General Synod – Sunday

July 10, 2011 § 1 Comment

Afternoon all. I missed the service in York Minster – but someone has just asked me about the use of a Buddhist text in a Communion anthem. Would have been ok by me…but these things worry some.

Stuff this afternoon includes Higher Education funding (difficult now for ordinands and other theological trainees due to government changes).

We’ll also do stuff on the Methodist – Anglican Covenant, and something on people taking Communion before confirmation. The response from the Faith and Order Advisory Group takes liturgical development back a few decades – so the debate will be interesting. We’ll see.

4.00. We agreed overwhelmingly to a short term financial fix for 2011-2012, and a longer term review of the pathways to ordination and their financing.

Now to the Anglican – Methodist Covenant. ‘There is some way to go to the organic unity to which we are committed’ says the Bishop of Coventry.

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We’re all saying some nice things about working more closely with the Methodists. The radical (ish) proposal is to use the existing bit of Canon Law (Canon B44) to extend partnerships to a wider area than one parish. Could be very interesting in my context – I have 1 Local Ecumenical Partnership with one part of my parish (I have four churches in that one, and one other parish). To make the whole thing a wider partnership – and indeed to involve my other parish and other parishes in the Deanery would be rather jolly. It feels like such provision is not possible at the mo, and tyhey can be made to be very bureaucratic. No need says the report…get on with it, and share your ministries (inc Communion).

At present the C of E reserves the right to declare that a C of E Communion can only be presided over by a C of E Priest – but the Canon allows for an agreement for a Methodist Minister to preside at a Communion in the partnership as long as it’s not seen as a C of E one…so pushing this might find us having a kind of interchangeable ministry on the ground whilst a theology of full interchangeability is still to be worked out. The Bishop of Beverley is having a go at this as we speak.

I’m sure we will take note of the report…and I might have to have a go at doing much more in my own setting than I currently do.

We’ve just voted for it overwhelmingly, though 12 votes against and 14 abstained. 260 odd in favour.

5.00

Now to the Diocese of Bradford motion on Communion for those who are not confirmed…a clever move would be for some speeches to happen and then someone to move to ‘next business’ – otherwise there could be a big falling out about the theology of initiation which will exude more heat than light…let’s see

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Much enjoying Malcolm Halliday’s opening speech. Initiation is a journey, in which Communion and Confirmation both play a part (after Baptism), but the order can be (and already is) varied. People may come to faith by receiving Communion rather than waiting to receive Communion until all the hurdles have been leapt.

Bp of Peterborough is speaking in opposition – he likes the new book on Initiation which says that Baptism is not full initiation into the church. It should include a full engagement witrh the word, teaching etc etc. All of that is included in Confirmation. Hmmm – I think he’s engaging in a category mistake: a full theology of initiation also includes death! The point (for me) is that Baptism releases all the sacraments of the church to you…and Communion might be a part of that journey too.

Ace speech by Hannah Page from the C of E Youth Council. She was confirmed at 10…she now thinks it’s too early. Make Confirmation a rite of adult commitment. Receive HC on the journey. Ordain her now!!!

Clive Scowen has asked that we only extend this to those baptised as adults, or who have renewed their baptismal vows. Doesn’t impress me – if you get baptised as an adult you should get confirmed anyway…and a renewal of vows is included in confirmation…

Stephen Cotterell has just effectively said this – and points out that with children there is a period of preparation. In practice no one asks at the rail anyway, so let’s stick with where we are.

Good speech by James Dudley-Smith saying that Baptism is key, but Communion is also a sacrament and we should not treat it lightly.

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes speaks powerfully of receiving Communion after a conversion experience – a coming home to her baptismal faith. Communion is not a prize…

Amendment lost. Simon Butler has asked that we move to next business – so it would lapse.

And we agreed to move to next business – so the debate was heard but we didn’t decide…I hope the H of B have had a good listen.

We need a decent theology of confirmation and initiation – and the recent FOAG book doesn’t seem to be it.

Went to a bit of the evening. Actually listened and was interested in the Audit Committee’s report.

More fun tomorrow.

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