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Monday, 26 February 2007

Synod's Business - (b) 26Feb2007

At the start of each Synod, the Business Committee has to report. It decides the order and the content of the agenda, and Synod members often like to ask the justification for discussing what we are, when we are, and how we are.

Highlights of Prebendery Kay Garlick's launch into Synod proper included:

Wrecking Amendments
These are ammendments to Motions, which substantially re-direct the original point of the motion. There had been suspiscion by many, that the two Private Member Motions on homosexuality to be debated on Wednesday, were subject to effectively wrecking ammendments by the House of Bishops. The Business Committee said that in their opnion the ammendments put by the bishops were not wrecking as such.
Even though both start by saying "After 'This Synod...'; replace with..."

Questions
It is no time at all (ok; 2004) since Synod questioners were granted the grace of being given, an hour before the question was formally put, the written form of the answer they could expect. It was now felt that this had changed the lively and spontaneous nature of questions, with subsequent supplementary questions being rather more planned also; and the Business Cttee has been regretting that, and seeks to go back to no notice of answers being given.

Thet were also thinking that thery may restrict the number of questions that were given 'live' answers, the rest just getting written answers. But who decides which are answered verbally!? A member from Liverpool came up with a fantastic solution. Two machines, one named Cantuar, and the other Ebor, with numbered coloured balls in them, spontaneously give the numbers of the questions to be answered live. Just brilliant.

The Chamber
Since the 'upgrade', one of the key things is that the fixed tiered benches are gone, and the chairs are removable. Echos in some parishes of 'to pew, or not to pew'. I think the seats do have more leg-room, and are better padded for the comfort of members. But losing the raking of the seating is a major loss. Now we can only see the backs of the heads in front of us. One member noted 'I used to be able to see 200 people in this chamber; now I can only see 20'. I'm not sure that the Corporation of Church House will be too chuffed to hear this. But it may be that being able tio have a flat floor, and clear the chamber completely, makes for a much more flexible room, even if it is at the cost of a slightly more comfortable, eye-contactable, debating style.

Alastair GS101

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