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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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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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 »

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.

Making Choices

12 07 2009

[You can listen to this letter here, or subscribe by searching ‘James Townsend’ on iTunes Store.]

Learning how to teach is a fascinating business. Just a few years ago, I was sitting on the other side of the classroom. It all seemed very straightforward then: explain something to the class and get them to copy down some notes about it. If there was any trouble, a bit of shouting and threatening body language would do the trick. Read the rest of this entry »

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 Read the rest of this entry »