Monday 10 July 2017

Speech for The Cost of Citizenship motion at General Synod

Mr Chairman

Thank you for calling me to make my maiden speech on this item.

I’d like to thank Ben for bringing this motion forward today and am happy to support him.

While it is right that there should be a charge to apply for Citizenship this should relate directly to the actual costs of the application rather than an arbitrary figure, so I think it is right that we should call for the government to look at the figures and make them reflect a more realistic level.

We should also be clear also that this debate is not about migration, people applying for Citizenship are already here integrated in their communities speaking English (or perhaps for some Welsh or Scots Gaelic) and now want to fully become part of their adopted country.
And why shouldn't they? Being British is great and we should support and welcome those people who wish to join us in being British.

Please support this motion.

Sunday 9 July 2017

General Synod, York 2015, Day 2

And so the second day of synod dawned.

After a good nights sleep in Alcuin College (the rooms are all en-suite now, not like my student days) I had an enjoyable Full English breakfast (one of the treats ofbeing away at Synod) in the Vanbrugh dining hall.

The mornings session consisted of a debate on presence and engagement, this was followed by dressing with various legislative matters.

After lunch I attended a very interesting workshop on Digital Evangelism. It looks like the church is (finally!) going to get to grips with this, and we'll be seeing updates and better integration of the websites and social media. And the websites at last will become mobile friendly.

There is also going to be training made available to the dioceses and parishes. I'll be urging my own diocese to take this up as Coventry's current digit offering is, not to put too much a point on it, distinctly sub par.

After this was the big debate of the day, Jayne Ozannne's private members motion against conversion therapy. After some extremely moving testimony in speeches from people  and some amendments including that  rare synod beast an amendment to an anmendment and multiple recorded votes by houses I am delighted to say that not only did synod vote to condemn conversion therapy we votes to call on the government to ban it.

Following the end of the days sessions and the evening meal, a very pleasant evening was spent on the terrace outside Vanbrugh College's bar drinking real ale overlooking the lake.

Saturday 8 July 2017

General Synod, York 2015, Day 1

Thanks to Fr Mark Bratton the Rector of Berkswell who is one of Coventry's clergy members of synod I got a lift up to York and so was there in good time.

After the normal meeting up with people I'd not seen since February.

After opening worship, was a welcome to various visiting Anglican and Ecumenical guests, including the Bishop of Edinburgh how was warmly applauded by the majority of synod (although some hardline ConEvos seemed to think we should have invited a GAFCON schismatic bishop instead.) We then had a short speech of greetings from The Rt Rev'd Matti Repo, Bishop of Tampere of the Church of Finland. Reference was made to the Nordic churches' attitude on sexuality, at  present they are all more inclusive than the CofE

As usual the first substantive item was the business committee report.

During this there was a discussion whether members should have a code conduct. As someone who was a City Councillor on a met borough for 14 years, where there is a code of conduct for elected members I'm actually surprised this is even a discussion point.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty much taken up with the Archbishops' motion on "After the General Election a Still Small Voice of Calm"

There was an attempt to politicise this with various amendments such as reducing the voting age to 16 and introduction of STV, although the amendment Senegal to think this on its own would bring in PR without changes to multi member cobstituencies. Fortunately all the amendments were defeated.

One important issue raised in the speeches was how when parish priests become too partisan party political it can act as barrier to reaching people and hinder mission. I wholeheartedly agree with this point and would encourage certain clergy of my acquaintance to reflect on it.

In the end the motion overwhelmingly passed.

In my personal opinion this debate achieved nothing ave I think synod could have used it's time better, discussing much more important issues or extending the time on later debates

After dinner (lamb) there was a chance to attend fringe events ( I went to the GAS Human Sexuality Group meeting and then the Affirming Catholics in Synod [ACiS] group meeting) followed by a couple of enjoyable pints in the Vanburgh bar, before heading back to my room on the outer reaches of the campus known as Alcuin College.