General Synod Monday Afternoon

July 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

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Afternoon all. Interesting collection of folk in the public gallery – mixture of religious (who have been meeting their reps), and people here for the debate which has just started about minority ethnic anglicans.

It could be a gruelling afternoon – the minority ethnic Anglican thing is important, and it will be interesting to see if anyone tries to make any speeches critical of the approach suggested (proactive, just as seems to have happened for women in ministry).

Then we have some legislation and housekeeping and some stuff on presence and engagement in neighbourhoods, in a multifaith context. All these things are important, but make few headlines (like much of the work of the C of E I guess).

3.20
The minority ethnic debate is very moving – especially the stories of british born black and minority ethnic people (BME). The report asks for ‘positive intentionality’, because BME people are not as present in our structures as their numbers might require.
Great speech just now by a native Spanish speaker from the Diocese in Europe, telling us that the largest anglican congregation from the Sudan worships in Finland! Support for BMEs in that Diocese is vital, he says.

Powerful speech by a brand new priest who spent 16 years in the police, the last three as an equalities and diversity officer. He said that the police acknowledge when they get this wrong, and have been changed by the Black Police Association. The church must do better in including BME people in all its structures.

Only one person voted against – I wonder why?

I ducked out for the debate on the Archbishops’ Council Budget. But nothing controversial seems to have happened. We’ll move on to the multifaith stuff soon.

5.30. And here we are. There will be further speeches which will move and challenge us. Government has given a decent grant to the Near Neighbours project. The more we understand each other the more chance there will be to ensure that a mix if poverty and the presence of an isolated minority will not lead to violence. We’ve heard that ethnic diversity does not automatically lead to trouble – but poverty and isolation can spark stuff.

6.10

Powerful speeches. We’ve got a good thing going – our dialogue is our witness. We could use more resources – and more emphasis on schools perhaps in the report. But the Presence and Engagement programme is good, and has a strategy. Let’s see how we might do something in a reasonably monochrome place like Beverley.

Didn’t make the evening debate about relations with the United Reformed Church. I think we think its a good idea to draw closer together…

Riazat Butt blogs live from Synod for the Guardian. She was kind enough to mention me, so I’ll return the compliment.
And look at Nick Baines too.  Night night.

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