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Posts Tagged ‘Church Times’

Of course, the main reason that synod meets is to talk about things, and the way it does that is by debating proposals in the chamber. The chamber can get rather warm. All the clothing advice was to major on layers and I certainly avoided dressing as I normally would for life in a Victorian vicarage: vests and scarves defintely not required.

And debate brings its own kind of heat. You can get a pretty good feel for what synod members are particularly concerned about by reading the questions that are submitted to the House of Bishops and others a few weeks before synod meets. This synod generated 132 questions, which spread over 74 pages with their answers. You’ll see there are many questions on Holy Communion, Safeguarding and the Clergy Discipline Measure, LGBTQ+ issues and issues to do with finance and mission.

There is a special session in synod to debate the questions that have been answered. The format is that the Chair of that session runs through each question number and you have the opportunity to ask another question, by jumping up and shouting ‘SUPPLEMENTARY’ when your question number is asked. You then go to a lectern and ask your question and the bishop (or other synod official) has to answer on the hoof.

I asked two written questions – numbers 27 and 28, both about the Clergy Discipline Measure. You can hear me jumping up to indicate that I had a supplementary question (and asking it, then taking a breather, then laughing as I ask another, because I’d forgotten I had a second one) on the CofE YouTube channel (this link will take you to the start of my section, and the Bishop of Worcester answering). I don’t think that my questions generated much light, but hopefully some issues were highlighted to the team responsible for revising the undeniably appalling existing system of clergy discipline.

Occasionally some interesting or useful information does emerge in answer to a question. And sometimes questions are asked that people feel very strongly about. The atmosphere in the chamber during the questions about Holy Communion was quite heated. You can hear my poor diocesan bishop trying to answer people on this subject, which is so important to believers, without accidentally making new canon law (actually making a law involves a bit more than this, but bishops like to speak with one voice, so if you’re answering you need to keep within what’s been agreed).

Other debates bring up interesting viewpoints, but the impression I have is that most change is made in the detail, and in the committees who produce the policies and documents. I suspect this is true of any legislative body, but it was still worthwhile sitting in the debates to hear from the breadth of the church, and to work out who is going to be likely to get their name in the Church Times in the next few years.

As the term of this synod continues there are plenty of things to be discussed that will no doubt be heated, not least the Living in Love and Faith project, but also the sticky issues of finances and deployment. We need to pray for light, not only heat, that we’d follow the advice of James:

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

James 1:19-20

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Well, no. No beard and no hair really at all. But still pointing.

The Vicar is hiring not firing

The Vicar is hiring not firing

And thanks to the Church Times the Vicar interviewed a potential ministry trainee over the phone yesterday. We’re excited about the prospect of someone possibly coming to join us. Watch this space for more details.

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For those of you who don’t subscribe to the Church Times (which I confess includes me and the Vicar), their article about my success in getting a local Asda to move lads mags to the top shelf can now be seen on the web.

I think the cartoonist has captured my furious look rather well. I did wonder when they phoned me up what they were going to do about a photo.

Don’t forget to complain to customer services yourself if you see these magazines displayed inappropriately.

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In the midst of piling clothes into big boxes and hunting for missing library books, I had a phone call from the Church Times yesterday afternoon.

They’d been reading the article about my success in getting lads mags put on the top shelf in a local Asda store and were interested to know more about my ‘campaign’. I hadn’t had it in mind to start one, but somehow it seems to be launching itself.

One of the things I said to the CT reporter was that complaining to your local supermarket about the display of lads mags isn’t difficult. You can do it verbally or in writing in a couple of minutes at the customer services desk.

The supermarkets need to know that most people buying their groceries don’t want to see these magazines and particularly don’t want them shown to their children, or anyone’s children for that matter. The supermarkets also need to know that consumers are prepared to take their custom elsewhere if these displays are not changed.

It has also struck me that it is likely that far more supermarket customers  are mothers and others concerned with preserving the innocence of childhood than buyers of lads mags. Consumer power could win this argument.

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