Thinking Anglicans

General Synod – Day 2 – Tuesday

The morning’s business is in Order Paper Two.
The afternoon’s business is in Order Paper Three.

Synod papers are online here.

As usual, Stephen Lynas is providing his excellent summaries of each day’s business.

Much of the morning was spent on the Draft Cathedrals Measure. This had been revised by a revision committee and it was now Synod’s turn to accept or revise it. The proposed amendments are in order paper two. All were accepted by Synod except for 510 and 516. The Measure now goes to committee for final drafting before coming back to Synod for final approval at a later group of sessions.

The other item of business before lunch was deanery synod term limits. The recent complete rewriting of the Church Representation Rules (the “Rules”) included a provision to limit lay members of deanery synods to two consecutive terms of three years (although APCMs could vote not to apply this). There was opposition to this at the time but by the time people realised the significance of the change it was too late to do anything about it. However the Business Committee had undertaken a consultation and proposed to introduce a change to the Rules so that the default position would be no term limit, although APCMs would be allowed to make a limit. Today’s debate was to see if there was sufficient support in Synod to make it worthwhile starting the process of amending the Rules. Because this requires a two-thirds majority in each house of Synod, today’s vote was by houses with this result:

Bishops for 14, against 6
Clergy for 66, against 31
Laity for 128, against 14

There were recorded abstentions of 1, 3, 2 respectively.

Today a simple majority in each house was sufficient, so the motion asking the Business Committee to introduce the necessary resolution at the July 2020 group of sessions was passed. However it should be noted that whilst the laity today were overwhelmingly in favour, the bishops and clergy only just reached the two-thirds majority that will be needed in July.

The afternoon started with a presentation on Living in Love and Faith the Pastoral Advisory Group – see the Church Times story linked below for details.

Later there was a private members’ motion on Windrush Commitment and Legacy. After some amendments the motion before Synod was

That this Synod, commemorating in 2018 the martyrdom of the Revd Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., noting with joy the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush liner in the United Kingdom in June 1948 bringing nearly 500 Commonwealth citizens, mainly from the Caribbean, to mainland UK; and the eventual arrival of approximately half a million people from the West Indies, who were called to Britain as British subjects to help rebuild the post-war United Kingdom:

(a) lament, on behalf of Christ’s Church, and apologises for, the conscious and unconscious racism experienced by countless Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) Anglicans in 1948 and subsequent years, when seeking to find a spiritual home in their local Church of England parish churches, the memory of which is still painful to committed Anglicans who in spite of this racism from clergy and others, have remained faithful to the Church of England and their Anglican heritage;
(b) request the Archbishops’ Council to commission research to assess the impact of this on the Church of England in terms of church members lost, churches declining into closure, and vocations to ordained and licensed lay ministries missed, and to report back to this Synod and the wider Church.
(c) express gratitude to God for the indispensable contribution to the mission, ministry, prayer and worship of Christ’s Church in this nation made by people of BAME descent in the Church of England;
(d) acknowledge and give joyful thanks for the wider contribution of the ‘Windrush generation’ and their descendants to UK life and culture in every field of human activity, including service across the Armed Forces and other services during and after the Second World War;
(e) resolve to continue, with great effort and urgency, to stamp out all forms of conscious or unconscious racism, and to commit the Church of England to increase the participation and representation of lay and ordained BAME Anglicans throughout Church life; and
(f) request the Archbishop’s Council to appoint an independent person external to the Church to assess the current situation as regards race and ethnicity in the Church, in order to present a report to this Synod with recommendations for actions to achieve reconciliation and authentic belonging so that we can move towards truly being a Church for all people;

to the greater glory of the God in whose image every human being is made.

The motion was carried by 295 votes to nil, with no recorded abstentions.

Official press releases

Cathedrals proposals move forward
General Synod votes to apologise over racism

Archbishop Justin Welby’s remarks during Windrush debate

Press reports

Church Times
Synod apologises to Windrush generation for C of E racism
Living in Love and Faith talks ‘will have an end’

The Guardian
Justin Welby says he is ‘sorry and ashamed’ over church’s racism

The Telegraph
Row erupts at General Synod over LGBT rights in the church

Christian Today
Church of England apologises for racism towards Windrush generation and minority ethnic people
Living in Love and Faith process is a ‘call to action’ for Church of England – bishop

Independent
Church of England ‘deeply institutionally racist’, admits Archbishop of Canterbury

Daily Mail
Archbishop of Canterbury compares CofE’s attitude towards black people to how churches treated Jews in Nazi Germany

Members’ blogs

Stephen Lynas All kinds of everything

Andrew Nunn Jewels in the crown
Quotable quotes

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Stanley Monkhouse
7 months ago

Surviving Church’s latest (http://survivingchurch.org/2020/02/09/general-synod-survivors-and-institutional-power/) is terrific, esp contributions from the always impressive “Froghole”. The last days of the Soviet Union are replayed in Church House. I see the impotence and irrelevance of GS as the Soviet parliament: the stenosis of the ordained leadership like that of Brezhnev, Andropov and Chernenko. Power resides only where the money is. Who will be the church’s Gorbachev bringing perestroika and glasnost?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
7 months ago

What a pity that Amendment 153 to the Draft Cathedrals Measure was carried, introducing “Clause 5A Constitution: provision for community rolls” without correcting the anomaly discussed on an earlier TA thread – the unnecessary confusion between (2)(a) and (3)(b) in the two alternative declarations. The meaning of (3)(b) was established by reference to earlier wordings which were clear and unambiguous. As legislation (3)(b) as at present worded seems to be deficient. “(2) The first declaration is that the person— (a) is a member of the Church of England or of a Church in communion with it, and (b) has habitually… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
7 months ago

Apologies for a second post script. I have tracked down the earlier posts to the TA thread dated 27th December 2019, when the subject was raised by T Pott, and an extensive explanation was provided by David Lamming. The subject was raised at an earlier Synod, when an explanation was given but, inexplicably, no action taken, and an inadequate wording was allowed to stand. The earlier (and clearly preferable) wording, from the 1969 Church Representation Rules, was: “ … to be a member in good standing of a Church which subscribes to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity (not being… Read more »

Kate
Kate
7 months ago

The old wording is horrible. “Prepared” is ambivalent so the wording could mean a) willing to give a declaration (whether or not true) b) in a position to give a true declaration ie has attended habitually for 6 months (but not necessarily willing to do so) In neither case need the declaration actually be given. Also, because the old wording fails to use a definite noun, habitual attendance during any period of six months is sufficient – it could be several years ago, even attendance as a baby would meet the stated wording. (Language shifts over time so it would… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
7 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Kate: For what they are worth, these are my views: Prepared in this context means willing and able – truth of the declaration is automatically implied; I would agree that “the period of six months” is preferable to “a period of six months”, although I don’t personally have a problem with either. If you re-read my post, you will see that I said that the 1969 words could be adapted and, of course, they have to be anyway in relation to the parish/ cathedral context. Also, you need to consider the background provided by David Lamming in the 27th December… Read more »

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
7 months ago

Racism: bad discrimination Homophobia: justified discrimination, apparently. There’s a commonly circulated meme which is protestors against “mixed marriage” from the 1950s, with very similar protestors against same-sex marriage more recently, with the caption “you’re going to look stupid in 40 years”. This is the same thing: virtue signalling over the previous generations’ racism while quite happy to issue equally discriminatory statements on gender and sexuality today. Of course, the ethnic origin of the churches that are the prime movers of the discrimination is used in bad faith. Welby’s argument is basically “obviously, I am not homophobic, but it would be… Read more »

Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
7 months ago

It’s a pity that, after calling the Church of England institutionally racist (ironic given we’ve had a Ugandan-born Archbishop of York for the past 14 years who doesn’t appear to me to have promoted very much ethnic diversity in his diocese or province during his time in office), and then talking about 1930’s Germany, this old Etonian Archbishop of Canterbury didn’t take the opportunity to ask why a government run by people who went to the same school, whose record towards racial minorities is, frankly, abysmal, had rounded up 50 British citizens and deported them to Jamaica the previous day… Read more »

Alan Davies
Alan Davies
7 months ago
Reply to  Bill Broadhead

My thoughts exactly, Bill. We’ve heard nothing, either, from Rose Hudson-Wilkin about the Windrush scandal. Even more ironic. If those with the heritage, experience and insights are not prepared to challenge the status quo, we’re starting from a very low base line. Interesting, too, that the Archbishop of Canterbury said that racial diversity is getting nowhere near the CNC process. The answer to that lies in his hands. He could start with the dismantling of Fortress Wash House, the Talent Pool, and the control of who gets on to the Preferment List being being in the hands of one individual… Read more »

Kate
Kate
7 months ago

“And I guess that is the model for how the C of E can navigate their way through this confusion about human sexuality. But it might take a while. May be those who are impatient or worried had best find the resources to put their energy into talking and listening, rather than campaigning?” – Stephen Lynas I think this is likely to become the passive-aggressive response by many Evangelicals, “the Christian thing to do is to stop campaigning and spend some time (a generation or two would be good) listening”. That would be fine if the status quo was neutral… Read more »

Susannah Clark
7 months ago

Stephen Lynas’s review of the LLF feedback gives the impression that the process will say: “We’re going to continue to require celibacy from gay people, we’re going to continue to exclude gay relationships from public blessing, we’re going to continue to sanction gay ordinands and priests, we’re going to continue to tell young gay and lesbian people their sexuality results in sin, so they internalise shame… in short, our church practice will continue to be deeply harmful, and yet… if we learn to love one another more deeply (which we would all agree is right) perhaps gay people will feel… Read more »

Kate
Kate
7 months ago
Reply to  Susannah Clark

It isn’t just harm being done to people. I cry for Jesus because His church allows discrimination – fixing it in some parishes might help *people* and that is important but that doesn’t stop the awfulness of Jesus being associated with homophobia. If we love Jesus we can’t let that continue in any parishes.

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