General Synod - July Group of Sessions 2002
How I Voted

All motions were carried by Synod unless stated otherwise.

Size and Composition of General Synod  

proposal that the total size of General Synod be reduced by between one quarter and one third of its present size.

(this was defeated by Synod)

proposal that the total membership of the General Synod shall be no greater than 500

in favour

proposal not to include representation of retired clergy

in favour

proposal to review numbers of suffragan bishops, deans and archdeacons

in favour

That this Synod welcome the progress being made towards establishing a Church of England Youth Council and invite the Standing Orders Committee to prepare an appropriate Standing Order, on a similar basis to Standing order 113, to enable a number of the Council's members to be afforded formal General Synod observer status, for further approval by this Synod.

in favour

That this Synod, noting the growing strength of regional institutions in England and proposals for their further development:

(a) affirm the contribution made by the Churches to social and economic progress in the English regions and, specifically, the involvement of several dioceses and ecumenical bodies in such fora as the existing Regional Chambers;

(b) recognise the importance of decision making being close to those affected and being open, accessible and accountable but is concerned that the size of certain proposed regions will make this difficult;

(c) support the principle that prior to any referendum on the creation of an assembly, people in that region are given the opportunity to express a view on the appropriateness of the regional boundaries;

(d) request the Board for Social Responsibility to respond to the White Paper Your Region, Your Choice: Revitalising the English Regions in the light of this debate; and

(e) encourage the Archbishops' Council and the House of Bishops to consider how far the Church of England should adapt its own structures in the light of the growing significance or regions in England and to report by July 2003.

in favour

I also voted for the amendments to paragraphs (b) and (c) which inserted the concerns about the proposed sizes and boundaries of the regions.

Christian Witness in a Plural Society  

That this Synod, whilst valuing and affirming the importance of cultural and religious diversity, is convinced that the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ is for all and must be shared with all, including people from other faiths or of no faith, and that to do anything else would be to institutionalise discrimination; and to this end, this Synod should:

(a) recommend parishes to approach the Partners for World Mission mission agencies to help make links with the World Church, especially with those people and places which might stimulate witness within a multi-faith environment;

(b) encourage the Board of Mission and the Ministry Division through the theological colleges and courses to educate the Church concerning these issues; and

(c) urge all Christians to encourage sensitive and positive sharing of faith with people of all faiths and none, whilst being willing to learn from and be enriched by people of other faiths.

I was absent for the vote
(the motion was carried)
An Anglican-Methodist Covenant  

That this Synod

(a) request Diocesan Synods to promote the study of the Common Statement An Anglican-Methodist Covenant in the dioceses, to debate the motion:

"That this Synod approve the Anglican-Methodist Covenant, consisting of a pre-amble and mutual Affirmations and Commitments, set out in paragraph of the Common Statement."

And to report the outcome of that debate (with voting figures) to the Council for Christian Unity by 31 may 2003; and

(b) request the British and Irish Anglican Churches; the Lutheran Churches of the communion of Porvoo churches; the Old Catholic Churches; the United Reformed Church; other ecumenical partners with whom the Church of England is in dialogue; the appropriate bodies within Churches Together in England and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland; and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations to study and comment on An Anglican-Methodist Covenant to the Council for Christian Unity by 31 May 2003.

in favour
The Urban Renaissance  

That this Synod

(a) commend The Urban Renaissance and the Church of England to the Dioceses and to the wider Church for further study;

(b) renew the Church of England's commitment to its mission and ministry in urban areas, through a sustainable and dynamic Christian presence and witness;

(c) request the Archbishops' Council to respond to the opportunities and concerns outlined in the document, particularly the need for a wider review of the Church of England's urban mission on the twentieth anniversary of Faith in the City in 2005; and

(d) request the Archbishops' Council to draw up proposals for mutual financial dependence between dioceses and the support of those which include the neediest communities.

in favour
Resourcing Urban Ministry and Mission  

That this Synod:

(a) welcome the proposals by the Trustees of the Church Urban Fund in GS Misc 674 for the development of the Fund in 2002-2010; and

(b) invite the Trustees to develop - in consultation with the Archbishops' Council, the Urban Bishops' Panel and dioceses - proposals for a fund-raising campaign to secure the Fund's longer term future and to report through the Council to Synod on them.

I was absent for the vote
(the motion was carried)
the Archbishops' Council Budget for 2003  
The proposed 2003 budget includes increases as follows.

Training Budget   0.6% increase
National Support   0% increase
Grants and Provisions   0% increase
Mission Agencies Pensions   18.5% increase

The net effect is an increase of 0.8% in the total apportionment on dioceses.
in favour
Appointment of Bishops  

That this Synod seek a reform in the method of appointing bishops in the Church of England so as to detach the process from any involvement with Downing Street and the Monarchy and to provide for a more participatory and open Church procedure than is currently possible.

in favour
(the motion was lost)

Marriage Law Review  

That this Synod:

(a) welcome the Report's proposals for a positive response from the Church that is faithful to its theological and pastoral understanding of ministry, and that fully recognises the mission opportunities presented by the proposals on marriage in the Government White Paper Civil Registration: Vital Change;

(b) endorse the recommendations in the report;

(c) request the Archbishops' Council and the Business Committee to establish a Working Group to take forward, in consultation with the House of Bishops, the process of:-

(i) working together with Government Departments in the outworking of the White Paper, and in particular in securing legislation to amend or replace the relevant provisions of the Marriage Act 1949 in accordance with the recommendations in the report:

(ii) in the light of (i), preparing draft legislation and other material for submission to the Synod to implement those recommendations in the Report which require action by the Synod; and

(iii) initiating proposals to implement the other recommendations in the Report and the proposed new legislation on marriage, including support for clergy and parishes.

in favour

That this Synod, led by its Christian faith and understanding and praying for the peace of Israel/Palestine, in the belief that Christians, Jews and Muslims are called to live together in peace and fellowship, based upon a common understanding of security and justice:

(a) express profound sorrow and dismay at the escalation of violence in Israel/Palestine and the untold human suffering that this has inflicted upon its people;

(b) understand that the root causes of the present conflict include Israel's illegal occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and its continued support of settlements in these areas;

(c) call upon the Israeli Government to withdraw from the Occupied Territories in compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolutions and at the same time upon the Palestinian Authority to condemn suicide bombing;

(d) welcome the Alexandria Declaration by religious leaders and urge all parties to work together in implementing it;

(e) urge the quartet comprising Russia, the European Union, United States and the United Nations, to use economic and diplomatic influence to uphold United Nations Security Council Resolutions, which provide justice for Palestinians and security for Israel, by working towards a viable two state solution which guarantees the principles of pluralism, good governance, and a respect for human rights; and

(f) request dioceses to renew and strengthen bonds of Christian fellowship with the Churches in Israel/Palestine by participating in pilgrimages, encouraging encounters with the 'living stones', and by exploring various expressions of solidarity with the indigenous Christian communities.

in favour
Marriage in Church after Divorce  

That this Synod

(a) affirm, in accordance with the doctrine of the Church of England as set out in Canon B30, that marriage should always be undertaken as a "solemn, public and life-long covenant between a man and a woman";

(b) recognise (i) that some marriages regrettably do fail and that the Church's care for couples in that situation should be of paramount importance; and (ii) that there are exceptional circumstances in which a divorced person may be married in Church during the lifetime of a former spouse;

(c) recognise that the decision as to whether or not to solemnise such a marriage in church after divorce rests with the minister (or the officiating cleric if the minister is prepared to allow his/her church or chapel to be used for the marriage"; and

(d) invite the House of Bishops to issue the advice contained in Annex 1 of GS 1449.

in favour

Peter Owen
last modified 16 July 2002
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