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.
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 highlights injustices in pandemic response