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Also at Synod: children, the living wage

23 November 2012

ON Wednesday, the Synod voted to "strongly encourage" all Church of England institutions to pay "at least" the living wage. John Freeman (Chester), proposing the motion, said that if the Church paid less than this, "why should the world take any notice of it when it speaks out against other examples of economic injustice?"

The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, congratulated Mr Freeman on his motion, saying that one in five people in work in the UK was not paid a living wage.

The Synod also debated whether children should be allowed to administer holy communion. The Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, said that allowing them to do so was "a further way of recognising their full inclusion in the Body of Christ and the life of the local church".

The motion, which amends Canon B12 and its regulations, was clearly carried, although the Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, said that it raised "serious questions" about the status of children.

On Monday, during a presentation on the meeting last month of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), in New Zealand, the Archbishop of Canterbury disputed the idea that "the structure and pattern of ACC meetings is designed to push to the margin some of the more contentious matters in the Anglican Communion". The "crucial point" was where such arguments were held. The networks of the Communion represented some of the "most creative, most universally supported" work.

Also on Monday, Synod heard that a diocesan synod motion from Wakefield, calling for a "theologically informed national debate about the organisational shape of the Church", would not be debated until after the Synod had discussed and voted on the Dioceses Commission's draft scheme for West Yorkshire.

A motion from Bradford diocese calling for more freedom over the legal names of dioceses has also been put on hold, pending resolution of the proposed new diocese of Leeds. The Archdeacon of Dorking, the Ven. Julian Henderson, for the business committee, said that a debate on the motions could "prejudice the formal statutory process".

The Joint Safeguarding Liaison Group and the Clergy Discipline Commission are jointly reviewing the interim report of the Archbishop of Canterbury's visitation into safeguarding in the diocese of Chichester, the Synod heard on Monday.

Also on Monday, the secretary-general, William Fittall, sprang to the defence of the clerk to the Synod, Colin Podmore, who will take up a post with Forward in Faith after his resignation next year. Dr Podmore had carried out his work with "professionalism and impartiality", he said, to spontaneous applause from the floor.

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