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General Synod digest: ‘prepare to face sorrows and failures’ says Archbishop of York

15 July 2022
Sam Atkins/Church Times

The Archbishop of York delivers his presidential address

The Archbishop of York delivers his presidential address

Presidential address

THE Archbishop of York, delivering his presidential address last Friday, warned General Synod members of the cost of following Christ and being his Church.

The Church of England must be ready to suffer in its mission, and “prepared to face the sorrows and the failures”, Archbishop Cottrell said. Many would think of the Church as “woke, naïve, misguided, too liberal, or too conservative”, as a consequence. “Our hearts will be pierced,” much like Mary’s at the foot of the cross, he said. There would also be difficult decisions about how to resource and plan the Church’s ministry.

Quoting a Victorian Principal of Cuddesdon Theological College (H. H. Swinny), Archbishop Cottrell said: “We all try to do too much and don’t give enough time to earnest quiet thought. . . We shall accomplish more by attempting less.”

This was at the heart of the Vision and Strategy programme, unveiled last year for the Church: it meant a renewal of prayer, contemplation, the pursuit of holiness, and a “poverty of Spirit’, he said. “A so-called Vision and Strategy is simply a call — a call to centre our lives in Christ.”

After sketching out his own vision of humble, prayerful, suffering leadership as the Archbishop of York, he made a sideways reference to the political turmoil in Westminster and downfall of Boris Johnson, asking the Synod: “Don’t we need this sort of leadership in our nation as well as our Church?”

He closed by welcoming the Synod back to York, after a two-year Covid-induced absence, and hoped that they would find it “a place of peace and restoration”. Yes, there was a cost to the work that they had to do, he concluded, but they would be upheld by the “everlasting arms of an ever-loving God”.

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