The General Synod of the Church of England meets from today (13th November 2023) until Wednesday 15th. The November session doesn't happen every year (often General Synod only meets in February and July), and has partly been scheduled this year to give space to debate the next stages of Living in Love and Faith, and Prayers in Love and Faith.
This post is prompted by a discussion on a friend's Facebook post. That friend was horrified to see a post on the Facebook Page of Truro Cathedral, and said as much on their own Facebook wall, and I shared a comment in response.
The Church of England issued a press release last night, following on from the House of Bishops meeting to discuss how the project of "Living in Love and Faith" would be taken forwards at the November meeting of General Synod.
Let me be clear. This is the worst possible outcome.
What notes do you preach from?
It's a question young, aspiring preachers often ask of those who have been preaching for longer. That's because people want to know the "right" answer to that question. In particular, people often ask: Do you preach from a full script, or from notes?
No right answer
There is no right answer, because it will vary according to your personality, context, and the kind of talk or sermon you're delivering.
In every sermon, you're wanting to aim at two things.
In his presidential address to the July 2023 General Synod, Stephen Cottrell appealed to members of the Synod to debate and disagree not as enemies, but as siblings. On the face of it, this seems such an obvious and charitable standard to hold out, that it's hard to disagree with him. But we need to look more closely at what he's actually asking the Synod to do. This is not quite as smooth-running as it sounds.
Paul wrote to Timothy: "Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching." (1 Timothy 4:13)
Where the North Sea meets the Atlantic lies a small country, the United Isles of Great Britannia (GB for short)
It is often reported that New Zealand has more sheep than people. GB has more cats than people – they are a nation of cat-lovers. As a result, a thriving industry in veterinary medicine has developed.
Yesterday, the Church of England published a press release summarising the proposals being brought by the college of Bishops at the end of the 6-year consultation process on same-sex marriage. This included a series of national conversations (tautologically, "shared conversations"), which took place at the General Synod and locally, and a course and set of resources branded "Living in Love and Faith".
Yesterday evening, I had the joy of being invited to our church midweek youth ministry. The teenagers had been given the chance to write down questions they'd like to ask one of their pastors, and I was invited along to tackle those questions and any others that came up during the course of the evening.
In Acts 23:12-22, Paul is imprisoned in Jerusalem, when a group of over 40 young men take an oath not to eat until they have killed him. They plan to request him to be taken for an audience at the Sanhedrin, and to ambush it en route. Paul's nephew hears of the plot, tips off the military commander, and Paul is extricated at night to Caesarea to foil their plot.