Notes from Synod (3)

12 07 2009

Crikey, I am exhausted. It’s amazing how active the role of ‘observer’ is.

Last night’s activities in the Synod Chamber were a pretty dry and straightforward discussion of the reports from the Church Commissioners and the Archbishops’ Council. Apart from the perhaps inevitable resentment towards the central institutions of the Church, nothing much to report.

Later, we moved onto the Fringe events. Us CEYC folk are celebrating our fifth birthday this year so held a little party and invited everybody along. We played ‘pass the parcel’ and ‘pin the mitre on the archbishop’. I’m not sure it helped break down any stereotypes about young people in the church very much, but there was an extremely good response and turnout. A lot of the more established members of Synod are encouring us young ‘uns to stand at the elections next year. Something to think about, but I think worth waiting a few years.

A rather late (and port-fuelled) night was followed by an early start. The Secretary General of the Synod joined us for breakfast (he’s what Ban Ki Moon is to the United Nations). An interesting man, and very articulate on the workings of Synod. I was more struck, though, by the response of my fellow CEYC members. After all the anger and frustration of yesterday, nobody thought to bring up the fact that a discussion on Youth issues had been dropped from the Synod’s agenda at the last minute. A shame, because that would have been a perfect opportunity to communicate to a senior figure quite how strongly some people feel about it.

The service this morning was a hoot. The whole synod – members, officers, observers and staff – joined the congregation at York Minster for Sung Eucharist. The most practical way of getting us all from the University campus to the Minster was by coach, which inevitably looked a little silly. It felt rather like the Church of England – ‘on tour’. The tourists were rather confused by the swarm of cassocks and dog collars overwhelming them.

Rowan Williams presided, and John Sentamu preached. I’ve heard Williams talk before, but not lead a service. He has a magnificent voice for it and carries the whole thing very well. All in all a lovely service to end an exhausting, but interesting weekend. Synod continues until tomorrow, but some of us have work to do…

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