THE General Synod will not meet again
in a formal capacity until July, after members accepted the
business committee's proposal to postpone the February sitting.
The Archdeacon of Dorking, the Ven.
Julian Henderson, who chairs the business committee, said that the
pause would provide "time to reflect and refocus on the
consequences" of the decision to reject the women-bishops
Some voices say that a February Synod
would "afford the chance of a less crowded agenda, with time to
consider the challenges we face as a Church, and with time to do
work in groups to strengthen relationships and grow in mutual
understanding", he said. "While that may seem attractive in
principle, it is not practically possible here in London. There
simply are not enough separate rooms available."
He said that the confirmation of the
election of the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Justin Welby, as
Archbishop of Canterbury would take place on 4 February. "If Synod
meets that week, he will be in office, but only just," and would
not have been enthroned.
The Archdeacon of Hackney, the Ven.
Rachel Treweek, said that postponing February's group of sessions
would send a message that, after rejecting women bishops, the Synod
members "couldn't bear to spend time with each other for another
Timothy Allen, from St Edmundsbury
& Ipswich, said that a postponement would be "negligent and
complacent. . . In the eyes of most of those to whom the Anglican
Communion matters", the decision to reject women bishops "wasn't
grim, it was a disaster. In the eyes of the general public, and
rulers in Whitehall and Westminster, the Church has lost
credibility." He said that the Synod should meet.
The Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd
Trevor Willmott, supported the proposal to postpone February's
meeting, saying it was becoming "increasingly toxic" to meet at
Church House in Westminster. It was "utterly naïve" to think a
process could be devised in ten weeks to "repair the damage".
He said that the July meeting at York
provided space "where we live together, eat together, and pray
together"; a real place where communion could happen.