Having frequently had a go at General Synod for leaving mission off the agenda (ask anyone on my Twitter feed during February), I'd like to give it some credit for this time round:
As in July 2011, part of the Saturday morning has been structured in such a way as to foster a culture of listening and reflection in the Synod. The groups that met last year, each comprising twelve members and led by a bishop, will reflect, in the context of worship, on a Bible passage and on the Church's contemporary mission.
This will be followed by a debate on the role of mission agencies and on partnership between the Church of England and other churches of the Anglican Communion.
The mission theme will continue on the Saturday evening with a debate on the 'fresh expressions' movement, which encourages new ways of being the Church within the contemporary context, in the light of a joint Anglican-Methodist report which considers how these initiatives relate to the doctrinal understanding of what it is to be a church.
Of course, mission is not a theme, it's the key reason for the church's existence, but this is a start. However, I'm a bit suspicious of 'debate' if it doesn't lead to any action: how will the CofE work more in partnership with other agencies and churches? how will it develop the work of Fresh Expressions? How will synod arrive at an agreed position on the church's mission?
It also looks like there'll be more work on a 'national mission strategy' in February next year. Is the ship slowly turning?