General Synod - February 2016


    Category
    General Synod
    Date
    18 February 2016
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    Archbishop Justin Welby

    The General Synod of the Church of England met in Church House, London, from Monday 15 February to Wednesday 17 February.

    The three day meeting was attended by members from dioceses across England, including representatives from Bristol.

    A broad range of agenda items were discussed, from Renewal and Reform to the effect of benefit sanctions on the most vulnerable in society.

    On Tuesday, the Synod backed an historic agreement recognising the longstanding ecumenical partnership between the Church of Scotland and the Church of England, paving the way for future joint working between the churches.

    Synod debated and agreed proposed changes on Wednesday to the way that the Church of England funds training for clergy, a key Renewal and Reform initiative. Synod also approved a call for all 16,000 CofE churches to encourage their congregations to consider becoming blood donors or registering as organ donors, members voting in favour of a motion from Leeds Diocesan Synod put by Father Paul Cartwright, a former police officer and now a priest in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

    Below are highlights from Synod, including a reflection on the proceedings by the Rev Paul Langham, vicar of Christ Church Clifton.

     

    Archbishop reflects on Primates’ meeting in Synod address

    In his presidential address to the General Synod today, Archbishop Justin Welby spoke about the beauty of the Anglican Communion when it comes together.

    You can watch the full presidential address by Archbishop Justin below:

      

    Evangelism is 'our duty, privilege and joy', Archbishop tells Synod

    Evangelism and witness is 'not an app, it's the operating system' of the church, Archbishop Justin Welby told the General Synod.

    Introducing a presentation on a report by the Archbishops' Evangelism Task Group, the Archbishop said: "Evangelism is the proclamation, the setting forth, the holding out of the Good news of Jesus Christ, in ways that do justice to the beauty, integrity, joy and power of the one who was dead but is now alive. . . It is from God, about God, with God and because of God. Above all, He calls and enables us to be his heralds.

    "All Christians are witnesses of the love of Jesus Christ. The Spirit comes to us for precisely this task. And as witnesses of Jesus we then become witnesses to Jesus, relaying what we have experienced to others."
    Read the text of the Archbishop's

    opening remarks

    .


       

    General Synod votes to approve historic agreement with Church of Scotland

    An historic agreement recognising the longstanding ecumenical partnership between the Church of Scotland and the Church of England and paving the way for future joint working between the two churches has been backed today by the General Synod.

    Members voted to approve the Columba Declaration and welcome Growth in Communion, Partnership in Mission, a report by the Joint Study Group of the Church of England and the Church of Scotland, as a 'significant development' in the relationship between the two churches.
    Read more about the

    Columba Declaration

    .


       

    Synod signals support for new ministry funding framework

    Proposed changes to the way that the Church of England funds training for clergy was given backing by the General Synod.

    The debate on Resourcing Ministerial Education, forming part of Renewal and Reform, affirmed plans to create a new framework in which dioceses would receive funding for those entering ministerial education to be used more flexibly.
    Read more about the

    ministry funding framework

    .


      

    General Synod backs call to encourage blood and organ donation

    The General Synod has backed a call for all 16,000 CofE churches to encourage their congregations to consider becoming blood donors or registering as organ donors.

    Members voted to approve a motion from Leeds Diocesan Synod put by Father Paul Cartwright, a former police officer and now a priest in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, aimed at increasing the number of blood and organ donors in the UK.

    Read more about the

    motion

    .

      

    Elsewhere at Synod

    A number of other motions were debated by Synod members including:

    Church to launch social media 'digital evangelism' campaign to reach young people

    Synod calls for “full independent review” of benefit sanctions

      

    Reflection by the Rev Paul Langham, vicar of Christ Church Clifton

    Langham Paul

    Paul said the General Synod meeting was both amazing and sobering.

    He said: “There are people from the Society of St Anselm and 24/7 Prayer praying constantly for us as General Synod was in session.

    “After showing images of the Primates washing one another’s feet at the recent meeting, Archbishop Justin warned that 'we should have no illusions about the fragility of the process.’

    “We spent most of Tuesday talking about evangelism. There were some sobering stats which revealed the urgency of our need for effective evangelism:

      An 81-year-old is eight times more likely to be an Anglican than an 18-year-old;
      Only 18 people out of every 1000 worship regularly (within 30 years, unless things change, that figure will be 10 in 1000);
      The average age in Church of England is 62, while the average age nationally is 40.

      “There was an amazingly moving debate and vote on the crippling effect of benefits sanctions on claimants - a debate and vote which should make us all proud to belong to the C of E.”