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General Synod in 24 Snippets

General Synod in 24 Snippets
It is not easy to summarise 4 days of debate - so this time Anglican Futures has picked out four key themes of Synod and using the record of the official Livestream,
allowed members to 'speak for themselves'.

July 12, 2023

There is a serious lack of trust

1. Jane Ozanne, Lay member
"Chair, I believe the time has come for us to have an emergency debate on the broken state of our Church, or perhaps put more bluntly, in our confidence in our national structures namely in relation to Synod, the Archbishops' Council. For trust is broken and please let's be honest about that."

2. Prudence Dailey, Lay member
"I would like to echo some of the concerns raised, particularly by Jane Ozanne and Helen King... I've been here a long time, since 2000, and, yes, things have always been a bit niggly in a group like General Synod, but the concern s that they expressed, things have changed. There definitely is a sense more that Synod is being bypassed and managed more than is the case in the past."

3a. Sam Margrave, Lay member
"As a statement of fact how did the Archbishops' vote on this matter?"

3b. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury (after discussion with lawyers)
"Both Archbishops wished to wait a bit."

3c. Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York
"And the decisions we made in getting here were unanimous"

3d. Robert Thompson
"Given Justin's answer to Sam Margrave yesterday... many of us in the chamber feel that Justin may well have lied in Synod yesterday and that also needs to be dealt with"

4. Sir David Lidlington, Chair of National Church Governance Project Board
"Let me be frank, having never previously been involved in church governance, I have been personally shocked by the depth of resentment and mistrust that pervades relationships between different organisations, traditions and people within the church family. Governance reform will not on it's own deliver the cultural change needed, but it can help and without governance reform I think it will be very hard to overcome mistrust."

The divisions and difficulties of implementing LLF are becoming obvious

5. Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, Chair of LLF
"Some people here will feel that sexuality is a salvation issue and one of my things is have we therefore changed the Church of England's doctrine around marriage? Because it probably wasn't historically a salvation issue."

6. Andrew Watson, Bishop of Guildford, (Pastoral Reassurance Impementation Group)
"I do question quite how we get from here to there and that is quite a major concern for us at the moment - because I am not sure the process will get from here to there -- certainly at the time frame we are looking at."

7. Debbie Sellin, Bishop of Southampton (Pastoral Guidance Implementation Group)
"Ambiguity in people's minds about what happened in February -- I think as we have explored more and more, we realise that we can come into a room like this, we can take a vote, but what's happened in that vote - different people see differently. So, when you then begin to unpick this, you realise assumptions that have been made about certain things. "

8. Ian Paul, Clergy member
"How do we rebuild trust when we are told, "Pay attention to power," then we are now told these things are going to bypass Synod and they are going to be commended by the Archbishops -- the greatest possible concentration of power
How do we rebuild trust, when we are told by the board here -- that we want to approach something in a celebratory way, which is clearly contrary to the doctrine of the church -- all the while upholding the doctrine of the church at the same time.
There is a massive trust deficit it seems to me both in and outside the church. from every side of this discussion - so my question is - how and when are we going to rebuild that trust? Are we going to get to the point of saying actually this is an irreconcilable difference and be honest about it?"

9. Jane Ozanne, Lay member
"We are going to keep on having these conversations unless we can make room for each other. Dear conservatieve friends you can't force me to believe something I don't believe. You can't force me to believe that God does not want to bless me. For goodness sake, I don't want to come to your church and be blessed in a church where you don't believe that. Nor do any of my friends. We are not going to be turning up in droves making you bless us. That's the worst thing possible. [applause] "

10. Charlie Skrine, Clergy member
"Four of the bishops on the panel have identified the question whether sexual intimacy outside of heterosexual marriage, in the new CofE we are going to be in -- is that going to be holy or is it going to be sinful? And my reflection on the implementation groups is that it is not actually about the speed or whether we all met together - is actually that it is impossible to make progress without the answer to that question."

11. Ros Clarke, Lay member
"It remains clear however, and even Bishop Sarah acknowledged at the beginning, despite all those good conversations, the sharing, the hearing, the growing of fellowship, and friednship there remains a profound disagreement on these issues. Some feel that the disagreement needs to be lived with, as we walk together despite the tension that brings. Some, both I think some of those who wish the prayers of love and faith had gone very much further, and certainly some of those of us who think they have already gone too far, feel the disagreement is too deep and too serious for walking together to continue in any meaningful sense...
... but it may also be the case that there is simply no time frame that will be long enough to square this circle. I think we may have set the group an impossible task and I wonder at what point we could begin to admit that disagreement in this case is not good disagreement and walking together is not a realistic goal. So my question is this, 'Is there any room in the process which might allow that kind of thinking the unthinkable?'"

12. Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover
"It strikes me that all our children and grandchildren are having sex -- they are having sex. And yet I do not hear us saying we are not going to walk with them we are going to keep them in another... outhouse.
And to hear brothers and sisters speaking so glibly, as if it is normal -- if we don't quite get this how we want it or we are just going to have differentiation again, as we did with the women bishops - Actually the women bishops thing ain't working -- we are paying the price of it. [10 seconds applause]"

13. Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, Acting Archdeacon of Liverpool
"Let's talk about the Song of Songs and that beautiful image and use of desire - no suggestion at all that the two people in Song of Songs were married .... I don't believe that the sex I had with my husband before we got married was entirely sinful, and then on the day of our marriage it suddenly flipped into being entirely holy."

There are very serious problems with the national approach to safeguarding
(There were debates about the sacking of Independent safeguarding Board (ISB) members, and a new redress scheme and a Code of Practice for safeguarding reviews as well as an attempt to debate the need for a fully independent review of national safeguarding structures)

14. Jane Chevous, Survivor
"For as we learned this weekend - getting the papers prepared for Synod was more important than the lives of survivors. At 12.17 that day, Jasvinder phoned me to share the devastating news -- I felt like my whole world had crumbled around me. I had trusted the ISB. I had hope. And now that hope had been snatched from me and trampled underfoot."

15. Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York
"First of all, I'm going to ask Tim to tell the story of why we've got to where we've got to. Then, I'm going to ask Alison to speak about the important issue that Jane has already raised about interim arrangements, acknowledging that actually in some of the announcements that were made, by myself as well as others, in the immediate aftermath of this decision, were not as clear as they should be, in fact may have been unintentionally a little misleading."

16. Steve Reeves, ex-member of the Independent Safeguarding Board
"The meaning of words in this context is very different to the rest of society. It is very clear to me that when the Church, or the Archbishop's Council talks about independence they do not mean independence in the way that you and I and the average person on the street mean independence. They mean semi-detached. When they say trust.... what they mean is obedience. When they talk about communication... they mean loyalty."

17. Lindsay Llewellyn-Macduff, Clergy member
"Redress seems the obvious solution to the inheritance the Church of England are trying earnestly to process. But however good this looks I don't think this redress will necessarily end the circle of mistrust, grievance and injury that we keep lapping. And I don't think it is the solution because I think there is a deeper problem and we will keep circling this drain until we address it -- because the Church of England has a problem with power."

It is important to know your Standing Orders

18. Gavin Drake, Lay member
"There is a standing order that allows for the suspension of standing orders and can I propose we do that to give you the power to invite the two ISB members to speak ..."

19. Debbie Buggs, Lay member
Under standing order 120 the president may invite such persons as they think fit to address Synod, so I ask the Archbishop in his capacity as President, to ask Steven and Jasvinder to address Synod, please.

20. Martin Sewell, Lay member
I am here to raise a benign point of order to avoid you keeping a disorderly house.

And in case you missed it...

21. Clive Mather, Chair of the Church of England's Penison Board
"If there is one issue that which we all need to apply ourselves, personally, professionally in all our various roles -- and not least on our knees -- it's climate change."

22. Barry Hill, Clergy member
"If you are part of the Church of England you are three times more likely to die this year than if you are not."

23. Amanda Robbie, Lay member
"So, please join me in voting for this measure to make the Church of England less bad."

24. Tom Woolford, Clergy member
"Bishops, I can't think of a reason why you would vote for it, but I hope you do anyway."

For more and to watch videos from Synod click here:


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