THE July meeting of the General Synod will now take place remotely, because of the four-week delay in lockdown easing which was announced this week.
The meeting had been scheduled to take place at Church House, Westminster, when it was thought that all legal restrictions on social contact, mask-wearing, and indoor and outdoor gatherings would end on 21 June. The Prime Minister said on Monday, however, that most restrictions would remain in place until at least 19 July, because of concerns about the rapid spread of the Delta variant, first seen in India.
A statement from Church House, issued on Thursday, says: “Synod’s Business Committee examined alternatives including a hybrid meeting or reduced attendance to comply with restrictions but has reluctantly concluded that the only viable option is to hold the group of sessions from July 9 to 12 remotely.
“As a result, the timetable for the event has been slimmed down slightly, with some items better suited to a face-to-face meeting postponed and some extra screen breaks introduced.”
In a letter to Synod members, the Clerk to the Synod, Dr Jacqui Philips, writes: “The Committee gave careful consideration to all options, including an in-person meeting, a hybrid meeting and a remote meeting.
“The Committee took legal advice regarding the ongoing restrictions and considered the health and safety options for a physical, socially-distanced meeting in Church House Westminster.
“Having done so, the Committee very reluctantly concluded that the only safe and deliverable option for next month is for Synod to meet on a remote basis.”
Papers for the July group of sessions will be published on 24 June, on the Synod section of the Church of England website. The revised timetable is now available.
The last meeting of the Synod, in April, was held online (News, 30 April).