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Monday, 7 February 2011

So, what IS on Synod's agenda?

Here is synod meeting again in London. The November 2010 session was the usual, brief, inauguration session at the start of a new synod. Once we get to the February session, that's when the real work gets going.

Or does it? People have been commenting already that the agenda for this session seems thin. Although the whole week was set aside initially, the synod is actually only meeting from Monday until Wednesday evening. This is a quick glance as to why it might appear reduced; and what some of the more significant items are actually still are. Papers, as usual are available on the General Synod pages of the all new Church of England website (which is apparently no longer a sub-domain of the anglican.org - probably worth a blog post in it's own right at some point...).

Firstly, as it is a new synod, not all new posts have been fixed. Synod business is organised by the Business Committee - but that is only just in the process of being elected for the quinquennium. Many other important boards and councils have changed membership too, and this has affected pulling together some of the preparations for this synod.

Secondly, synod has sent out to the dioceses for debate 2 major pieces of work - Women Bishops, and the Anglican Communion Covenant. As we await these items to come back to synod for the final stages of the legislation, synod gets a chance to catch it's breath.

Monday's business starts with a presentation by The Right Honourable Andrew Mitchell MP, Secretary of State for International Development. It is a number of years since synod was addressed by a member of the government - and a great department for us to be hearing from. The press were asking before Andrew Mitchell's speech for a copy of what he was going to say. They couldn't have one, as he stood to speak passionately, with only the sparsest of notes, of recent visits to East Africa, and seeing the vital work being done by faith communities and others on the ground.

Other key items coming up include the the debate on the way ahead for the next quinquennium; as well as the motion asking for initiation - baptism etc - liturgies that are more in language that those unfamiliar with church jargon can better grasp. Not to dumb down our theology, but to make it more accessible. More later...

Alastair Cutting Chichester 96

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