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 General Synod Report 9 February 2009

Report on business from the General Synod at Church House Westminster, Monday 9 February 2009.


After the customary welcomes and notices the Synod received the report of the Business Committee. One area of concern addressed in this by several speakers are the proposed changes to board and councils. A presentation is to be made tomorrow (Tuesday) with a view to debate in July.  If agreed it appears that the present Boards and Councils would be replaced and Synod members instead of having active input in those areas would be confined to some sort of monitoring.  It was pointed out that five of the eight members elected by General Synod to the Archbishops Council had opposed the substance of the proposals.  The otherwise dull presentation tomorrow may turn out to be quite lively.

The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke introducing Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. The Cardinal then addressed the Synod speaking about the approach of the Anglican Roman-Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and in particular what led to the second report of their second phase, Church as Communion. During the course of the talk the Cardinal did demonstrate the Roman focus on the institution. He said that in some senses 'unity is a pre-requisite to truth', though evangelicals insist from Scripture that the reverse is true. He also said that one of the responses to ARCIC was that Anglicans needed to deepen their unity, maybe in their structures of Authority.The Cardinal also pointed to the need for Anglicans and Roman Catholics to work together in the UK becaue of the challenges for Christians in a secular society.

ARCIC report, "Church as Communion".

This was a fairly dull debate on this take note motion on a report on a report.  A number of issues were raised but it was never likely to prove very exciting.

Some snippets from the questions and answers:

  • In 2008 the Church Commissioners budgeted £8.5 million for the repair of See Houses (where Bishops live), including Lambeth Palace and its library.
  • The Lambeth Conference organising company eventually had to borrow £388,000 from the Archbishops Council and the Church Commissioners to cover its losses.  Of this £288,000 is still outstanding.
  • The Archbishop of York resisted calls for the House of Bishops to call the nation to prayer over the present “financial crisis”.
  • Attention was drawn to the remarks of one of the Bishops in January that “it is ridiculous to say that the Bible is one consistent argument about these (sexuality) issues”.
  • A typical debate of 1.5 hours costs about £13,000 in addition to the general costs of staging a meeting of the General Synod.
  • The past issues at Wycliffe Hall were again raised this time in relation to how deep a Bishops regular inspection will dig.

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