Thinking Anglicans

General Synod September 2020

All the papers for the meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod on 24 September are now available online.

Timetable
Note from the Chair of the Business Committee, September 2020
Guide for Synod Members, September 2020
GS 2174 Agenda
GS 2176 General Synod (Remote Meetings) (Temporary Standing Orders)
GS 2176X Explanatory Note
GS Misc 1252 Note from Chief Legal Adviser

It should be noted that GS 2176 and GS 2176X and the timetable are revised versions of the papers originally published last month.

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Michael
Michael
2 months ago

Steve Baker MP is concerned about lack of scrutiny in Parliament. Same could be said of General Synod. Not everyone has access to Facebook/Zoom/youtube. In the space of a few months, the Church of England has become a narrow sect.

Stanley Monkhouse
2 months ago

Others more erudite and informed than I have on several occasions alerted TA readers to this issue, but when will Synod, or indeed any church body, confront the elephant in the room, namely money? Given that lifting of restrictions on meetings seems as far away as ever, finances can only disimprove. Yet with the exception of Sodor and Man there is a lack of candour – indeed of information. The word on the street is that in the diocese of Derby (I’m in Lichfield but only just), despite budgeting for a deficit of over 1 million for the next year… Read more »

Michael
Michael
2 months ago

Indeed, what is going on? Wise old birds (metaphorically not literally!) can see how topsy turvy the Church of England has become, for example, merging parishes while increasing the number of archdeacons. The ongoing restrictions are causing a steep decline in church attendance and therefore in regular giving. An elephant in the room is an apt description. An inability (or lack of will) to engage in pastoral ministry is another such elephant. A retired priest told me last week that he was sick of being told by the diocese that he must conduct funeral visits over the phone. He has… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Michael
Froghole
Froghole
2 months ago

Very many thanks. As we appear to be moving into a period of enhanced restrictions or even of a second lockdown, the want of candour is starting to prove acutely problematic. I can understand why some of the authorities may not wish to ‘frighten the horses’ and to present a picture of a Church that is getting along with things, or presenting a Dunkirk spirit, but there will come a time when people will call out a Potemkin village for what it is. The longer the Church bites its lips the more people are going to form the view that… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
2 months ago
Reply to  Froghole

Froghole writes that we need to know what the impact of further restrictions is likely to be.  I guess that decision making up to now has been short-term and reactive. There is, as he says, the Dunkirk-spirit assumption that things will soon be better, and that a vaccine will help to keep them so. Not necessarily. People have been working for decades to no avail on a common cold vaccine. It took 40 years for a reliable polio vaccine to emerge. The date for an effective covid vaccine (assuming that one vaccine will do the job) comes no closer with… Read more »

Graeme Buttery
Graeme Buttery
2 months ago

Where does one begin? If it wasn’t for the joyful affirmation of faith by my congregation, I may be tempted to throw myself off the top of the tabernacle. But seriously, between an apparent one size fits all approach to ministry, a sense that faithful witness is no longer good enough, the chasm between them with the power and us mere mortals and the hunch that “gathered” is replacing local and parochial, it does make you wonder.

Graeme Buttery

ACI
ACI
2 months ago

I doubt very much the timing of a vaccine delivery is very instrumental in the sharp decline in CofE, or its mitigation.

Michael
Michael
2 months ago
Reply to  ACI

I agree, the decline has become sharper this year. PCC treasurer wrote to me to ask me to consider increasing giving. Income the previous year was already down 13% and attendance as much as 25%. I declined her request. The church in a prime town centre location remains locked, it is raining on the inside, redundancy beckons as income has come to a halt, made worse by the vicar’s refusal to share body and blood of our Saviour. It is catch-22 – I do not wish to donate to a locked failing church but without money the church will fail… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
2 months ago
Reply to  Michael

“Without money the church will fail and remain permanently locked”. It will not be permanently locked: if it is in a “prime town centre location” it will almost certainly be sold, probably at a discount, and the diocese will appropriate the modest profit, largely for its own uses. The building might then end up as a commercial or residential unit; alternatively, if it is architecturally distinguished it might have some future as a monument, but if it is not, demolition beckons (usually as a last resort). In any event, the sale of the building will enable the financial needs of… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
2 months ago
Reply to  Michael

I should add, that following conversations at a parish level in several places in eastern England this afternoon, there is a widespread perception (or delusion) that one of the reasons why churches are being kept locked is that the clergy and dioceses are wanting to sell them, such is the distrust harboured by the ‘infantry’ for the ‘staff’ and ‘generals’. In other words, the DBF/DAC will say, St X has been locked and unused since March – therefore it has no income is no longer providing or fulfilling its charitable use – therefore it can be closed and sold. This… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Froghole
Robin Ward
Robin Ward
2 months ago

We in theological education have been told to anticipate a 20% cut in funding with planning already underway for a ‘central’ solution to the problem, even though the supporting consultation documentation admits that a) there is no agreement on what the content of theological education should be b) no one knows how many clergy will be needed and for what c) the cut could be much worse than 20% (a number which I think is intended to sound frightening but survivable for those ambitious to be selected for survival) or perhaps not as bad after all. Who knows?

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
2 months ago
Reply to  Robin Ward

I seem to remember a document in about 1986 by Prof Dan Hardy of Durham flagging up the concept of “formation” rather than training and integrating the academic, spiritual and pastoral. But he said this would only be possible if the C of E came to agreement as to what C of E priests were to be and do. This of course would be pretty difficult and i guess since then theological institutions have organised their courses around their own understanding of what priests are ( in some cases avoiding the idea of priesthood at all ) Its not suprising… Read more »

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