As well as the posts on this blog, check out the more frequently updated @Synodical Twitter stream, and the #Synod stream below right:

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Here we go again...

Another July, another trip to York, and another huge debate about Women Bishops. Before I was elected to Synod in the Autumn of 2005 I went up to York in the July to see the Women Bishops debate, and get an idea of what Synod was like. And now, five years later...

Of course, women bishops are not the only topic of discussion at York - you can find a copy of the full agenda here or a brief digest here - but revision of the legislation will take up a large amount of this last Synod meeting. Alastair has already posted a link to the Revision Committee Report and the Draft Measure, and all the amendments are now in. This document tells you the order in which they will be debated, and Peter Owen of Thinking Anglicans has written a very useful summary of what they all mean here.

So what else is on the Agenda? There are a number of amendments to the Clergy Pension Scheme - you can find them all listed with the rest of the Synod Papers here - which are summarised in a general Clergy Pensions Report. The Diocesan Synod Motion about Deanery Synods that Alastair had hoped would be discussed in February is firmly on the Agenda this time round - he might be writing more about that in due course. There is also another bit of structural change that could be interesting. There is a proposal to appoint a Faith and Order Commission to replace the Faith and Order Advisory Group (FOAG), The House of Bishops Theological Group, and the Doctrine Commission (which has not met for several years). Sensible streamlined government, one would suspect, but the new group will be, like its predecessors, an entirely appointed body. I would expect some rumblings at least as to why Synod does not have a greater say in who is part of it, given that Synod has at least played a part in setting it up. There is, of course, a report - and you can read it here.

So, presuming you have nothing better to do, how can you join in the fun? Hopefully the Twitter feed from York will be entertaining. You can follow me, Alastair, Pete Broadbent and others individually - and of course the GeneralSynod twitter identity that feeds tweets directly from this blog. You can also use the #synod hashtag, and tweets mentioning "synod" show up live in the panel to the right in this window. There will also, no doubt, be some live blogging going on here and elsewhere. The Church Mouse has kindly invited me to do a guest post again, and as usual there will be some less objective stuff going up here. There should also be a live audio feed available via Premier Radio, although at the time of writing I am not too sure how to find it. On the other hand, England are probably losing a cricket match somewhere too...

On a final and more serious note, as ever there are aspects of this Synod that will be very difficult for some of us, and we would all be grateful for your prayers. Please pray especially for those who feel themselves to be under attack for their beliefs over the next few days, and for all of us that we can be open both to the Holy Spirit and to each other as we try to figure out where the Church of England goes next.

(GS 373)

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