Heading to Synod

‘Check before you travel!’ is the advice this morning. Well, unless people managed to get down to London yesterday there will be many members of the General Synod making the journey to London this morning.  Most, I suspect, will be coming by train and so the effects of Storm Ciara will be felt by them.


Check before you travel!

One of the essential features of a Synod like this is that it brings together people from across England, from each of the 42 dioceses.  PCCs (Parochial Church Councils), Deanery Synods and Diocesan Synods all tend, and rightly so, to have a narrow view on things – how will it affect this parish, this deanery, this diocese; what do we need here, now? But General Synod has to look more widely than that and try to hear voices from across the Church of England.  That is why people will be making the journey today from Newcastle and Carlisle, as well as Truro and Canterbury.  And it’s not just the geographical extremes but the very nature of the places that we come from which makes the Synod such a unique experience – the very rural dioceses, like Hereford, the post-industrial, like Sheffield, the urban, like Birmingham and the metropolitan, like London and of course, Southwark.  Then add to that the dimension of church tradition and you get a very exciting mix!

If everyone manages to get to Westminster, and eventually they will, there is some interesting stuff for us from our disparate backgrounds to consider.  There is the Cathedrals Measure, for instance, something with which I have been heavily involved.  I have chaired the meetings of the Revision Committee which met during the autumn and our report and the revised Draft Measure come to Synod on Tuesday morning.  There is the wider issue of Climate Change and a debate on the lessons learned from the experiences of the Windrush Generation.  There will, of course, be sex (it wouldn’t be the CofE without it) in an update in the Living in Faith and Love project. There is a fascinating piece of legislation on the future of the Channel Islands, or at least which diocese they are to be part of.  There will be an update on and a response to the IICSA hearings and some items relating to poverty in the UK, most interestingly on the future of ‘Pauper Funerals’.

This is all pretty big stuff that has implications for all dioceses, wherever we are in England and whatever we are like, socially, environmentally, politically.  But first, people have to get to London!

God, bless the meeting of General Synod.
Guide us by your Holy Spirit
in our discussions and our decisions
to seek your kingdom now, here
and in all things to give glory to you.

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