14 July 2010

THERE were many farewells to well-known Synod members at the end of the quinquennium.

The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, paid tribute to the Bishop of Bradford, Dr David James, who is retiring. The Archbishop noted that Dr James had appointed pioneer ministries and taken a lead in encouraging deaneries to engage in cross-parish ministry. Dr Sentamu also noted that the Bishop had set up the Bradford Civic Network and the Inter-Cultural Leadership School after the Bradford riots.

The Bishop of Durham, Dr Tom Wright, also received warm tributes from Dr Sentamu and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr Sentamu described Dr Wright as “one of the few theologians who has regularly upset both liberals and conservatives”. Dr Williams com­pared Dr Wright to William Barclay in providing accessible books on the Bible: “Not many scholars have changed how the map looks. That is what he has done with his work on the Gospels and St Paul.”

The Synod also said farewell to the Bishop of Salisbury, Dr David Stancliffe. At the age of four, he was “taking services and preaching to his younger siblings, and declaring his ambition to be Archbishop of Canterbury — some people grow out of it,” Dr Williams said, to some laughter.

He described Dr Stancliffe as a “remarkably distinguished musician”, an organ scholar for whom a musical career would have been natural. The words, “If you seek a monument, look around you,” were appropriate for his work at Portsmouth Cathedral, where he had “brought his liturgical and architectural imagination to bear”.

He was chairman of the Liturgical Commission for 12 years, and would be remembered for the publication of Common Worship, “bound and rubricked in Sarum red”. Salisbury’s diocesan link with Sudan was “a model of how diocesan life can be made to work creatively”.

Dr Stancliffe’s book on church architecture had shown “a nuanced, deep, and scholarly understanding of sacred space”. His and Sarah’s ministry of hospitality and lavish generosity had been at the heart of the Kingdom.

Dr Williams remarked of the quinquennium that “a huge amount” had been going on. He hoped they had learned something about how the Synod conducted its business as the body of Christ. “We are doing the work and living the life of Christ’s body.”

He committed the forthcoming elections and the work of the next quinquennium to the Holy Spirit. He went on to thank those who had served the Synod in various ways.

He praised Dr Christina Baxter (Southwell & Nottingham) for her “capacity for shrewd analysis of situations”; her championing of the laity; and, above all, her integrity as a Christian witness.

The Archbishop described the Prolocutor, the Ven. Norman Russell, the Archdeacon of Berkshire, as a “consistently bold defender of clergy rights and the importance of parish ministry”. His roots in Northern Ireland said something about his tenacity and determination: his watchword was not “No surrender”, but rather his school motto: “Seek what is true.”

Prebendary Kay Garlick’s work chairing the Business Committee was “one of a number of synodical jobs you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy”, Dr Williams said. She had worked with openness and warmth, bringing “continuous grace and lightness of touch to the job”, and remained loved and respected.

The Archbishop made special mention of those whose retirement marked the end of an era: people who had been serving since the inaugural Synod of 1970. He named Alan Cooper, Philip Lovegrove, Judge John Bullimore, and John Clark as deserving of Synod’s “profound gratitude”.

He thanked Colin Menzies, secretary to the Corporation of the Church House for many years, for his “great gift of hospitality, which made people feel so special”. Dr Williams thanked all those retiring for their service, and wished good fortune to those seeking election.

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