Church to debate post-election “state of the nation”

As scheduled in the initial release of Synod papers, today the Church of England published the remaining material. However, in addition to the full circulation of papers and agenda for the July 2017 sessions in York, the Archbishops have used their legal powers to change the published schedule to include an urgent debate on the state of the nation. Entitled “After the General Election: a still small voice of calm” it will take place on the opening afternoon of Synod, Friday July 7. The Press Release and Details of the motion are reproduced below. Continue reading

General Synod papers published

The Church of England has published the following Press Release with links to the first tranche of papers for the meeting of General Synod at the University of York from Friday July 7 to Monday July 10. On Friday, June 23, there will be the second circulation of papers and also be a pre-Synod briefing at Church House Westminster.  Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 28th May

A very, very sad week – and not one for flippant straplines…

The atrocity in Manchester

The appalling news from Manchester is beyond words. How society might react to it, however, is a legitimate matter for concern: there have already been calls in the social media for mass internments (of whom, precisely?) – and worse. Possibly one of the most measured reactions on Twitter was from Adam Wagner:

“1/ A few thoughts on the horrendous terror attack on my brilliant home town of .

2/ Terrorism isn’t just senseless violence. It has a purpose, which is to terrorise us. We, the public who watch in terror, are victims too.

3/ It’s totally natural to respond to terror with fear, anger, sometimes even a need for revenge; an ‘eye for an eye’. That’s what they want.

4/ The very best human societies are open, tolerant, multicultural. Terrorism makes us close up, retreat into our safe, small groups.

5/ In times of fear and retreat we must trust the rule-based system we build in better times. It’s insurance against our worst natures.”

Church of Scotland on same-sex marriage

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has agreed in principle to the report of its Theological Commission, An Approach to the Theology of Same-Sex Marriage. Continue reading

Royal Marriages

On Thursday 18 May, the Church of England carried a link to a story in the Daily Mail which it summarized as:Further speculative report that Prince Harry’s girlfriend Meghan Markle could have a royal wedding at Westminster Abbey, despite being a divorcee. [The article] quotes a Westminster Abbey spokesman: ‘The Abbey follows the General Synod Ruling of 2002. Since then it has been possible for divorced people to be married in the Church of England’”.

The Mail comments: Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 26th March

A week in which events were totally overshadowed by the attack in Westminster

A thoughtful consideration of those events from an insider’s point of view was presented by the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, in his Yorkshire Post article From a Palace of democracy to an Abbey of prayer, the best and worst of humanity, written just two hours after the end of the lockdown of parliamentarians and others, who had been transferred to Westminster Abbey.

Progress on Brexit

Prior to the Commons consideration of the Pension Schemes Bill [Lords] and the subsequent adjournment and lockdown of the parliamentary estate, a first reading was given to Tim Farron’s Ten Minute Rule Bill, Terms of Withdrawal from the European Union (Referendum). A second reading was scheduled for Friday 12 May – although its chances of becoming law are zero. Continue reading

Banns of marriage – their development and future

Introduction

The legal requirement to read banns for couples intending to marry in church services was considered by members of the Church of England General Synod on 14 February 2017. Though Synod rejected moves that sought to end this “ecclesiastical preliminary” to marriage, important arguments were cited both for their retention and for their removal. In this post, we summarize the development and current usage in England and Wales, Scotland and the two jurisdictions in Ireland, and examine possible future directions. Continue reading

Next step after Synod Vote – Archbishops’ letter

Further to the Press Release from the Church of England and the Statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury, issued after the rejection by General Synod of the “take note” motion on the House of Bishops’ Report, the Archbishops of York and Canterbury have written to members of the Synod setting out the next steps. A copy of the Press Release is reproduced below. Continue reading