Monday, 23 November 2015

General Synod Induction

Today I had my induction as a new member of the General Synod.

This mornings train was only five minutes late, but it reminded me of all the years I spent commuting to jobs in Northampton and Milton Keynes - so glad I don't have to do that anymore!

Got to Church House no problem at all, it wasn't my first visit as I was there some 16 years ago for the Archbishop of Canterbury's Millennium Youth Event "The Time of our Lives"

After getting my id badge and voting card (more on voting later) I went to the cloakroom to deposit coats and bags. Just like primary school I have my own hook in the cloakroom. Unlike primary school however it has a label with my synod number rather than a picture of a key!

Church House is a bit of a rabbit warren but is pretty well sign posted and there are also loss of people around to point out the right directions (and also scrutinising your I'd badge to check that you are a synod member and are allowed through that does!)

In the morning session, after starting with a short service of worship, we covered the role of General Synod, including the fact that as The Church of England is an established church we are the only body other than parliament that can make laws of the land (though I should point out that this is only in relation to the Church of England not secular matters!) We looked at the main roles of the Synod - as a legislative body, a deliberative body and holding the various church commissions and boards to account.

We got to try out the voting machines, very flash have an individual smart card which goes in a handheld device that looks a bit like a BlackBerry, then hit the appropriator button 1 for yes, 2 for no or 3 for with abstain.

Apparently if the electronic system ever fails we will to go back to the original system of voting by walking through doors.

Finally we ended the morning's session with a briefing from the Met Police on security matters at the Synod.

The afternoons session we had a dramatised example of (curtailed) debates / motions / questions / points of order with a running commentary just to give us a flavour of how it all hangs together. As sometime who was a local councillor for 14 years it all sounds straightforward.

Also in the afternoon we had presentations on the shared conversations on human sexuality from Canon David Porter whom I am used to hearing back home in Coventry Cathedral!

We also had a presentation on the reform and renewal programme from John Spense.

And that was induction. Tomorrow we have the inauguration with a service at Westminster Abbey and a speech by HM The Queen in the Assembly Hall before starting the season properly in the afternoon.