Synod to debate the country’s ‘entrenched and intractable social divisions’

25 January 2019

PA

Rival protesters clash in Trafalgar Square as people take part in an anti-fascist counter-demonstration against a "Brexit Betrayal" march and rally organised by Ukip, in central London, in December

Rival protesters clash in Trafalgar Square as people take part in an anti-fascist counter-demonstration against a "Brexit Betrayal" march and rally or...

POLITICIANS should call on “Christian hope and reconciliation” to help the country through a time of “entrenched and intractable” social divisions, a special Synod motion tabled by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York says.

The motion will be debated at a meeting of the General Synod at Church House, Westminster next month.

Echoing the prayer for Brexit that Archbishop Welby and Dr Sentamu released last week (News, 18 January), the motion urges the nations leaders “drawing on Christian hope and reconciliation, to work together for that common good at this time of division”.

The motion says that “social divisions feel more entrenched and intractable than for many years”, and that divisions in major political parties are “stifling the emergence of a hopeful and viable vision for the common good in our communities”.

It calls upon every diocese and parish to pray for politicians and civil servants regularly.

In a speech in the House of Lords this month, Archbishop Welby spoke of “the personalised nature of the threats” against MPs, “whether personally, online or other means”. He called for “active leadership . . . against such threats”, which “must require now — not after 29 March — examples of reconciliation by public figures who have differed most profoundly during this painful process over the last two or three years. That is leadership.”

The inclusion of the Archbishops’ motion means that there have been some changes to the timetable, which was originally published in December. A motion from Southwark diocesan synod on refugee professionals is no longer on the main agenda, but is listed as contingency business. A motion from Leeds diocesan synod on disadvantaged communities is also now not listed as contingency business, since the Southwark motion is higher up in order of preference of diocesan motions.

The amended timetable and agenda have been published on the Church of England website, along with the first set of Synod papers.

The full motion tabled by the Archbishops reads:

That this Synod, knowing through the experiences of parishes across the country that social divisions feel more entrenched and intractable than for many years, and concerned at the divisions within the major political parties which are stifling the emergence of a hopeful and viable vision for the common good in our communities:

  • call upon every diocese and parish regularly to hold in prayer their local MPs and politicians and the members of Her Majesty’s Government and civil servants, seeking God’s strength and wisdom for the responsibilities they bear;
  • reaffirm the Christian commitment to putting the voices of the poor and marginalised at the heart of the nation’s concerns; and
  • call upon the nation’s leaders, drawing on Christian hope and reconciliation, to work together for that common good at this time of division.

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