As scheduled in the initial release of Synod papers, today the Church of England published the remaining material. However, in addition to the full circulation of papers and agenda for the July 2017 sessions in York, the Archbishops have used their legal powers to change the published schedule to include an urgent debate on the state of the nation. Entitled “After the General Election: a still small voice of calm” it will take place on the opening afternoon of Synod, Friday July 7. The Press Release and Details of the motion are reproduced below.
After the General Election: a still small voice of calm
23 June 2017
The Church of England is providing a “still small voice of calm” at a time when the people of Britain face “unprecedented questions about the future”, according to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.
The recent General Election has left many questions unanswered about at a “critical time in the nation’s history”, they say.
Christians should therefore pray for political leaders to have courage but also give thanks for signs of political apathy receding, they say.
The call comes in the text of the motion to be debated at the Church’s General Synod, which meets in York next month.
The archbishops have used their legal powers to change the published schedule to include an urgent debate on the state of the nation.
Entitled “After the General Election: a still small voice of calm” it will take place on the opening afternoon of Synod, Friday July 7.
Details of the motion were published as a second circulation of papers was issued ahead of the summer session of Synod at the University of York between July 7 and July 10. [See: Fourth Notice Paper reproduced below]
The documents also include a paper setting out the process for compiling a major new teaching document on human sexuality and the work of a new Pastoral Advisory Group to advise dioceses on pastoral provision for same-sex couples.
It follows a vote in February in which Synod opted not to ‘take note’ of the House of Bishops’ report on sexuality.
The paper, also issued by the two archbishops, reiterates a pledge to base the new teaching document on a “radical Christian inclusion” to be “founded in scripture, in reason, in tradition, in theology and the Christian faith as the Church of England has received it”.
The papers also include information on National Support for Local Churches and background information for a motion tabled by Jayne Ozanne, of the Diocese of Oxford, calling for Synod to condemn the practice of Conversion Therapy, among other subjects.
Notes to editors
The title of the motion is a reference to the story in 1 Kings 19 in which God spoke to the prophet Elijah not through a hurricane, earthquake or fire but through a “still small voice”.
The full circulation of papers for the July 2017 sessions of General Synod can be found at: https://www.churchofengland.org/about-us/structure/general-synod/agendas-and-papers/july-2017-group-of-sessions.aspx
The agenda is available at: https://www.churchofengland.org/media/3996908/gs-2059-agenda-for-the-july-2017-group-of-sessions.pdf
For further information call the Communications Office at Church House
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In exercise of their power under SO 4(3) the Presidents have directed the addition to the agenda of an additional item, to be taken on Friday 7 July immediately after Item 3 (Report by the Business Committee (GS 2060)).
The additional item of business will take the form of a debate on the following motion, to be moved by the Archbishop of York:
AFTER THE GENERAL ELECTION, A STILL SMALL VOICE OF CALM
That this Synod, mindful that the recent General Election has left many questions unanswered about the shape and priorities of our government at a critical time in the nation’s history:
(a) give thanks, nonetheless, for the increased turnout and call upon all parties to build on this by addressing the causes of voter apathy and non-participation;
(b) pray for all those elected to Parliament that they will prioritise the common good of all people in everything they do, especially in negotiations between parties to secure support for a legislative programme;
(c) call upon Christians everywhere to maintain pressure on politicians of all parties to put the cohesion of the nation and its communities at the heart of their programmes;
(d) pray for courage, for our political leaders as they face the constraints and opportunities of uncertainty and weakness, and for the people of the nation as they too face unprecedented questions about the future;
(e) commend the continuing work of the churches serving the poor and vulnerable, at home and worldwide, as an example of the priorities which we hope to see in the programmes of government; and
(f) commit the Church of England to maintaining strong and generous international relations, through our dioceses, the Anglican Communion and ecumenical links, as relationships within the United Kingdom, across Europe and worldwide face new tensions and challenges.