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General Synod: appointments and farewells


The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu

The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu

THE Synod reappointed John Spence, who chairs the Finance Committee, as a member of the Archbishops’ Council until 30 September 2021.

The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, moving the motion, expressed his congratulations to Mrs Spence on her recent appointment as Mayor of Chelmsford. Mr Spence had served the Church in many ways. Since he was appointed five years ago, he had changed the way grants were issued to dioceses, and facilitated learning around the Church’s funding.

The Archbishops’ Council was funding digital evangelism in new and creative ways; he thanked Mr Spence for pushing these plans forward, and managing the workload of the Council. He was grateful that he was willing to serve for a further three years.

Adrian Greenwood (Southwark) was the newest member of the Archbishops’ Council, where he was in awe of Mr Spence. He had brought amazing attention to detail combined with a clear vision of the future. Archbishop Welby had established the evangelism task group, but it was Mr Spence who had made it happen. He commended the report from the evangelism task group.

Mark Russell (Sheffield) agreed. He had served on the Synod for ten years, under three chairs. Mr Spence was gifted and able, he said. He paid tribute to his capacity and brain, and his commitment to evangelism and younger people, social media, poverty, and community. “We are remarkably well served by this incredible individual.”

The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, said that it was well-known that many things came from the Chelmsford diocese, including the new chief executive of the Pensions Board, who had been Chelmsford Diocesan Secretary.

He had met Mr Spence when he chaired the diocesan board of finance. He had the greatest command of the paperwork. “I see another side to him that you do not see. . . He and Ivonne run the ‘John and Ivonne worship’ at the cathedral, and the catering. John has many gifts, but right at the heart he is a servant. We were sorry to lose him to the national Church, but how blessed the Church is.”

The motion was carried.



THE Synod bade its farewells on Tuesday afternoon.

The Clerk to the Synod, Dr Jacqui Phillips, spoke about Sion Hughes Carew, the Administrative Secretary to the Legal Office Synod Team. He had been in office since July 2013. He had projected motions and amendments and operated the electronic voting system with professionalism and panache, she said. He had been recommended for training for the ordained ministry at Westcott House.

The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, bade farewell to the chair of the Dioceses Commission, Professor Michael Clarke, who had served the Synod for 28 years. He had chaired many “tricky” debates, including a debate on the revision stage of the draft women-bishops Measure. The order paper ran to 37 pages.

He had also been active in the diocese of Worcester, and had been awarded the Canterbury Cross by the Archbishop of Canterbury earlier this year. “He will be a very hard act to follow, but I wish him well-earned respite from national church responsibilities,” Dr Sentamu said. Professor Clarke received a round of applause.

Dr Sentamu also said farewell to the retiring Bishop of Derby, Dr Alastair Redfern. “I suspect you are feeling uncomfortable,” he began, “because you are a very private person, and won’t relish me talking about you, and for all of us wanting to say thank you.”

He described Dr Redfern as a “thoughtful and caring” bishop, and showed photographs of his work, which included teaching laity and clergy, overseeing the development of “super-deaneries”, supporting church schools, and the impressive work that he had done to “highlight the horror” of modern slavery.

He had founded the Clewer Initiative for this purpose, had worked “exceptionally hard” to bring the Modern Slavery Bill through Parliament, chaired the Independent Slavery Panel, and founded the Derby and Derbyshire Modern Slavery Partnership. The Synod stood to applaud him.

Read a report of every General Synod presentation and debate from York 2018, here

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