A Maiden Speech

11 02 2011
Members of the General Synod of the Church of England come in different shapes and sizes. Some like to speak, make amendments, and submit questions; many others prefer to listen and exercise their judgement simply through voting.
I’m not sure which I would like to be – It is no secret that I like the sound of my own voice, but I’m also aware that a high profile in the chamber is not necessarily the same as being influential. Just like in Parliament, the really important stuff happens in the tea-rooms. Read the rest of this entry »
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A promising start from a new Synod

2 12 2010

Just like when you start at a new school, when you’re newly elected to Synod you are invited to an induction before the older boys and girls arrive. Well, on Monday 22nd November, the Synod support staff and a number of volunteers gave a pretty comprehensive induction. Nevertheless, the new-at-school worries remained: what if I fall over in front of everyone? Where do I go at lunch? Will I have any friends to talk to? Read the rest of this entry »





Cutting With Compassion

20 11 2010

“The Church is neither an arm of opposition, nor is it a wing of government” said the Bishop of Manchester to the diocesan Synod this morning.
The theme of his presidential address was compassion. He expressed his discomfort with the current political fashion for ‘fairness’, saying instead that we should be motivated by compassion. We should be biased – towards the poor, for they need our help.

Soon we will start to see how the Church makes it’s voice heard on the matter of cuts. If Bishop Nigel is anything to go by, it could be an interesting one.





We must open our eyes to reality

18 10 2010

Our assumptions about how people approach faith in the 21st Century are shockingly out of date.

A friend of mine was sitting next to me at a session hosted by Manchester Cathedral recently. We were meeting to explore what form a vibrant Christianity might take in today’s society. Although a remarkbly ‘in touch’ kinda guy, we discovered at the end of the meeting that my friend had been labouring under the assumption that everybody had been to Sunday School as a child…

Sylvia Collins Mayo has just released a book called ‘The Faith of Generation Y’. For those not tempted to part with £14,99 or the several hours involved, a podcast interview can be found here.

In essence, Collins Mayo has found that ‘Generation Y’ have not inherited many of their parents’ attitudes towards God and/or the Church. This means we have no instinctive loyalty to Christianity, but it also means that we are open to the whole idea.

The challenge for the Church is to make Faith and Christianity a relevant concept for the 21st Century. If we are to do this, we must abandon the assumptions of a by-gone era, and open our eyes to the reality before us.





Synod Success

14 10 2010

I’m delighted to report that the good electors of the Manchester deaneries have elected me to represent the diocese on General Synod.

The whole process of election is a rather peculiar one all-in-all. A ghost campaign was carried out largely through e-mail and a posted (snail Read the rest of this entry »





Synod Elections 2010

13 09 2010

For anybody who wasn’t satisfied by the thrill of the General Election earlier this year, do not panic! The Church of England is ready to top up your annual measure of electoral goodness.

The General Synod (the Church’s Parliament) is having elections this autumn and I’m standing to represent the Manchester Diocese in the House of Laity. Manchester has a great tradition of sending heavyweight members to General Synod, and I would like to add to that by providing a fresh perspective on the issues being faced by the national church.

You can read my Synod Election Address here, or e-mail me: james@jamestownsend.org with any questions you may have.





Sex on the brain

7 12 2009

There was quite a bit of fuss over the weekend, about the election of a new Episcopalian bishop in the States. Mary Glasspool is a lesbian, in a long-term relationship with her partner, and consequently her election has stirred up the whole issue of homosexuality again. Read the rest of this entry »