Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 11 December 2019

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Elite Schools and leadership in Church and State

Peterson Feital ViaMedia.News Does the Church have a Problem with Institutional Racism?

Jeremy Morris Church Times The cry for self-government: 100 years of the Enabling Act
“Jeremy Morris marks the centenary of the Enabling Act, which created the General Synod’s precursor, in response to a campaign for the C of E’s “‘liberty'”

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Stephen C Parsons
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Stephen C Parsons

The piece on Mental Health has been taken down. Sorry to anyone trying to click on to it. There is a new piece put up this morning to replace it. Sorry about this

Fr John Harris-White
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Fr John Harris-White

Peterson ‘s article reminds me that human nature is suspicious of people who are different. Back in 1939, when I was nearly five, I was adopted. At school I was told I didn’t belong. I had come from Exeter, and was adopted. When at the age of eleven I won a scholarship to Thornbury Grammar School, I became a grammar school blockhead… I added to my difference by later being ordained into the Church of England. A couple years ago when visiting my home village of Rudgeway, an elderly lady told my husband all about me , as if I… Read more »

Susannah Clark
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Susannah Clark

Thanks to Jeremy for a fascinating outline of the journey of the Church of England towards self-government.

A question: why are lay people in the General Synod elected only by deanery synod members and not the full church membership?

Not saying it’s right or wrong, but just wondering why. We can all vote directly for our Members of Parliament tomorrow. So why can’t the Church operate on the same principle?

Evan McWilliams
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Evan McWilliams

The election of candidates by deanery synod is roughly analogous to the selection of candidates for public office by party members. Even in our ‘democratic’ system, we’re only voting on a slate of candidates who have already been approved by someone else further up the food chain. It’s the illusion of free choice that keeps the status quo intact, though I suspect giving the average church member or voter the responsibility of real free choice might not be greeted entirely with jubilation.

Pete Broadbent
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Pete Broadbent

Many in Synod have argued for and proposed universal suffrage of all laity on electoral rolls. But the House of Laity is constituted of those large birds that many of us will have on our dinner tables in a fortnight’s time. And, as we all know, they won’t vote for the Feast of the Nativity…

Kate
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Kate

It is pretty much the same reason that we are unlikely to get PR for Westminster elections.

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

The principal reason universal suffrage is rejected is that it will make the House of Laity even more unrepresentative than it already is, and has been since 1970. Large churches, not necessary evangelical, would merely ensure that their folk get out and vote. The electoral college is a far better system, although its weakness is the weakness confronting the whole Church of England. With the average age of a parishioner being some 65 years, and increasing, the prospect of an effective House of Laity is small. At least the Conservative Party now has a greater proportion of MPs from the… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
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I don’t see it as the same at all. Candidates in the synodical system are not “approved by someone else further up the food chain”. Anyone on a church electoral roll can stand for election to deanery synod, diocesan synod or general synod, and anyone elected to a deanery synod can nominate similarly-qualified people at any level. The “party members” are those on the church electoral roll, and they, in their own locality, choose their deanery synod members — those to whom they delegate the responsibility to elect to bodies with wider representation and alongside that responsibility the responsibility to… Read more »

T Pott
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T Pott

There was, as Jeremy mentions, debate as to whether confirmation or baptism should confer voting rights. Although baptism was deemed sufficient to elect PCCs, the effect of limiting the franchise for the Church Assembly / General Synod was that only active and committed members, and a small minority of them, had any voice in the higher bodies. The ordinary churchgoer was however represented in Parliament, and their voices were decisive in rejecting the 1928 Prayer Book, against the wishes of the activists. Not Church v State, Church v Assembly. Other national Protestant churches, such as those of Scandinavia, continue to… Read more »