management which was totally out of touch with reality and the present state of the CofE, as it is debated on here, for my peace of mind. Somebody said that any organism or organisation has an inbuilt limit to… Read more »

mike the rev
mike the rev
Reply to  Fr Dean
4 months ago

Fr Dean I entirely understand you. I had my ‘eureka’ moment over 2 years ago when I could no longer ‘unsee’ what I was seeing within a bullying, arrogant, uncaring and intransigent institutional church. Apparently it is still under the illusion that it has anything of the remotest interest to offer outsiders or to the nation in general whilst at the centre it carries on modelling Christian love like a bruising game of rugby football. Unless one hides or buries one’s sexuality one gets more or less emotionally crucified. It is not long before we discover that the present C… Read more »

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  mike the rev
4 months ago

Mike it’s hugely liberating when you realise you don’t have to be a punchbag anymore isn’t it. The silly conservative evangelicals and the traditional catholics haven’t noticed that they’re in the process of forming a circular firing squad.

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Fr Dean
4 months ago

Thank you Fr Dean. I am not a Gay man but I have experienced bullying and belittling too. Ironically it all started with a motion I drafted to oppose the compulsory celibacy of unmarried priests. I look at it in a simpler way (I am not a priest). I briefly looked at the synod and I saw two Archbishops and a General Secretary with so little love in their hearts and it’s the same in my local parish, so little love. But isn’t Christianity all about love ? Isn’t that meant to be the point ? My conclusion is that… Read more »

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  David Hawkins
4 months ago

David you’re absolutely right. Christianity is a difficult religion to be a follower of but it’s not difficult to understand. God loves us unconditionally and because we were too dim to see that he gave us the incarnation, the life death and resurrection of his son to reinforce the message. Evidently many Christians cannot cope with such abundance and want to parcel it out to those they judge to be more deserving. Jesus wept.

Barrie McKenzie
Barrie McKenzie
Reply to  Fr Dean
4 months ago

I think the death and resurrection of Christ was slightly more than just a reinforcement of a message. Atoning for sin, conquering death and opening the gates of eternal life played a not insignificant part!

Rowland P
Rowland P
Reply to  Fr Dean
4 months ago

Thx. When did synod vote for reduction in retirement benefits?

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Rowland P
4 months ago

If my memory serves me correctly it was about 12 years ago. Younger newly ordained clerics are getting a poor deal.

Barrie McKenzie
Barrie McKenzie
Reply to  John Davies
4 months ago

In other words, stop asking awkward questions or trying to hold us to account!

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Barrie McKenzie
4 months ago

Yes, Private Pike! But you only learn through asking questions……

T Pott
T Pott
4 months ago

Far too much courteous chit chat holding up questions. More could be got through if speakers stuck solely to the point.

Francis James
Francis James
4 months ago

You do not have to follow GS proceedings for long to realise why CofE clergy & lay people tend to be portrayed in films & TV as wishy-washy, and ineffectual. Even when dealing with the obviously emotive and important subject of safeguarding the required Q & A format reduces everything to mind-numbing dullness, and infinite delay. As an aside I am constantly amazed how many clergy use the excuse “Sorry, I am just not a people person” when anything goes wrong with their relations within the parish/diocese, and that they seem to regard this failing almost as a badge of… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
4 months ago

I read this article just this morning–Remembering the Humanity of Our Leaders by the Canadian Primate Archbishop Linda Nicholls I thought it may be of some indirect general interest to those of you thinking about your current meeting of the C of E General Synod. Link below the teaser. Quick read. ” We envision our ministries in a hierarchical way, with archbishops, bishops, priests and deacons “above” lay people. I would rather we envisioned ministry in circles of connection and accountability. God’s work is supported by the sacramental and pastoral leadership of clergy but is carried out by laity in… Read more »

David Keen
David Keen
4 months ago

Publishing the Jay report 2 days before the start of Synod, and then expecting Synod to debate and vote on it, was ridiculous. With the enormous amounts of other paperwork to wade through, there was never going to be the chance for people to properly engage with it. Whose idea was that?

Nic T
Nic T
Reply to  David Keen
4 months ago

The Jay report was written and released independently of the C of E and the General Synod, it’s publication date was entirely down to Professor Jay.

T Pott
T Pott
4 months ago

Press Release: General Synod backs code of conduct for parochial church councils. Except it didn’t. It requested research into the possibility of having such a code.

Mistake? Lie? Is it innately impossible for the Church to avoid false spin?

Realist
Realist
4 months ago

The Revd Robert Thompson gives an impassioned, wonderfully pastorally astute, speech calling for resignations and centring on the victims of the ISB fiasco. What does he get for his trouble? Insipid, lukewarm applause from Synod. Sighs and denouncement from ++Canterbury for allegedly ‘bashing’ those with no right to reply – i.e. Mr Nye – when Mr Nye has every right to speak at Synod, should he deign to ever do so in response to the many criticisms and complaints levelled at his work, and, of course, Mr Thompson had no right to reply to the Archbishop. Shame on those members… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Realist
4 months ago

It was a very shameful episode. But we’ve come to expect that.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Janet Fife
4 months ago

Sadly I’m afraid there will be no improvement to safeguarding within the Church of England all the time the bullying regime of xxWelby and chums remains in its position of power – or to the progression of Living in Love and Faith either.

Lottie E Allen
Reply to  Realist
4 months ago

Thank you. Well said. Fr Robert spoke with clarity, courage and integrity. This weekend General Synod has failed to take action on two counts where action clearly needs to be taken. Now. On implementation of the safeguarding recommendations and on a PCC Code of Conduct GS, the Archbishops Council, the House and College of Bishops and the Archbishops are facing a credibility crisis. We have a growing body of evidence that they are incapable of action when it is clear action needs to be taken. We have enough words. We need action. We need resignations. We need radical structural and… Read more »

Ex clergy
Ex clergy
4 months ago

I am so fed up with the Church of England that I have left it and find it difficult to retain any faith. None of this surprises me there are too many people who do not stand up for what is right and they are mainly serving their own interests.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Ex clergy
4 months ago

I have found it possible to support my faith by moving from the CofE to the URC, and working with other denominations that (like the early church) choose its bishops and leaders by election, and not have them imposed from above.

Fr Edwin Hunt
Fr Edwin Hunt
Reply to  Ex clergy
4 months ago

I left the C/E over twenty years ago, foreseeing the way it was headed. I was received into the Orthodox Church and found it was the best thing I had ever done – ancient Christianity in all its fulness.

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
4 months ago

Am I the only one to find this a more encouraging way forward – a different mood and a different feel to the combative and attritional way of doing synodical business which has been the past few months? I agree that delays are not acceptable with LLF, but there were some positive aspects of synod – not least the commitment to estates evangelism, the naming and shaming of the church’s part in slavery, racial injustice, C4 etc. Or am i naïve?

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
4 months ago

Estates evangelism is positive but as CofE apologies don’t seem to correlate with action, I am now sceptical of any apology which isn’t immediately back action.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Kate Keates
4 months ago

On the Canon C4 debate, which I led on Tuesday afternoon, we did not apologise, but we did act – it is possible, even for Synod. I did my best to use my time in the spotlight with my modest proposal to model how we might be/do better. It was not perfect, but I hope it sows a seed for doing other things better.

Nic T
Nic T
Reply to  Mark Bennet
4 months ago

Mark, your PMM has shown how a member of Synod can focus energy and thought on a specific issue and use the system to get things done. It isn’t easy, but well done on having the tenacity in doing it, and also to Andrew Atherstone and Jeremy Moody for engaging with you and helping to get the debate to a successful conclusion.

Nic T
Nic T
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
4 months ago

This was feeling like a more “normal” Synod, and the tone was better. We should remember that the November 2023 Synod was largely focussed on LLF, so was going to be imbalanced. But you’re right, the wider range of subjects being dealt with was important and gave Synod more to get its teeth into.

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