News from Church of England synod

While General Convention is in session on this side of the Atlantic, the General Synod of the Church of England is in session on the other side of the pond. We draw your attention to three items with direct application to General Convention..

Item 1. Ruth Gledhill writes,

Responding to a question by Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream, Dr Williams said: ‘As for General Convention it remains to be seen I think whether the vote of the House of Deputies will be endorsed by the House of Bishops. If the House of Bishops chooses to block then the moratorium remains. I regret the fact that there is not the will to observe the moratorium in such a significant part of the Church in North America but I can’t say more about that as I have no details.’ Dr Williams also responded to concerns about the funding for the ‘listening process’ saying that he had been personally involved in securing that funding and had been completely unaware of any ‘agenda’ attached to the funding.

Item 2. The Times reports on the defeat of moves to reform the Church of England polity,

The archbishops of Canterbury and York were today delivered a resounding snub to their plans to centralise power in the Church of England.

The General Synod, being held in York, overwhelmingly rejected the proposals which would have made Dr Rowan Williams one of the most powerful Archbishops of Canterbury since the Reformation.

Church bodies responsible for education, mission and finance were to have been abolished with the powers of the Church’s main boards and councils instead passing to Canterbury and York.

But tonight the laity, clergy and even some bishops threw the plans out in a rebellion that will keep the balance of power within the democratically elected Synod.

The rebels had warned that the centralising changes would turn the established Church into a medieval style of government more akin to a “Muslim-style theocracy”.

Item 3. Thinking Anglicans reports on Questions on the Church of Sweden,

Mrs Joanna Monckton (Lichfield) asked the Chairman of the Council for Christian Unity:

Q. Has the Council considered the implications from the point of view of the Porvoo Agreement of the announcement by the Church of Sweden that it is going to change its marriage service to take a gender neutral form so that the same form of service can be offered to same-sex couples as to heterosexual couples?

The Bishop of Guildford, Christopher Hill, replied:

A. The Church of Sweden has not yet taken a decision in response to recent state legislation providing for gender neutral marriage. The Synod meets in September and again in October and there is a proposal before it that the marriage liturgy should not be gender-specific. In the light of a letter from the Archbishop of Uppsala advising the Porvoo churches of likely developments in the legislature and the Swedish Synod, the Faith and Order Advisory Group considered the issues raised by this proposal at its last meeting and the Chairs of the CCU and FOAG have published an open letter to the Archbishop reflecting FOAG’s concerns about the implications of any revision of its marriage liturgy by the Church of Sweden. This letter is now on the Church of England website and I have arranged for a copy to be placed on the notice board.

PDF version of the letter mentioned above

Addendum. GC2009 has approved Resolution A076 to Establish Dialogue with the Church in Sweden

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