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General Synod digest: introduction and welcomes

15 July 2022
Sam Atkins/Church Times

The Archbishop of the Congo, Dr Titre Ande Georges, addresses the General Synod on Friday

The Archbishop of the Congo, Dr Titre Ande Georges, addresses the General Synod on Friday

WELCOMING the General Synod back to the University of York, on Friday afternoon, after a three-year absence, the Archbishop of York said: “It’s grim down south; so we’re delighted to be back here.”

The present Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Charlie Jeffery, recalled the Synod’s first meeting there in 1971, presided over by Archbishop Donald Coggan. The university opened in 1963. He told the Synod: “The university exists because of the extraordinary commitment of citizens of York . . . thanks to the Minster and our Archbishops of York, who helped us get off to a good start. I hope we are repaying the faith you invested in us.”

Unity — “not to be confused with uniformity” — was the theme of the opening worship, led by the Chaplain to the Synod, the Revd Andrew Hammond.

Archbishop Cottrell later welcomed the Prolocutors and their deputies for each Province, and new and co-opted members, few of whom were in the chamber, leading the Archbishop to observe: “We’re quorate [in the House of Bishops], I think, but it’s looking a bit dodgy. . .”

He gave a particular welcome to the recently appointed Third Church Estates Commissioner, Canon Flora Winfield; to the visiting Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Revd Mark Strange; and to the Archbishop of the Congo, Dr Titre Ande Georges, who briefly addressed the Synod.

The difficulties of gathering people together, including the problem of transport, had meant that his Province could only hold a Synod once every three years, the Archbishop said. “That brings a lot of challenges, because a lot can change in three years. We fight against poverty and health issues, and all that is discussed in Synod. . . If we don’t, people will suffer.”

He reminded the Synod that fighting continued in eastern Congo. “We are still working for peace. Pray for that,” he said. “The context is different here [in York], and the issues are different. In our Province, we are busy with mission and evangelism. We stand for the people; we are involved with government. Pray for the Congo, for peace, for the Lambeth Conference.”

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