Thursday, 14 June 2018

General Synod papers published

The Church of England has issued the press release below about papers for next month’s meeting of General Synod.

See the previous article for my list of papers.

New links between Church of England and black-majority churches

Church of England congregations will be able to share mission and ministry with a range of churches in their area more easily under plans due to receive final approval by the General Synod next month.

A long-anticipated overhaul of rules underpinning ecumenical relations is expected to open the way for parishes to take part in joint worship with more churches than previously possible.

For the first time this will include churches without a large national structure – something which will particularly affect newer independent evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic groups including many black-led churches.

The move - part of a drive to simplify ecclesiastical law - is among several significant legislative changes being considered at Synod which meets in York from July 6-10.

Dr Joe Aldred of Churches Together in England, who serves as an Ecumenical Representative for Pentecostals on General Synod and is a bishop in the Church of God of Prophecy, welcomed the change.

He said: “This is a great moment for relations between the Church of England and Pentecostal and Charismatic denominations and congregations, including many black-led churches, as we share the task of building the Kingdom of God in this country.

“In working together and worshipping together our churches have the potential to transform their neighbourhoods.

“The shape and style of the Church in England has changed considerably over the years and this legislation reflects the new reality on the ground.

“Through the work of the Pentecostal Presidency in Churches Together in England, I have seen just what is possible by strengthening relationships, engaging in prayer and mission together and I hope and pray this change in legislation will mean we can do even more together.”

In one of the most broad-ranging agendas in recent years, Synod will also discuss national and international issues from nuclear proliferation and responses to climate change to the future of the NHS.

There will be a major debate on the Church of England’s work on safeguarding and Synod will be asked to endorse the priorities for action outlined in the report (GS 2092) to be published with the second set of papers next week.

Synod will also have an opportunity for a detailed update on progress on the episcopal teaching document on human sexuality and marriage and to engage with those working on it through a series of seminars and workshops.

The document, due to be completed in 2020, will be entitled Living in Love and Faith: Christian teaching and learning about human sexuality and marriage.

Synod papers published today also include the final report of the Church of England’s Cathedrals Working Group which sets out new ideas to help secure the cathedrals for the future.

Further details on the Cathedrals Working Group report are set out in a separate press release.

Notes to editors

A full set of papers from the first circulation is available here. A second circulation will follow and will be available on Friday June 22.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 14 June 2018 at 11:08am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

The press release states, "There will be a major debate on the Church of England’s work on safeguarding and Synod will be asked to endorse the priorities for action outlined in the report (GS 2092) to be published with the second set of papers next week."

That there was to be a debate on safeguarding on the Saturday morning (7 July) was announced when the timetable for the group of sessions at York was published on 24 May 2018. I commented on this on this blog as follows:
"The terms of the motion have not yet been made public. It would be of interest to know now the terms of the motion and who is to propose it. Given the criticism in February that then there was only a presentation (with Q&A) and no debate, it seems likely that whatever the wording of the motion at York, it is likely to attract a number of amendments."

We now know (from the full Synod agenda, GS 2090) that the motion is to be proposed by the Bishop of Bath and Wells (Bishop Peter Hancock) and that one clause of the motion does, indeed, call on Synod to "endorse the priorities for action outlined in the report (GS 2092)".

What paper GS Misc 1192 (also published today), "Summary of decisions by the House of Bishops and Delegated Committees", reveals is that "the draft motion on Safeguarding to be debated at the General Synod in July 2018" was agreed by the National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG) at its meeting on 24 April 2018: see para 38 on page 4. Presumably, therefore, the NSSG at least had a draft of GS 2092 before them when they met some 7 weeks ago. Accordingly, for the paper GS 2092 not be published for another 8 days (and just 3½ days before the deadline for questions) is not satisfactory.

Whatever the outcome of the debate, and whatever the "priorities for action" contained in GS 2092, it remains the case that the debate will be taking place before the Church knows the recommendations to to be made by IICSA panel following the hearings in March relating to the Diocese of Chichester and the hearing at the end of July in relation to Bishop Peter Ball. (The panel's report is expected sometime in the autumn.)

Posted by: David Lamming on Thursday, 14 June 2018 at 3:59pm BST

It looks very unsatisfactory. They don't seem to learn.

Posted by: Janet Fife on Friday, 15 June 2018 at 11:28am BST
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