on business from the General Synod at Church House
For news on the day see General
The Synod approved this morning new
regulations concerning the admission
of Children to Holy Communion. The most
controversial part of these regulations is that they require that once a child
has been admitted in one church they should be admitted in all churches. Thus
without ever really approving and addressing the theological issues involved
the Synod has in effect imposed a new policy on all parishes.
At final approval only about 30 people voted against.
A following motion was put which would have strengthened the regulations by
requiring that children show evidence of genuine faith before they be admitted
to Communion. The Synod voted to move to next business, by 143 votes to 96,
Immediately afterwards the Third Estates Commissioner spoke about
the controversial sale of the Octavia Hill estate in London. Issues
around this property have been rumbling on for years and have frequently
made the national press. Many are pushing for the Commissioners to
allow the properties to be rented as affordable housing which means
below market rents and therefore at a loss. The Commissioner pointed
out that they have a legal duty to do the best out of their investments
and can only sell at less than market value with specific permission.
The report “Into
the New Quinquennium” was not taken due to lack of time.
Final business of the morning was a
private member’s motion from
Nigel Holmes of Carlisle regarding Reader Ministry.
His resolution arises from the confusing picture that now exists about
different forms of authorised ministry in the Church of England. The
resolution was amended and the final form was:
‘That this Synod, aware
that the work of the ten thousand Readers is crucial to the mission of
the Church, requests the Archbishops' Council to consider how this nationally
accredited office should be developed and readers more fully and effectively
deployed in the light of the welcome introduction of a great variety of
patterns of voluntary local ministry, both lay and ordained.’
In the afternoon a motion was debated
and passed on the human genome and moves within the European Union to allow
genetic material to be patented.
The original motion was:
That this Synod
(a) believe that the human genome is gifted by God to each individual and,
as such, should not be patentable;
(b) call for strict control on the availability of human genetic data;
(c) whilst recognising the need for appropriate intellectual property
protection regret that EU Directive 1998/44 makes legal provision for
the patenting of genetic material of human origin.’
An amendment called for a report by Feb 2007 looking into the theological,
ethical and legal implications of patenting human genome.
A debate then took place on Slavery.
Next year marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.
The resolution called attention to the involvement of the Church in slavery
in the past and sought to apologise for this. The motion also called for more
to be done to abolish the widespread practice of slavery in the UK and around
the world today.
The report “Into
the New Quinquennium” was not taken earlier in
the day due to lack of time but was debated late in the afternoon.
Final business was a report on hospital and health cared chaplaincy with a
resolution supporting those involved in this and calling upon Government and
health care bodies to ensure that provision continues to be made.