Notes from Synod

11 07 2009

It really is rather surreal to be back on campus at the University of York, but not as a student. The General Synod of the Church of England hold their Summer session here every year.

Discussion this afternoon has been dominated by financial matters. Synod were given a dramatic presentation on how the Church’s pension plans have fallen apart as a result of the recession. They all took it in a very anglican way, only becoming slightly uncomfortable when a graph was presented that show the planned deficit of £120m had slipped to over £350m in the last year.

The presentation was followed by a debate about the budget of the Archbishops’ Council. That’s the pot of money used to fund quite a few of the most important projects – training priests, youth workers, university chaplains etc. Consequently we effectively had a balloon debate, with each speaker defending the right of their project to be saved from the cull.

My colleagues on the Church of England Youth Council are extremely aggravated by the threatened abolition of Diocesan Youth Workers. The Bishop of Lincoln made a superb (and witty) speech asking where our priorities lay (developing the next generation of Anglicans or with central bureaucracy) and whether our funding decisions displayed that. The Bishop of Willesden explained that we had to be careful, or the Church would end up merely serving up moist quiche and cucumber sandwiches in a few years’ time.

All in all it seems the budget team will have a hard job making any progress. They seem to have done themselves no favours by referring in an earlier document to ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ activities. That has now been changed to ‘organisationally unavoidable’ but the damage has been done.

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One response

13 07 2009
Mark Russell

James – awesome blog of Synod! It was great to see you again!!

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