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General Synod digest: Standing Orders

04 December 2020
YouTube/Church of England

The Archbishop of Canterbury came briefly into the chamber after the debate to sign off Amending Canons 40

The Archbishop of Canterbury came briefly into the chamber after the debate to sign off Amending Canons 40

ON MONDAY afternoon, the General Synod voted in favour of a motion brought by Dr Jamie Harrison (Durham) to approve temporary Standing Orders for remote meetings for the next 12 months. It was carried by 331 to 15, with six recorded abstentions.

Much of the debate centred on an issue of accountability raised by David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich), which he made the subject of an amendment. A simple vote when the Synod met physically required only a show of hands, and, while that vote was not secret, it was not recorded. On Zoom, members’ names would remain on the screen, and their votes would be on public record. Mr Lamming suggested that the names should be removed when a simple vote was taken.

All speakers were opposed to the amendment. Canon Joyce Jones (Leeds) said that Synod members should be accountable for everything that they did. A show-of-hands vote could sometimes be on a significant issue. She urged: “Don’t make invisible what should be transparent.” Her view was echoed by Anne Foreman (Exeter), who said that members should always be able to justify how they voted.

The extra burden on Synod staff in temporarily removing the names was also an issue raised. The amendment was lost.

The Archbishop of Canterbury came briefly into the chamber after the debate to sign off Amending Canons 40 (Of religious communities, Of the titles of such as are to be ordained deacons or priests, Of ministers exercising their ministry, Of the licensing of ministers under seal) and 41 (Of the register book of services, Of Ecclesiastical Courts and Commissions, Of the chancellor or judge of a Consistory Court, Of the General Synod and the Convocations), both of which had received Royal Assent.

 

Click here for more reports from the November General Synod, held via Zoom last week

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