Tuesday, January 12, 2010

General Synod Headline Predictor

Update 1 Tuesday 9th Feb: 1 out of 1. Church Mouse has been monitoring progress. Thinking Anglicans collects the headlines - Guardian 'New split in Church of England over Women Bishops' is the closest, though it's hardly 'new'!

Update 2: Thursday 10th Feb. 1 1/4 out of 3. Wednesdays headlines dominated by Rowan Williams address and what it said about women and sex (2 separate issues, sort of, calm down there), and synod thankfully rowed back from the BBC motion to something more generalised. There was also nearly 2 1/2 hours spent kicking a motion on the church in the USA into the long grass. I wonder if there should be a calcluation of how much every minute of Synod time actually costs, and to have a running display during the course of a debate. Last time I looked, the CofE was in a bit of a hole over finance, membership, leadership and age profile, so it's a bit frustrating to see where a lot of the time and energy is going at Synod.

A few months ago I noted that a debate on mission had been ditched from the General Synod agenda. It's good therefore to discover that mission is back on the agenda for next months session.

In fact, it's there more than once: according to Thinking Anglicans summary of business, there is debate on the follow-up to Mission Shaped Church on Feb 9th, a presentation on Fresh Expressions on Thurs 11th, and a Children and Youth strategy report also on the 11th called 'Going for Growth', which hopefully is in the same ball park.

The most popular private members motion, which somehow hasn't made it to the order paper, is also about Fresh Expressions, and encouraging the creation of a library of worship visuals for people trying to do creative things in their local church.

However, my predicted headlines are linked to other business:
Monday: Anglicans Split Over Women Bishops (there's more debate due about this, I imagine half the articles are already written and filed, complete with headlines, regardless of what's actually said.)

Tuesday: Broke C of E's Pension Black Hole (debate about proposed changes to the clergy pension scheme, following consultations in the autumn. There's likely to be an increase in retirement age, and in the contribution rate, and some other reforms, to try to close the financial gap. It'll be interesting to see if they factor in the almost 100% bounce back in the Stock Market since autumn 2008, as the maths now looks rather different to the way it looked 12 months ago)

Wednesday: Church Slams BBC for Marginalising Religion there's a private members motion due on this. The vote will depend how many people watched A History of Christianity. Has the average Synod member discovered IPlayer?

Thursday: Church of Warcraft: Bishops Declare War on Violent Computer Games There's a very sensible private members motion calling for classifcation to be tightened on explicit computer games. Unfortunately it won't make a massive difference - if parents don't pay the blindest bit of notice to game classifications and let their kids play with anthing, then changing the classification won't really affect anything.

It's still a month until General Synod, and I'd be geniunely thrilled if all 4 of these proved to be wrong. They're certainly not the 4 most important items on the agenda.


  1. On BBC marginalising religion, what did you make of Simon Mayo's comments as reported in The Telegraph at the weekend? http://bit.ly/7VJEs2 I'm surprised he's been prepared to stick his neck out on this, usually he's been a bit more circumspect.

  2. I was surprised too, but also very suprised at the brevity of the interview, based on what the Telegraph quoted. I've a slight suspicion that they've ripped out the juiciest bits to make Mayo sound more trenchant than he actually was.

  3. The longer interview with Mayo is published by the Telegraph at http://bit.ty/6G7Cju
    and there is a bit more about his faith. I guess they wanted to assure their readers that now they have him on board as a Telegraph columnist he fits in. I'm just as surprised Mayo's agreed to write for them but still rate him as one of the best broadcasters around.

    I see the FT is running the CofE clergy pension story today with the 'we're all doomed' slant. The FT does raise some serious questions though.

  4. Thanks Philip, I'll have a look. I had a look at the FT piece, which seems quite detailed. I'd be interested to know what impact the stock market rally in 2009 had on values, as a lot of the calculations seemed to be based on the low point at the end of 08/beginning of 09. The trouble is that the worse the black hole gets, the more tempting it is to take risks with the money in order to close the gap, which in turn risks it getting wider.

    At the moment, the prospect of working another 27 years rather than another 24 isn't too horrendous, but I may not think that when the date is a bit nearer.

  5. Tuesday 9th Feb - that's one out of one. Church Mouse is tracking my progress. http://churchmousepublishing.blogspot.com/2010/02/no-threats-please-were-anglican.html

  6. One out of two.

    ABC apologises.
    More women Bishops.
    Where have all the Chaplains gone?