Tuesday, 8 July 2008

The Synod Rolls On and More From Forward in Faith. UPDATED With the Last Day's Business.

The Holy Souls altar, we are looking for a dais for it so as to make it into more of a useable Chapel for daily Mass in the month of the Holy Souls.

Our Lady in her new configuration, allowing for access to her shrine for the Angelus after Mass with the new seating arrangement which will, eventually, allow all God's people equal access to His altar for Communion.

Fr John Livesley showing off his new stole, bought for his ordination last week. He and Naomi looked after me very well last night, Naomi more than living up to her culinary reputation. I was presented with a jug of gin and tonic and a large plum schnapps to keep me sedated as the voting was taking place.

And Fr John's ordination card which I put a few weeks ago by the eagle under St John's arm at his shrine.

The synod rolls on today, but I am told the mood is flat. There have been some interesting talks on how the Anglican Communion and the Church of England relate together in terms of governance and the latter sessions might prove interesting in their budget negotiations. We will bring you a round up of the decisions later if they prove interesting and we will also provide a similar service for Lambeth in a couple of weeks, beginning with the Bishop's hospitality visits beginning on Thursday.

As I opened Church this morning before the Mass, we gradually filled up and that barometer of worry or joy, the votive candle stand in front of Our Lady, gradually filled up as well, as did the taper stand in front of Our Lady of Walsingham. 'What is going to happen', was the general refrain, as we pointed out that the Sacred Scriptures have not changed, we have not changed, but an illiberal clique, devoted to our destruction, has gained a temporary foothold in ecclesiastical politics. We shall find the going more difficult, for sure, but we shall just have to try harder and pray harder. Having said that, this just in from Forward in Faith.... (also reproduced in the post below).

''The consistent behaviour of the General Synod compels Forward in Faith and the Catholic Group in General Synod to recognise that, without intervention by the House of Bishops, there is little prospect of gaining a synodical majority which would provide a structural solution that would meet the needs of those who, out of obedience to scripture and tradition, are unable in conscience to receive the ordination of women to the episcopate. We will in the coming days continue to explore all possible avenues which might secure our corporate ecclesial future and look to our bishops to facilitate this.''

This is a little oblique, I have to say. Who exactly are 'Our Bishops' to be? Do we mean the PEV's or the Episcopate generally? I think that the Archbishops will fight for adequate provision in the code of practice for us and we should give that a chance, but I do feel as though a pit is opening up in front of me, to be honest, into which are pouring all the hopes and solutions I can think of. However, this is to despair and to despair is a sin, so I shall trust in God and hope in the future.

Father T E Jones of St Peter's London Docks has this to say....''There is a sense of shock, in the constituency, in press and wireless reports and in all who digest and understand the real implications. The Church of England, driven mad with its delusion of 'being Church' will no longer listen to its own Archbishops on matters of faith and order.''

Courtesy of the Church Society, here is today's round up. It's pretty straightforward and there is no need to reinvent the wheel by typing it up myself.....

The last significant business of the day was the approval of the Budget. As was remarked in the debate this is a bit of a non-debate since, despite being so important, there is really no opportunity to do anything but approve it.This year’s budget represents both good news and bad news. Bad news because despite dipping into reserves Dioceses are going to be asked on average to increate the amount they give by 6.5%. However, the good news is that the great bulk of this increase is due to an increase in the number of clergy in training which is very necessary given the declining numbers overall. But there is more bad news because concern was expressed that it is far from clear that the Church is going to be able to employ all the clergy being trained because the financial problems facing the Church at every level are beginning to bite. The excuse given for pastoral reorganization in recent years has been the declining numbers of clergy and this has particularly been used to keep quiet those parishes which could afford to pay their own clergy, but this has never been the full picture, finance is getting tighter. Most dioceses are only keeping going by selling off historic assets and if the doom mongers are right we may soon see clergy unable to get a job. Nevertheless this could turn out to be good news because it will drive home the need for parishes to finance the ministry they enjoy if they are to continue to enjoy it, a link which few in the Church of England make.

The first business of the final morning of Synod was a motion on Anglican Governance. The Guildford Diocesan Synod asked for a report exploring the relationship between various bodies in the Church of England and the Anglican Communion in terms of how decisions are made. This is no bad thing since it is very difficult for anyone to get to the bottom of it all. However, it was clear from some of the contributions to the debate that a report is merely the starting point and that what they really want is to change.

Most often spoken of was the desire that Bishops should be more involved in governance. In this respect it was notable that the one body which the motion does not mention is Parliament. It may seem absurd today that Parliament should be the final decision making body in relation to the Church of England but the history is that it was thus the elected representatives of the people who exercised final government and in particular ensured that the Bishops were accountable. In an episcopal church there will always be a pressure to give more power to Bishops and this is evident in both the Roman Church and in other Anglican churches. To prevent this the Church needs a strong elected lay representation in governance which the General Synod does not really provide.The motion was agreed and we will await the outcome.