England’s Synod agenda built around women bishop question

Posted Jun 20, 2014

[Anglican Communion News Service] The General Synod of the Church of England meets in York in July for a five day meeting July 11-15.

The agenda for the meeting was published June 20. The agenda is constructed around a sequence of legislative business on women in the episcopate. This will begin on the afternoon of July 11 with the Report by the Business Committee on the Article 8 Reference to the dioceses.

This will be followed by the Final Drafting Stage for the Measure and Amending Canon. The House of Bishops will meet on the morning of July 12 for its consideration of the draft legislation under Article 7 of the Synod’s Constitution. The agenda allows alternative scenarios for the afternoon of July 13 to enable the Convocations and the House of Laity to debate the draft legislation if they claim a reference under Article 7.  If these stages are completed, the Synod will take the Final Approval stage during the morning of July 14.

On the afternoon of Friday 11 July, the Synod will be debating the first consideration of the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure and the associated Amending Canon No.34, which give effect to proposals in developed in response to the reports of the Chichester commissaries and approved by the Synod in February.  Changes will include making it easier to suspend clergy, or bring complaints against them, where abuse is alleged, enabling bishops to compel clergy to undergo risk assessments and imposing a duty on clergy,churchwardens and PCCs to have due regard to the House of Bishops’ safeguarding policies.

On the afternoon of July 12, the General Synod will be addressed by the US writer and theologian the Rev. Jim Wallis. Wallis is the president and founder of Sojourners magazine and the author “On God’s Side.” This will be followed by group work by Synod members on the same theme, culminating in a debate later that afternoon on a motion from the Mission and Public Affairs Council.

On July13  there will be a presentation by the president and CEO designate of the newly-established Churches’ Mutual Credit Union. The aim of the CMCU is to provide a mutual ethical vehicle for tax efficient savings and affordable loans for clergy and staff of church charities. It is hoped that the establishment of the CMCU will help to support and strengthen the credit union movement and provide a viable, ethical alternative to mainstream banking for people irrespective of their financial status. Also on July 13 the Synod will be debating the draft new Additional Texts for Holy Baptism in accessible language which have been drawn up by the Liturgical Commission and which have been passed by the House of Bishops to the Synod for First Consideration.

On the morning of July 14 there will be a presentation followed by a debate on a motion promoted by the Mission and Public Affairs Council on The Armed Forces Covenant and Community Covenant. The motion invites many community bodies, including local authorities, churches and others to join the initiative which offers pastoral care for members of the Armed Forces Community.  The opening presentation will be from the new Bishop to the Armed Forces, the Rt. Rev. Nigel Stock.

There will be a debate on the commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta on a motion moved on behalf of the Guildford Diocesan Synod.  A motion on the Spare Room Subsidy from the Diocese of Bradford (now part of the diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales) is listed as contingency business.  A Private Member’s Motion from the Rev. Christopher Hobbs on Canon B 8 (vesture), postponed from the previous Group of Sessions is scheduled for the evening of July. 12

This group of sessions has a substantial legislative program in addition to the items already mentioned, including legislation on synodical elections, ecclesiastical property, the faculty jurisdiction and pensions.

The full agenda can be viewed here.

Synod papers can be found here.