Standing for General Synod

September 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

Taking my cue from an old Southwell colleague (thanks, Mark), here’s the meat of my General Synod Election address. Since it mentions blogging as a good Synodical communication tool, why not start here?

It has been a privilege to represent the diocese in recent meetings of General Synod. The parishes I serve are a remarkable mixture, and my daily ministry encompasses much of the breadth of the Church of England. My previous experience has also included ministry in a vibrant city centre and in communities struggling with the loss of major industry. I’ve seen church life from the point of view of a Bishop’s office, and at the heart of a great cathedral. Previously on General Synod I’ve served on various Revision Committees, I’ve spoken in debates, and have assisted the Synod’s worship. I was a member of the Liturgical Commission for seven years, and have seen how other church bodies relate to our local and national life.

And I’d feel it a privilege to represent the Diocese of York again. Previous experience of Synod can be a help, especially when some matters, like the Ordination of Women as Bishops are carrying on their progress from one quinquennium to another. I believe Synod can be a great servant of the Church of England’s mission, and that members who are prepared to serve with humility and dedication can ensure that parishes and chaplaincies and deaneries and dioceses can flourish. There is a point to Synod’s life, and our debates make a difference to the detail and the strategy of the church’s mission.

Synod and the National Church Institutions will always fail if they are detached from local church life. It was great to be able speak a little about the reality of Fresh Expressions in a debate in February, from the perspective of a parish with real experience. It is important though that a Synod member speaks beyond their own enthusiasms. Being on Synod requires a two-way communication. I blogged live from the debate on Women Bishops this July, and would want our communication to go beyond the necessary reporting to Deanery and Diocesan Synod: there is scope for so much more.

Of my own interests: anything which releases resources for mission at the local level gets my vote. I am keen for the church’s worship to be relevant and vibrant.  I believe a woman bishop should be a bishop with no legislation restricting her ministry, but within a context of grace which allows a rigorous code of practice (and I voted against the Archbishops’ amendment in July on that basis). I would value a slimmed down centre, and welcome a strategic review of our central institutions and the shape and size of dioceses.  I practice ecumenism at the local level and think Synod could do a bit more to free-up certain denominational log-jams. We are ‘better together’. I have become more involved in media and communications (with major programmes with the BBC at both York and Beverley), and with the church’s involvement in tourism and pilgrimage, an area which the Diocese of York has a good Synodical track record.

For all our frustrations there is no place I would rather be than the C of E, and I would like to help the Synod to serve us and help us to travel into God’s future for his church.

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