Thinking Anglicans

General Synod preview

Updated Saturday

General Synod meets in York next month and the Church of England issued its usual pre-Synod press release this morning, and this is copied below the fold. It concentrates on one item (youth violence and knife crime).

Madeleine Davies in Church Times has a fuller preview of the Synod agenda: Synod to focus on youth violence and knife crime.

There are two other Church Times articles.
Invest in refugees, Synod motion proposes
Synod will be asked whether it ‘gladly bears’ eucharistic presidency by Methodist presbyters as ‘temporary anomaly’

Update

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church of England urged to offer haven from knife crime

Izzy Lyons and Laura FitzPatrick The Telegraph Churches should become knife crime sanctuaries with weapon amnesty bins, General Synod to discuss

Church of England Press release

Call for churches to act as safe havens in hot spots for serious youth violence

21/06/2019

Churches will be encouraged to offer a place of sanctuary for young people as part of efforts to combat knife crime and serious youth violence, in a key debate to be held at the General Synod next month.
The Revd Canon Dr Rosemarie Mallett, a priest in Angell Town, south London, will urge parishes to consider opening their doors after school hours as safe havens for young people in hot spot areas for serious violence.

Dr Mallett, a prominent campaigner in combating knife crime, will lead a debate at the General Synod in York calling for church leaders to be trained to support families and communities affected.

She will call for churches to take a range of practical measures – from providing knife amnesty bins to training for clergy and other leaders to protect young people potentially vulnerable to ‘county lines’ exploitation.

But Dr Mallett will also highlight the unique spiritual dimension churches can bring through prayer and pastoral support for communities affected.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Dr Mallett said: “We must work with other organisations to find the best way to support young people in our parishes and our schools, and to be part of the solution to the challenges – not only of serious youth violence but the whole issue of young people who fall through the system.

“One way that churches can help is to provide safe havens for young people.

“This isn’t necessarily about running youth clubs, in many cases this may simply be providing a place where they can go, relax and feel safe, especially during the period immediately after school hours when flashpoints can occur.”

Serious youth violence will be one of the major issues discussed at the General Synod, the national assembly of the Church of England, when it meets at York University between Friday July 5 and Tuesday July 9.

Members will also hear details of plans to provide extra money to help the Church of England dioceses fund an increase in the number of people coming forward to train for the priesthood. The move follows a 23% rise in the number of people starting training for ordained ministry in the last two years, a key step forward in the Church of England’s programme of Renewal and Reform.

Other debates include a motion encouraging dioceses to help in enabling refugee doctors, teachers and other professionals to put their skills to work in the UK. Synod will be asked to adopt a Covenant on clergy care and well-being and to back moves towards a new relationship of communion between the Church of England and the Methodist Church in Great Britain.

Synod will also discuss the rise of new forms of church gatherings known as Fresh Expressions and the Setting God’s People Free programme, aimed at helping lay people to be confident in living out their faith in homes, schools, communities and places of work.

Members will hear a presidential address from the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu and a presentation by the Mothers’ Union worldwide president, Sheran Harper.

More Information

  • Dr Mallett is Director of the Southwark Diocese Department of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation. She is a member of the Synergy Network of churches changing communities together.
  • The Church of England’s programme of Renewal and Reform is aimed at ensuring that the Church of England once more becomes a growing church for all people in all places. One of the key aims of this is to increase the number of candidates for ordination.

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Cassandra
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Cassandra

On the suggestion that churches should be open to offer a safe place for young people after school, which isn’t a youth club – I helped for a while with a Methodist initiative in our town on Fridays until 10 pm (which was when we went out as Street Pastors). There were free hot drinks and biscuits, music and some games. While it certainly attracted a lot of people, some of them very young indeed, who came and went over the course of the evening, sometimes using us as a base from which a parent could collect them in a… Read more »

Flora Alexander
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Flora Alexander

I can see the attractiveness of the idea of opening churches after school. But I wonder how many churches have an adequate supply of suitable people to supervise this, regularly.

Richard
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Richard

The Church of England is already divided over what constitutes a valid priesthood: those who accept women as priests and bishops, and those who consider any involvement with the ordination of a woman as being tainted. Add to that women (and men) who have not been ordained by a bishop at all. I’m not flatly against the notion of permitting a “temporary anomaly”, but I don’t see how it can be worked out without more sharply defining our “differences”.

Charles Read
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Charles Read

Well our official position is that women have been truly ordained and all who subscribe to the five guiding principles have to accept that.

Richard
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Richard

True. But… flying bishops are officially in place to minister to parishes which do not fully accept ordination of women.

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Some good news from Chichester for a change of a drop in after school project which has just won the Queens award for voluntary service.
http://www.belltowerchi.uk/about/

Cassandra
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Cassandra

Thanks for that link. It may be significant that they went for the late afternoon slot, whereas we were trying to provide a safe space in the 8-10 pm slot, when otherwise young people were hanging out in a park known for its links to drugs.

David Lamming
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David Lamming

It is noteworthy that although the Synod will be meeting during the middle of the IICSA two-weeks hearing into issues relating to “the extent of any institutional failures to protect children from sexual abuse within the Anglican Church”, there is no reference in the Press Release to the Safeguarding items on the Synod agenda, namely safeguarding questions, and a presentation with questions, on the Sunday afternoon. Paper GS 2134 “Progress Report by the National Safeguarding Steering Group” dated 3 June 2019 and circulated to Synod members on 21st June, has been produced “to provide an introduction “to the presentation. There… Read more »

John Peet
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John Peet

As an Anglican priest “recognised and regarded” as a Methodist Minister I cannot let this “temporary anomaly” language go without comment. Has anyone seriously considered how such language is like a red rag to a bull? Growing up as a Methodist, I remember being appalled at the Anglican sense of polite superiority which this dreadful phrase seems to confirm. Either we accept each others’ present ministry as valid, or we don’t. To call it an anomaly, even if temporary, is insulting, in implying that there is something sadly lacking in Methodist ministry, but that we will hold our noses and… Read more »

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

I agree, the terminology is patronising and offensive. It reminds me of the time when the Methodist Chair of District was taking part in an ecumenical cathedral service, and the Precentor said he would ‘take her aside and teach her how to conduct a service’. Dreadfully arrogant. She was a distinguished and capable minster and later became Chair of Conference.

T Pott
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T Pott

Well from a Church of England perspective there is something lacking in Methodist ministry: episcopal ordination. Some think this essential to priesthood (and so to eucharistic presidency), some (including Methodists) that it most certainly is not essential. Others may think it possibly important, and so prudent to follow just in case it matters, or alternatively to respect the consciences of those who imagine it matters. If the C of E is not to change its permanent position on this, then what is proposed will indeed be only a temporary anomaly. In calling it a “bearable” temporary anomaly it seems to… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

As a C of E person, I would be equally offended by anyone suggesting that episcopal ordination was silly and superstitious – or are you referring to the belief (or claim) of apostolic succession which is actually central to ordination? Episcopal ordination in the English church has been the ‘norm’ since St Augustine – or earlier – English bishops were present at the Council of Nicaea which affirmed the Creed that we believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. The Reformation didn’t change that in England. Of course, in relation to the C of E, apostolic succession is refuted… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

I’m reminded that England didn’t exist as a separate country at the time of the Council of Nicaea. I should have referred to British bishops being present, although I have to concede that this is not universally accepted.

When Pope Benedict XVI arrived on these shores, he was greeted by the former Cardinal Archbishop of Glasgow making a reference to Augustine having brought Christianity to Britain. But, at the most basic level, that ignores St Alban, martyred as a Christian fully three centuries earlier.

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

“Equally offended” is I think the point. If a Methodist finds it offensive that Anglicans do not fully accept their ministers, except possibly as a bearable temporary anomaly, then an Anglican can, as you say, be equally offended that Methodists reject the Anglican view of apostolic succession as via episcopal ordination only. They would not perhaps say it is silly and superstitious, but they do not accept it adds anything which their ministers lack. Methodists are not being asked to renounce their beliefs on the superfluity of episcopal ordination, but to go along with it anyway, for the sake of… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

I think, in fact I’m sure, we totally agree. I deliberately ignored the 17th century temporary aberration! More than 60 years ago in Confirmation preparation (Confirmation classes, they were called) we didn’t once look at the BCP Catechism, but the importance and significance of apostolic succession was explained, and we were told that it also extended to us – through baptism by an ordained priest and confirmation by a bishop (in those days bishops were referred to as consecrated rather than ordained), in both cases through a succession of the laying-on of hands going back to the Apostles. A daunting… Read more »

John Peet
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John Peet

Apostolic succession via episcopal ordination is, of course, important to some Anglicans. Others would not regard it as quite so important, and would interpret apostolic succession in terms of doctrine, rather than the continuity of the laying on of episcopal hands. The Church of England has always contained a mixture of differing views on this subject. Usually we can ignore our differences, and “go along with it for the sake of unity”, as long as they do not particularly affect us. The problem arises when one (contested) viewpoint is represented as the stance of the whole church, and when this… Read more »

Tim
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Tim

As someone who now works for a knife crime charity, I applaud the initiative to engage with knife crime and young people. But why does the church or synod think it is the solution? Why has it not worked with para-church organisations who are already doing what is being proposed? The issues around this are complex and challenging and demand long term relationships and solutions which most local churches simply cannot on their own provide. I just wish that synod would move from laudable words to a genuine desire to work with others who are already in the field. It… Read more »