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General Synod: Synod business

30 November 2012

AFTER a debate on the Wednesday morning, the Synod accepted the Business Committee's proposal to cancel the February sitting.

The Archdeacon of Dorking, the Ven. Julian Henderson (Guildford), who chairs the Business Committee, said that he hoped that the Synod would not want to "rush into" another group of sessions in February. It was "extremely important" to allow "time to reflect and refocus on how the consequences from yesterday's decision should be handled".

Material on "key matters" would not be ready, and there were not enough separate rooms available in London to enable work in groups to "strengthen relationships and grow in mutual understanding", as recommended by some people.

The content of the agenda would not justify the expenditure, and the committee believed that meeting three times in 2013 was not justified. There were only ten weeks left to prepare an agenda, and the new Archbishop of Canterbury would not yet have been enthroned.

Canon Pete Spiers (Liverpool) said that the Synod must meet sooner rather than later, and "truly listen to each other".

The Archdeacon of Hackney, the Ven. Rachel Treweek (London), said that not meeting till July would imply that members "couldn't bear to spend time with each other for another eight months". There was a need to "reimagine" the Synod.

Martin Dales (York) suggested a "sacred synod" before July, perhaps in the form of indaba meetings.

Timothy Allen (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) said that not to meet in February would be "negligent and complacent". The Church had lost credibility. Synodical procedures must be put into "overdrive".

The Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd Trevor Willmott (Canterbury), said that it was becoming "increasingly toxic" to meet at Church House. It was "utterly naïve" to think that a process could be devised in ten weeks to "repair the damage". The York meeting provided space "where we live together, eat together, and pray together" - a real place where communion could happen.

Sue Johns (Norwich) supported him. The Synod needed time to listen to the parishes, deaneries, and dioceses. Something "positive and meaningful" was needed.

Canon Ceila Thomson (Gloucester) said that, if the Synod met in February, she would ask that it include "biblical exegesis to correct some surprising theology mentioned yesterday".


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