Thinking Anglicans

General Synod Questions

Updated Friday

The Questions (and answers) for this weekend’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod were sent to Synod members today. They can be found online here: Questions NP1.

The Business Committee has scheduled two hours for Questions at the July 2023 Group of Sessions of the General Synod. This is divided between 75 minutes on Friday 7 July and 60 minutes on Saturday 8 July.

Update

The answers to several questions referred to supplementary information on the noticeboard. This is now available online: Questions NP1 (Annex).

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Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
11 months ago

I read one third of this document before I needed to take a break. First impressions: it is full of bullshit, obfuscation, weasel words, backside-covering, and reputation management. I observed not a trace of humility or honesty in any of the answers I’ve read so far. Nor have I read much engagement with the topic.

It’s like PMQs at its worst.

Francis James
Francis James
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
11 months ago

Deeply depressing – “PMQs at its worst” sums it up only too well.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
11 months ago

So far I have only read about 40 answers but the impression I get is “why are you bothering us with this question?”

Realist
Realist
11 months ago

Yawn, groan, and all the rest….same old same old same old. I’ve been very critical of our current crop of Archbishops and Diocesan Bishops, with a couple of exceptions. But I want to post something that’s a bit of light relief about the Episcopacy in the face of what these answers suggest about them, and which illustrates the old adage that there’s nothing new under the sun when it comes to the perils of operating in a bubble. The C19 clergyman and renowned wit Revd Sydney Smith wrote the following to Archdeacon Singleton on the Ecclesiastical Commission in 1837: ’A… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Realist
11 months ago

Many thanks for the quote. Smith was referring to Charles Blomfield’s preferment to the see of London in 1828 (Smith, of course, being a canon of St Paul’s). The period between about 1810 and 1840 was the era of the so-called ‘Greek play bishop’. There were really only four of these: Blomfield (who edited Aeschylus, Callimachus and Euripides, amongst others), Samuel Butler of Lichfield & Coventry (who produced a 4 volume variorum edition of Aeschylus, which was subject to a savage review by Blomfield), Edward Maltby of Durham (who produced a lexicon) and James Henry Monk of Gloucester (who edited… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Froghole
11 months ago

I noticed you refer to a Peter Paul Dobree. For many, many years, a Reverend Dobree was vicar of my home parish of Colwich, Staffordshire, and was also a prebendary of Lichfield cathedral. He had a nearly waist length beard, rode a tricycle on his parish work, and was very greatly loved and respected in the area. Is there any connection between him and the person you refer to? (He’s now buried in Colwich churchyard.)

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  John Davies
11 months ago

Well, I have been to Colwich several times, and note the recent changes to the speed limit along the bypass. In the 1868 edition of Crockford there are some eight Dobree’s listed, most of them (including Osmond) having a Guernsey connection (the name is a common one in Guernsey, like de Sausmarez, Giffard, Le Mesurier, Ozanne, etc.). Osmond (1832-1929) was educated at Elizabeth College, Guernsey and at TCD. He took orders in 1856 and 1857. He was responsible for St John’s Knypersley in north Staffordshire, from 1863-90, having previously taken curacies at Biddulph, St Mary’s Nottingham and St John’s Guernsey.… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  John Davies
11 months ago

Peter Paul Dobrée 1782-1825 and the Revd Osmond Dobree (was the ‘French’ spelling retained in his case at Colwich?) 1832-1929 were both born in Guernsey, which might be a pointer – Froghole may know more. The photograph of the Revd Osmond found on ‘Google’ was provided by John Davies, whom I take to be you?

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Froghole
11 months ago

Indeed he was!! Thank you, Froghole, for this wonderfully erudite yet succinct summary. I was trying to spare some (admittedly already deceased) blushes! As I’m sure you know, but for those who may not have read it, Trollope’s text is a very amusing read – not least to note the types that persist today… I’d forgotten about Arnold’s volumes over the mists of time, but have just dug them off my shelves and had a look. They’re fascinating when revisited through the lens of the Boddington Episcopal recruitment interviews, where, I’m reliably informed, the central question posed to make it… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Realist
Peter
Peter
11 months ago

We are at the eve of the last Synod which I will follow with close attention. My experience and involvement with the Church of England goes back thirty five years. My own faith, my marriage, and the faith of my children were all founded on the Church of England. I have journeyed through what has been a bereavement these past years. Anger, bargaining and denial have all been my companions. Recent puerile stupidities of “conservatives” has incensed me, but obviously is if no real consequence. Perhaps because of this weekend, they have been emblematic of the death of my Church… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Peter
Peter S
Peter S
11 months ago

Q71 answer is very disappointing: “It is only in very recent years, and as a result of very rapid cultural change in our society, that a divergence has emerged between marriage as it is understood by the Church, reflected in Canon C30 and the BCP, and marriage as it is understood by secular law and society. The Faith and Order Commission have been asked to reflect theologically on the relationship between the two.” Sorry, the teaching of church and society has “diverged” at least since the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857. It’s simply that this divergence continues to grow, and there’s… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
11 months ago

I note the Archbishops’ Council made a serious incident report to the Charity Commission regarding the ISB debacle on 26 June, some days after this was raised by me and others on TA (Questions 8 and 9 refer). The supplementary question(s) from either Sam Wilson (Chester) and/or Rebecca Mynett (St Albans) are not hard to anticipate.

Realist
Realist
11 months ago

GS Members who are reading threads on here might be interested to revisit some of the headline findings and major recommendations presented in the 2022 Chote Report, because there is sure to be significant misinformation and obfuscation in the reviewing progress questions and debates. I’m obliged to a poster on Twitter who mentioned it and so jogged my memory of it. One or two things that jumped out at me: Section 3.12 lists the evaluative criteria for the SDF programme established by the Archbishops’ Council when it started. Astonishingly, despite return on investment through numerical growth becoming the sole operative… Read more »

Realist
Realist
11 months ago

cont… Now to my conclusion. Established parishes are often being claimed as a drain on the resources of the Church, with numerical growth used as the primary (or sole) factor in gauging success, health and ongoing viability. So the ‘Return on Investment’ in established parishes is claimed as extremely poor, even in places where the net contribution a parish makes through giving to Diocesan finances (Quota/Share), and/or through volunteers or paid clergy taking on Diocesan roles without any additional remuneration (or indeed any at all), exceeds any Diocesan financial investment through direct funding and/or provision of services to the Parish.… Read more »

Tim
Tim
Reply to  Realist
11 months ago

Very interesting analysis thank you

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Realist
11 months ago

Thank you so much for this excellent analysis. A decade ago the burden of proof was on those sceptics who argued that allocating investment to pet projects would not result in slowing the trajectory of decline. A decade on, and the burden of proof is now arguably reversed (or perhaps ought to be): it is up to those advocating further investment to demonstrate that heavy investment in such projects has had (and will continue to have) a material impact on slowing or reversing the trajectory of decline. The risk is that the advocates of this investment (who have become a… Read more »

Christina Beardsley
Christina Beardsley
11 months ago

Excellent reply from the Bishop of London to the question about the Church of England’s position on trans people. Her summary is my own understanding of our Church’s policy and practice over the past two decades, as noted in last month’s TA thread about Trans people and LLF: it’s great to have this confirmed as the official position – thank you Bishop Sarah for this clarity: The Bishop of London to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of Bishops: A Transgender persons are persons in the eyes of God and of the Church and are accorded all the… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Christina Beardsley
11 months ago

Trans people are probably glad for any support, though I am under-impressed by Bishops’ final words> “This work will be undertaken in due course.” ‘This work’ has been on ice for almost 2 years. A working party involving trans people was promised to look at new developments in the discourse over trans people (for example the claim by some feminists that transwomen are not women). Working with a well-known ‘conservative’ minister, we developed a pastoral resource for churches of all traditions about how to pastorally care for trans people. It was sent to the Bishop of London almost a year… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Christina Beardsley
11 months ago

Tina, further to my last reply, expressing concern about trans issues being put on the back burner… on this subject you may have heard Bishop Sarah saying in Synod today:

“I don’t know where resources of time and people will come from.”

Christina Beardsley
Christina Beardsley
Reply to  Susannah Clark
11 months ago

I did hear Bishop Sarah say that Susannah, and, as you know, I’m not convinced that the Church of England needs to do much more work in this area – it was the summary of the present position directly above that I was pleased to see clearly stated. And if this proposed work is delayed much longer other churches will have done the work for the Church of England anyway.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Christina Beardsley
11 months ago

I thought Sarah spoke very well today in answer to several questions on various topics. Credit where credit is due.

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