THE General Synod has welcomed the proposals in the report
On Wednesday afternoon, moving the motion to support the work of
his task group, the Bishop of Willesden, the Rt
Revd Pete Broadbent (Southern Suffragans), joked that he had
"simplified the Synod", after many members left the chamber at the
end of the previous debate.
His report was not about "deregulation", but was "all about
mission: mission, mission, mission", he said.
"We went to the dioceses, and they said there is a real problem
about mission. Mission wasn't working . . . and there are big
blockages about mission and growth that we need to tackle."
He gave an undertaking that "if you give us the mandate to take
this further we will consult with those who have no power - the
"The reality is that we can't do everything. What you have
before you is those that got the biggest votes from the dioceses as
causing the biggest blockages. . ."
The proposals included some "ill-formed ideas", because he
wanted the Synod to say whether they felt it was worth devoting
considerable time to tackling these.
Canon Jonathan Alderton-Ford (St Edmundsbury
& Ipswich) said that all the different reports from many
denominations showed that church-planting was the most effective
method of church growth, providing "growth at both ends".
But, he said, as in nature, plants that were transplanted too
soon would become diseased and die. Church-plants could suffer from
too little support or from too much interference. He called for
"less bureaucracy and more pastoring".
Peter Bruinvels (Guildford) said that he
welcomed the "light-touch" approach. He also said that holding
hearings in public was helpful.
The Revd Stephen Trott (Peterborough) noted
that much of canon law and the Church's structure came from the
Normans, whereas the Anglo-Saxons had a missionary rather than
pastoral model. He urged radical action to resolve the current
Timothy Allen (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich)
said that Bishop Broadbent's axe was actually aimed largely at more
recent legislation rather than ancient laws. "In contrast, the
proposal from the cathedral deans to abolish the
confirmation-of-election ceremony for bishops by amending the 1533
Act was turned down as too innovative. . . Don't throw out the good
with the bad," he warned.
Moving his amendment, the Revd Paul Benfield
(Blackburn) raised concerns about proposals concerning the
compensation for clergy for loss of office after pastoral
reorganisation. He warned that they would be "thrown on the
Bishop Broadbent emphasised that the proposals would all be
subject to synodical debate later.
The amendment was lost.
Cllr Robin Lunn (Worcester) praised the report,
and urged members to look at it whole rather than quibble over
Canon David Banting (Chelmsford) praised the
Bishop's Missions Orders, which had helped his own church in
planting. He also urged that patronage bodies be consulted.
The Revd Christopher Hobbs
(London) said that an agreement had been made with people who had
The resolution was clearly carried. It said:
That this Synod, welcoming the proposals in GS1980 and
noting the support that the Archbishops' Council, the Church
Commissioners and the House of Bishops have given them, invite the
Archbishops' Council and the Business Committee, in the light of
any comments from dioceses and others, to bring the necessary
amending legislation to the Synod for more detailed