General Synod Monday Afternoon

July 8, 2013 § 2 Comments

Afternoon all. New blog for the afternoon, but it’s as if we have not had lunch and are just carrying on from 1.05.

Clive Mansell has moved his amendment about ‘preventing legal challenge’ under equalities legislation. Bishop Nigel is not sure that there is an easy answer to the problem, and puts himself in Synod’s hands. Clive Scowen agrees that you can’t prevent legal challenge, but you can provide good safeguards. We should at least ask to try. Mark Steadman is happy to trust the current working of the law under the Equalities act. Tony Baldry (MP) is not happy to go back for fresh laws, amending equalities legislation. Parliament would not wear it.

He also says that he can hold the line in Parliament for a couple more years, but no more. We vote on it electronically…For 200, against 210, 15 abstentions. Amendment lost.

Now to Keith Malcouronne, whose amendment is about using the ‘facilitated conversations’  process thoughout what comes. Bishop Nigel is happy to accept it. Chris Sugden very happy to support it too. ‘We’ve set our hands to the plough. Let’s not look back’. Dagmar Winter cautions about expecting too much – it does have limitations. ‘I agree with Pete, kind of’. (Pete Broadbent has invited the steering committee which will take this forward to engage in the process using the ‘facilitated conversations process). We agree to do this.

We now debate the motion as a whole, as amended by Dover and Malcouronne (Option 1, with a monitoring process and using ‘facilitated discussion’).

Archbishop of Canterbury speaking. Too much detail invites complicated litigation. If his speech gets blogged then read it – demolishes a legislative solution in two sentences. He supports Pete Broadbent’s proposed process. Please set a clear general direction, while leaving space for development. Discuss the 5 principles the Bishops established, agree them and make them a kind of ring fence. The resolution, the principles and Peter Broadbent’s scheme are the best way forward.

Tim Allen recognises that getting the amended Option One through, especially through the laity, will not be easy. If we couldn’t do that in November, with legislation, how can we do it now? Peter Broadbent’s process might just do it. If we don’t do it by July 2015 it will have a significant effect on elections to the new Synod. Best to do this now. We will guarantee a broadly based new Synod in 2015 if we do our work quickly and well now.

The Bishop in Europe raises the ecumenical dimension, and asks from, eg WATCH, a statement of its ecclesiology in relation to the other denominations (I reflect that it would be good to have one of those from Rome about us…)

Jane Charman hopes that we will unite around Option 1. But ‘what if we can’t?’ If we fail we will have to recognise that we have gone as far as we can. Best to be dissolved as a Synod. She is confident that people trust the House of Bishops – though some of the people around me find that amusing.

Rebecca Swire (a deacon – the one woman minister who voted against last November) doesn’t find that any of the options or amendments are quite right. But we have the vision to find an outcome, and this is possible.

Paula Gooder speaks – she was pictured in the press in tears after the November debate. ‘We must never dothat to each other again’. This way of doing things is a new way forward. What we are doing is puting boxes in place, with nothing official yet to put in them. Let’s be good to each other.

BIshop of Rochester says we will be able to set up the Broadbent process by voting for Option one as amended.  Let’s vote with conviction.

And we’re about to vote…oops – no we’re not. Bishop Nigel to reply. He reminds us that Option One is not a single clause measure. It requires provision…just places that provision in a different form to the law. He has listened to all the amendments, especially the one about legal protection, which he will look at again. People also want to talk further about the five principles the Bishops established.

He was sorry to read predictions that we would fight even more. Let’s offer hope of reconciliation among ourselves and beyond ourselves. We vote…after some points of order. We’ll vote as a whole Synod – not in houses.

In favour: 319

Against: 84

Abstentions: 22

So – passed strongly. Over to the establishment of a steering committee to shape the next bit of the process.

We’ve been given 15 mins off. I’ll do the Dioceses stuff on a separate blog. Thanks for listening!

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