The consequences of the women bishops vote start to roll in

7 12 2012

gay-churchs600x600The Prime Minister has just announced that the government’s legislation introducing marriage for same-sex couples will include provision for religious organisations to host such ceremonies. This is a small shift in the detail of the legislation, but it represents a deeper readjustment of the government’s view towards the Church of England, and it is a direct consequence of the Women Bishops vote in November.

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26 11 2012

The Thinking Anglicans website have very kindly put together the voting roster with dioceses attached here. Members of the Manchester diocese may be interested to note how many of their representatives voted against the measure in the House of Laity.


Farewell to the Bishop of Manchester

22 11 2012

Th Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, the Bishop of Manchester, will shortly be retiring. At the November group of sessions, the Archbishop of York bade him farewell on behalf of the General Synod:

Youth Unemployment – how the CofE can help

22 11 2012

During what was an unquestionably disastrous group of session in London, the General Synod did have a few redeeming moments. One was a debate about youth unemployment, and how the Church of England might be well placed to respond.

We started with a video from the Church Urban Fund, who have produced the report “I’m one in a million“.

The motion of the debate was as follows:

That this Synod, mindful of the corrosive effect of unemployment on
young people, their future prospects and social integration, and
recognising that economic policy solutions alone cannot tackle the
problems without strong networks and initiatives in the community at
(a) encourage parishes and church groups to listen to the voices of
unemployed young people, both locally and through reports such as
“I Am One in a Million”, and
(b) commend and encourage the multiplication of church and
community initiatives which can provide training and other support to
assist young people into work and help them manage the experience
of unemployment without despair.


This was my contribution:

Difficult choices for the General Synod

18 11 2012

Members of the General Synod are starting to arrive in London for a special session. The Synod rarely meets in November, but in July we adjourned the final debate on a piece of legislation that would enable women to become bishops in the Church of England.

To onlookers, this issue seems such an obvious no-brainer that many people I speak with cannot understand why the Church is taking so long to settle the issue. Before the debate proper gets under way (there has been plenty of warm-up material on twitter, blogs and through the post), it's worth exploring what the real issues are.

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The Christian message has been lost in the gay marriage debate

12 03 2012

If Christians want to be heard in a debate about Gay marriage, they must think more carefully before they speak.

The church should never feel obliged to follow fashions, and keep in step with popular opinion. We forget at our peril that Christ made himself deeply unpopular – his message was so controversial that our ancestors were moved to crucify him.

Far from feeling intimidated when it seems the masses disagree, Christians should step up to the public platform and use the gospel to present challenging questions about the nature of our society.

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Surprising success at Synod

9 02 2012

Depending on where you read it, a summary of this week’s sessions at General Synod might tell you it was a disaster, or tell you it was a humiliating bun fight that achieved very little. I disagree – this synod was the most successful I have ever attended (I am shocked to be able to recall five previous meetings).

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