Introductions and welcomes.
AFTER welcoming Prince Edward, who read a message to the new General Synod on behalf of the Queen (above), the Archbishop of Canterbury introduced the first item of business of the new quinquennium. For those who were new to the Synod, it was normal to have a siesta after lunch, especially during presidential addresses, Archbishop Welby joked. Returning members welcomed newly elected members with a round of applause.
The Archbishop welcomed Alan Smith (ex officio) to his new appointment as First Church Estates Commissioner (News, 30 July), describing him as a person with a “profound sense of vocation to this role and a passion for the mission of the Church”.
After growing up in Barbados, Mr Smith had moved in the 1980s to London, where he had worked in banking and investment. His experience in sustainability would assist the Church in changing culture to protect God’s creation better, the Archbishop said. “Alan is a thoughtful and profoundly well-read Christian.”
Mr Smith had also worked on justice issues throughout his career and had encouraged the C of E to continue to explore its connections to the slave trade and speak out with compassion and knowledge on racial injustice. “I very much look forward to our partnership and all we can achieve together,” the Archbishop concluded.
Mr Smith responded by thanking his predecessor, Loretta Minghella, for leaving him with a “clean slate” when he began his work last month. He thanked his namesake, the Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, for “smoothing his path” into the C of E, noting how he had already been mistaken for his episcopal colleague several times.
Mr Smith spoke warmly of his family’s heritage in the Anglican Church, which dated back two centuries to a predecessor, who, after gaining his freedom from slavery, spent his life maintaining Anglican church buildings in Barbados. His life could be summed up in a series of “Bs”, he said: born in Bahamas, raised in Barbados, British for the past 36 years, bearded, balding, and black. But most important, Mr Smith said, was another B: a brother in Christ.