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Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Evangelism and Justice

Wednesday afternoon's debates involved a Private Member's motion, and a Diocesan Synod motion (actually basically the same motion from two Diocesan synods - Newcastle and Winchester).

Paul Eddy's motion was to ask the bishops to report to the Synod their understanding of the uniqueness of Christ in our multi-faith society, with examples and commendations.

There were a number of potential amendments, and in advance, some considerable concern about how this debate may go - would it be to inflammatory? Or would it be moved on - or wrecked - before the dabate got going? In the event, a positive debate was had. Even our very own Justin Brett, confessing himself to be the wooliest of liberals, contributed, reminding that even (especially??) liberals also need guidance! It was great too see in the public gallery at least one (guessing from their dress) Muslim observer. There was a moving anonymous speech from a someone who's life had been threatened because they had converted from Islam to Christianity. Many contributors spoke of sharing the good news of the Gospel, sharing stories of Jesus. Amendments seeking significant change in the motion were lost, and with a small addition, the motion significantly passed. Good to see that the General Synod still sees the centrality and uniqueness of Christ as important...

The later debate was on the Human Trafficking. Interesting that two dioceses had come up with similar motions on this issue, and they made a joint presentation before the debate on the motion got going. Bishop Pete Broadbent encouraged synod to be informed through the StopTheTraffik organisation:

This wasn't simply a motherhood and applepie debate that none could vote against, but a cry from the heart. It was unanimously passed.

The twin strands of Mission and Social justice, both coming up from the grass-roots, is one of the good things about Synod.

Peter Ould has much more fine detail on his blog, as does Ruth Gledhill on hers.

Alastair Cutting GS101

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