House of Bishops needs to lead C of E, says Dr Sentamu
THE SYNOD took note of a report about the Church’s vision for the next five
The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, introducing the report Into the New
Quinquennium on Wednesday of last week, said that the Church was being invited
to find a new language. "We can’t go on as we are. Too many Christians want a
‘me-shaped’ Church instead of a Christ-shaped Church."
There needed to be an appropriate relationship between structure and the
community of faith. The C of E needed to be built into a healthy Church by
finding common ground among its members, building truthful and trustful
relationships. There needed to be a "holy" and magnanimous tone to its
The Church needed to be Christ-like in its openness to everyone. "Our
internal immune belief systems often close things down instead of opening them
up," he said. The Church was both Catholic and Reformed. "We need to hold on to
"How do we believe in Jesus organisationally and thereby do the works of
God?" he asked. One way was to clarify the relationship between the
Archbishops’ Council, the House of Bishops, the Church Commissioners, and the
General Synod. The Synod should not expect an executive body to do its work.
"The time has come for the House of Bishops to offer real leadership in this
Synod, which would help this Synod as a whole to hold and shape a vision for
the Church of England," he said.
The Archdeacon of Berkshire, the Ven. Norman Russell, said: "We need to read
the signs of the times and find ways of engaging more robustly with Government
— for example, over civil partnerships."
Professor Glynn Harrison (Bristol) wondered whether the challenges had been
grasped fully. "Where are our goals?"
The Revd Robert Cotton (Guildford) said that the boards and councils also
needed an opportunity to "tell a story" about the quinquennium that was past.
Rosalind Fuller (London) wanted young people to be included in drawing up
the Church’s vision. Dioceses all needed two reps on the Church of England
The Revd Mark Ireland (Lichfield) wanted more about apologetics: "We need to
be out there, winning the battle of ideas."
Vasantha Gnanadoss (Southwark) found the report lacked urgency in what it
said about global warming.
The Revd Richard Moy (Lichfield) thought that a 20-per-cent target for
ordinands under 30 was too low. "We need real effort on this."
The Revd Stephen Coles (London) asked how the Archbishops’ Council proposed
to help along the process of listening to the experience of lesbian and gay
Anglicans before Lambeth 2008.
The Bishop of Dudley, the Rt Revd David Walker, wanted a steer on Pensions
Board ethical policy.
The Revd Nicola Milford (Exeter) wanted ordinands to have "a voice straight
The Bishop of Worcester, Dr Peter Selby, wanted resourcing seen as a mission
activity. The "unfreezing of meanness" was God’s mission to the Church.