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Talk about Jesus, not the weather

by
22 November 2013

GEOFF CRAWFORD

THE General Synod has challenged every local church "prayerfully [to] try at least one new way . . . of seeking to make new disciples of Jesus Christ" in 2014. The challenge came in a debate on intentional evangelism moved by the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, on Monday evening.

The Archbishop recognised that not every Christian was an evangelist, but insisted that "every Christian is a witness. . . Witnesses are empowered by the Holy Spirit simply to share what they have experienced. . . All people in Britain experience weather, and they talk about it readily and repeatedly. If only disciples of Jesus Christ in England did the same about him; and he is infinitely greater than British weather."

In other business, the Synod held a debate about the importance and work of church schools, and the Church's engagement with community schools. In this debate, the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, who chairs the Board of Education and the National Society, urged the "widest possible use of the new Christianity Project", an evangelistic education initiative.

The Synod tackled a range of legislative business, giving an unopposed final approval to the Draft Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure, and near-unanimous final approval to the related Draft Amending Canon No. 31.

First consideration was given to two new draft Measures: the Draft Care of Churches and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction (Amendment) Measure, to simplify further the faculty process; and the Draft Church of England (Ecclesiastical Property) Measure, loosening some of the restrictions on the legal power of PCCs to hold property.

It also approved new regulations to increase the size of vacancy-in-see committees.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Synod rejected the establishment of an electoral college for elections by the laity to the General Synod and diocesan synods; and requested legislation allowing for online voting by 2020.

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