General Synod 2013 – Friday 7th June

July 6, 2013

Following the Morning Office, Synod received a report from the Secretary General, Mr John Stuart, on the proceedings of the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Auckland, New Zealand (ACC-15), which he had attended in the Autumn of 2012 along with the Primus and other representatives of the Scottish Episcopal Church. The meeting covered a range of diverse topics. Committee for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults – The Convener of the Provincial Committee for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults, Mr Hugh Donald, spoke to the Report of the Committee and commended it to Synod. He went on to explain the background to Motion 12, the Charter for the Safety of People within the Churches of the Anglican Communion, which had been commended by ACC-15. This was the core business of the Provincial Committee and had already been discussed in outline at the January meeting of the Committee. Synod accepted unanimously Motion 12 which proposed by the Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, the Rt Rev Mark Strange, and seconded by Mr David Palmer, Convener of the Standing Committee. Mission and Ministry Board – The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Primus and the Rt Rev Dr Nigel Peyton, Bishop of Brechin presented to Synod a suggested design for a process of church wide discussions on matters related to same sex relationships which will involve establishing a design group to facilitate this process. Bishop Nigel will chair the design group for the process and said "I believe we have a great opportunity here to grasp a theological and contextual moment. The process will say a great deal about the maturity of our Church and our ability to engage with each other, well beyond the particularities of human sexuality." A range of comments were expressed from the floor of Synod with particular reference to the speed at which discussions will take place. Inter-Church Relations Committee – In the absence of the Convener of the Inter-Church Relations Committee, the Rev John Lindsay, the Rt Rev Dr Robert Gillies, Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney presented the report from the Committee and indicated its intention to explore the possibility of continuing the existing tripartite talks with the Church of Scotland and Church of England. Whole Church Mission and Ministry Policy – The Primus introduced this session as the Convener of the Mission and Ministry Board and then the Rt Rev Kevin Pearson, Bishop of Argyll and The Isles spoke of the Next Steps in this Policy, highlighting that an essential aspect of this policy, unlike other initiatives, was not about institutional structure but was a reflection on cohesion, co-operation and confidence within the life of the Province. He then invited representatives of each diocese to answer three questions in relation to work being undertaken in their dioceses: 1. what does each diocese bring to the table of the Whole Church Mission and Ministry policy discussions? 2. Why is this policy important? 3. What are the Next Steps for each diocese? College of Bishops – The Primus introduced this session by explaining to Synod the nature and function of the College of Bishops and how it fits in to the structure of the Scottish Episcopal Church. The Rt Rev Dr Gregor Duncan, Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway advised Synod of the range of work that the College of Bishops deals with at its meetings. Ministry Development Committee – The Convener of the Ministry Development Committee, Mr Peter Smart, provided Synod with a summary of the findings and recommendations of the Ministry Division inspection of TISEC carried out in the Autumn of 2012 and explained the reasoning behind the proposed amendments to the Digest of Resolutions contained in Motions 14, 15 and 16. Following a range of comments from the floor of Synod the Motions were carried. Overseas Committee – The Rev Val Nellist, Convener of the Overseas Committee spoke of the ‘Enough Food IF’ campaign and introduced two Smallholder Association rice farmers from Malawi before Motion 17 was carried – to commend the Prime Minister on his plans to hold a hunger summit prior to the G8 Summit in June 2013 and the Scottish Government for its continuing support of development aid for Malawi, that letters expressing such commendation be sent on behalf of the Synod to the Prime Minister and First Minister respectively and that the provincial Overseas Committee be invited to consider ways in which the Scottish Episcopal Church can best develop its relationships with those overseas receiving church grants beyond simply the relationship of donor/recipient. Church in Society Committee The Convener of the Church in Society Committee, the Rev Ian Barcroft, presented the Motion relating to the affirm the Christian values inherent in the concept of the Living Wage. Dean Barcroft was then joined by Mr Jeremy Burchill, Convener of the Investment Committee in presenting the Motion that Synod welcomes the paper regarding Ethical Investment and Ethical Banking prepared jointly by the Church in Society Committee and Investment Committee and approve the statement of policy for the Investment Committee which it contains. The Motion was carried. That Synod affirms the work and the aim of the Church For All Group that the Scottish Episcopal Church should enable people with different abilities and at different stages in their faith journey to experience an environment where all people can worship and participate in the life of the Church and feel themselves to be fully part of the Body of Christ; affirms the determination to develop an ethos in which people who have additional needs are supported with dignity and respect and which ensures that they are welcomed, enabled to grow in discipleship and are fully included in the church community and encourages dioceses and congregations to promote awareness of the additional needs of people with disabilities so as to promote a culture of inclusivity and endorse the use of the principles produced by the Church For All group at all levels of the Scottish Episcopal Church. Church for All Group – The Rev Professor Annalu Waller presented the Motions on behalf of the Church for All Group that Synod affirms the work and the aim of the Church For All Group that the Scottish Episcopal Church should enable people with different abilities and at different stages in their faith journey to experience an environment where all people can worship and participate in the life of the Church and feel themselves to be fully part of the Body of Christ; affirms the determination to develop an ethos in which people who have additional needs are supported with dignity and respect and which ensures that they are welcomed, enabled to grow in discipleship and are fully included in the church community and encourages dioceses and congregations to promote awareness of the additional needs of people with disabilities so as to promote a culture of inclusivity and endorse the use of the principles produced by the Church For All group at all levels of the Scottish Episcopal Church. Synod then accepted the report of the Committee for Relations with People of Other Faiths and then closed with the Evening Office.