I’ve just finished listening (and a bit of watching too) to the four hour eighteen minutes worth of YouTube footage of the Friday 7/7/17 afternoon session of the Church of England’s Synod. You can find the agenda and papers here.
As a member of the CofE for sometime I was curious as to what happens at these events. The 5 things that struck me from the session were:
1) The sparkiest moment was when Andrea Williams from Chichester diocese attempted (unsuccessfully) to raise a point of order (its 28 minutes in on the Youtube clip)
2) In some debates the majority of time seems to be on amendments and points of order rather than the essence of the issue – so in the “Still small voice of calm debate” – which was meant to be about the CofE’s contribution to the current debate about the vision for our nation – one of the opening addresses suggested that the moral underpinnings to a christian input to this debate should be based on: 1) The equal value of each of us; 2) that all should have opportunities to flourish; 3) that human inter-relatedness is important; 4) as is a responsibility for ourselves and others.
But actually most of the amendments and debates weren’t about these 4 points or the seesnce of the agenda item (it seems to me) but were either attempts to amend the debate to add on points representing a particular interests point of view – so (for example) – what about scotland, what about the centrality of the gospel, should’nt we be proposing proportional representation OR comments about this debate being motherhood statements or calls to end the debate.
3) There’s a fair bit of formal procedure – I guess thats because in some respects the Synod is kind of like the church’s parliament (except people aren’t voted on by a one CofE member one vote process but by Diocese Synods which in part are made up of people the Deanery synods put forward). This whole who gets onto Synod is in a way a bit ironic as if you’ve been on a PCC you’ll know that the Deanery Synod Rep jobs are often the ones people try and avoid.
4) There was a debate about a code of conduct for Synod members – the draft is here and part of the debate was what – if any – should be the consequences of synod members not following this
5) The last hour or so was Q&A – so various “officials” responding to supplementary follows ups to questions members had submitted in writing and had written answers to.
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