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HomeCulture WarsNot Anglican? Not even Christian? Welcome to the Synod! 

Not Anglican? Not even Christian? Welcome to the Synod! 

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AT one time, the General Synod was the generally respected ruling body of the Church of England. These days, from the Archbishop of Canterbury downwards, it has sold out to wokeness and political correctness. 

It has become a tangle of bitterly competing factions, deeply divided over many issues, including marriage, gender, sexuality and the parish system. Despite all that, you might think that a link to Christianity – however tenuous – was still fundamental to its processes. 

Not necessarily so, it seems. The following is no spoof, but a genuine extract from the published questions and answers for February’s General Synod. It speaks for itself . . .

Mr Chris Gill (Lichfield) to the Chair of the Business Committee: Thank you for arranging the induction sessions at the last Synod setting, which were generally very well received.  

It came as a slight surprise though that when one group of the young people who facilitated the sessions were asked if they called themselves Christians, they all replied ‘no’. Could you please outline the arrangements that were put in place to choose facilitators and whether their faith or beliefs were considered a factor? 

Reply by Canon Robert Hammond, Chair of the Business Committee:  The younger leaders were chosen by six secondary schools across the country that are part of the National Younger Leadership Groups, through which the Church of England Education Office works with around 250 primary and secondary young leaders in partnership with the Archbishop of York’s Youth Trust.  

Because the young people were drawn from school contexts (rather than directly from churches) there will have been young people at a variety of stages of their own faith journey, and therefore not all would necessarily publicly identify as Christian or Anglican, as this was not a stipulation given to the schools for them to use in selecting the students to be part of the leadership programme in the first place. 

For fans of Monty Python, another General Synod Q&A may be of interest. The C of E Eco Stasi apparently want to clamp down on parish church flower arrangers. Python aficionados might like to read the Q in a John Cleese voice and the A in a Michael Palin:

Mr Charles Houston (Hereford) to the Chair of the Church Buildings Council: The Eco Church questionnaire overlooks the widespread use of one of the most damaging plastic-related products in current usage. There is, as yet no mention of floral management and the use of both Floral Foam (Oasis) or imported flowers in church buildings. Will the Church of England adopt the following: 1. To bring in an immediate ban on all Floral Foam in its buildings both in weekly flowers but particularly at weddings and funerals (which will mean that outside floral contractors will have to comply); 2. That flowers in church buildings are viewed as an act of thanksgiving and of worship for God’s creation, respecting that creation, rather than simply as decoration. This means that flowers should be sourced locally where possible and that wherever possible, only seasonal flowers, greenery should be used; and 3. That the Eco Church initiative includes a section addressing this?

The Ven Bob Cooper on behalf of the Chair of the Church Buildings Council: This is an interesting topic that we’ve not, as yet, engaged with at a national level. The Life Events team raise awareness of the choices that can be made, particularly for wedding flowers, through our website and other channels. For funerals, flowers are usually organised through the funeral director. Individual parishes can also make up their own minds on this matter. Alternatives exist, and we understand some churches are already using them; for example, pebbles, marbles, sand, moss, wire mesh, or a ‘flower frog’. Plastic is not the only issue; there is a growing movement for ‘grown not flown’ flowers. Locally grown, field-grown flowers will have a far smaller carbon footprint than imported equivalents or those raised in a hothouse.

The Eco Church framework is run by our partner organisation, A Rocha UK, and the suggestion of incorporating this in their framework has been forwarded to them to consider.

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Julian Mann
Julian Mann
Julian Mann is a former Church of England vicar, now an evangelical journalist based in Morecambe, Lancashire.

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