RSS Feed

Team Leeds report on General Synod

First published on: 13th February 2023

Team Leeds was out in full force at the most recent General Synod, helping to shape the debate around big issues in the life of the Church of England today.

The meeting of Synod, the Church of England’s national assembly, took place in London between Monday, February 6 and Thursday, February 9, with items on the agenda including a Loyal Address marking the accession of King Charles III, safeguarding, looking at resourcing our training institutions and a lengthy debate on the College of Bishops’ proposals following the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) process.

The Revd Ruth Newton, member of the House of Clergy and a member of the Environmental Working Group, gave a speech on environmental mission, suggesting that as we face both a climate and biodiversity crisis, safeguarding creation cannot be ‘the Cinderella of the marks of mission’. 

She noted that in 1941 members of the Church of England released the first high level statement on creation-care.  

“We were leaders then and we must be leaders now,” she argued.  

As vice-chair of the General Synod Environment Group, Ruth organised a fringe meeting “Engagement and Divestment” for synod members to discuss with Alan Smith, the First Estates Commissioner, the Church Commissioners’ approach to investment.

Revd Ruth said: “The tension between my desire to see equal marriage in Church, and a concern for Church unity, made this synod emotional and exhausting. 

“At times our ability to disagree well was tested to its limits but most people rose to the challenge.”

Dr Diana Tremayne, member of the House of Laity, spoke in a debate on the Business Committee’s report to Synod.

Diana said: “Personally, I found it an exhausting week and it’s never easy feeling as if you are the topic of discussion. 

“Overall, the tone was more positive than I expected.

“There were many thoughtful contributions and conversations behind the scenes too.

“I’m aware that people across Synod will have different emotions at the moment but am also encouraged by the care and support people have shown to each other over the week. 

“It’s great to get to know fellow Leeds reps better too - we seem to be better at communicating than lots of the other dioceses (hoping for another winning quiz team in York in July!).”

Canon Professor Joyce Hill, member of the House of Laity, chaired the Archbishop of Canterbury's Presidential Address on the Monday afternoon, and the Loyal Address to the King on Tuesday morning. 

Joyce also spoke in a debate on resourcing ministerial formation.

Joyce said: “The debate on LLF was long and arduous and vigorously contested, but was well chaired by Geoffrey Tattersall and people behaved well in the chamber, which was packed throughout. 

“There were no interruptions or protests within Church House. 

“It could of course have continued and continued. 

“But within the limits of what was humanly possible in this February session, I thought it was thorough and well-balanced.”

Synod is currently without a Chaplain, so the Revd Canon Michael Gisbourne, Precentor of Ripon Cathedral, who had been Synod Chaplain throughout the 2015-21 Synod, stepped in, adding another Team Leeds presence to proceedings.

More on the outcomes of the LLF debate can be found here.

Powered by Church Edit