FEWER than one quarter of respondents to the Church
Times readership survey have confidence in the General Synod's
leadership. In contrast, nearly three-quarters have confidence in
the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Out of 4620 respondents, polled last summer and autumn, 73 per
cent agreed with the statement "I have confidence in the leadership
given by the Archbishop of Canterbury." Only seven per cent
When it came to the General Synod, however, only 23 per cent
agreed. Forty-one per cent were uncertain, and 37 per cent
Readers were asked about other forms of leadership. The next
most popular category was "My local clergy", approved by 69 per
cent (71 per cent among lay respondents); then came "my diocesan
bishop" (63 per cent). The Archbishops' Council scored 37 per cent.
Nearly half those responding were unsure about it.
The survey also asked about lay involvement in leading services.
There was widespread approval of lay people leading morning and
evening prayer (91 per cent) and preaching at the (83 per cent);
leading the first part of a communion service (70 per cent), and
preaching at it (76 per cent).
The figures reversed, however, when it came to lay presidency at
communion services. Overall, only 20 per cent approved; 68 per cent
disagreed. Slightly more lay people were in favour (24 per cent).
The clergy, however, were more strongly opposed: only 13 per cent
were in favour; 79 per cent were against.
Question of the week: Do you trust
the leadership of the General Synod?
Sexual-morality divide exposed
THE Church Times survey has exposed a
huge divide on sexual morality which church policy-makers may wish
to deal with.
Professor Andrew Village, who helped devise the survey
with Professor Leslie Francis, correlated the answers given in the
morality section with the respondents' church tradition, classed
loosely as Anglo-Catholic, Evangelical, and "Broad", i.e. those
between the two poles.
Roughly 60 per cent of Anglo-Catholics agreed with
ordaining practising homosexuals as priests and bishops (62 per
cent and 59 per cent respectively). Among Broad Anglicans the
figure was still 57 and 54 per cent. For Evangelicals, however, the
figures dropped to 20 per cent and 19 per cent. Nor were there many
don't-knows among the Evangelicals: 63 per cent were against
practising gay priests, and 65 per cent against gay bishops. If the
gay priest or bishop was celibate, 67 per cent of Evangelicals
Regarding same-sex marriage in church, Anglo-Catholic
and Broad Church respondents mildly
disapproved (40 and 37 per cent approved of it; 43 per cent
in both parties disapproved). Among Evangelicals, 75 per cent
disapproved; 12 per cent voted for it. And 51 per cent of
Evangelicals disagreed with even the idea of a blessing of some
About one quarter of Anglo-Catholics and Broad
Churchpeople agreed that it was wrong for men and women to have sex
before marriage. More than half (58 per cent and 51 per cent,
respectively) disagreed. Among Evangelicals, 66 per cent agreed it
was wrong, and only 20 per cent disagreed.
Sixty-two per cent of Anglo-Catholics disagreed with the
statement that it was wrong of people of the same sex to have sex,
and 21 per cent agreed; in the Broad category, the figures were 54
and 24 per cent; for Evangelicals, 20 per cent disagreed, and 66
per cent agreed.
All groups agreed strongly that divorced people should
be allowed to marry again in church. Only five per cent of the
Broad Church category disagreed, compared with 11 per cent of both
Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals.
In the light of this, one part at least of the agenda of
next week's General Synod seems less contentious: women bishops
were approved by 76 per cent of Anglo-Catholics and 77 per cent of
Evangelicals. Those in the Broad Church category were 93 per cent