Mi­grant cri­sis to top agenda of new Gen­eral Synod

The Church of England - - FRONT PAGE -

NEXT MONTH’S Gen­eral Synod will host a de­bate on the mi­grant cri­sis, af­ter a group of 86 bish­ops wrote to the Prime Min­is­ter on the sub­ject.

It was re­vealed to­day that Down­ing Street had replied to their let­ter, al­though the contents were not re­vealed. How­ever, the Sec­re­tary Gen­eral, Wil­liam Fit­tall, said that it ‘main­tained’ the Gov­ern­ment’s po­si­tion.

The mo­tion for de­bate on 25 Novem­ber has not been re­vealed, as the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion may change prior to the Synod meet­ing.

How­ever, Mr Fit­tall said that there were two sen­si­tive ar­eas fac­ing Synod. One was its re­sponse to the scale of the UK con­tri­bu­tion to the cri­sis and the other was achiev­ing a bal­ance be­tween sig­nal­ing sol­i­dar­ity with dis­placed Chris­tians while at the same time en­sur­ing that ‘we re­spond to the needs of all’.

The two-day meet­ing will be in­au­gu­rated by the Queen and will fol­lowed by a Eucharist at West­min­ster Abbey, where the preacher will be the Ro­man Catholic Preacher to the Royal House­hold Fr Raniero Can­talemessa.

Other items on the agenda of the tenth Gen­eral Synod in­clude the Re­form and Re­newal pro­gramme, global warm­ing, a re­port from the Church build­ings re­view group and a pre­sen­ta­tion on re­cent re­search on pub­lic per­cep­tions of Je­sus.

More than half – 53 per cent – of the new Synod were not on the last Synod and the num­ber of women on Synod has in­creased to 42 per cent, from 31 per cent last time. For the first time there will be women in all three Houses.

The av­er­age of Synod mem­bers has dropped slightly, from 52 to 51 among the clergy and from 58 to 56 among the laity. The youngest mem­ber of Synod will be Rhian Ain­scough (Le­ices­ter), who is just 19. Mean­while David Ash­ton (Leeds), with 43 years on Synod, is the longest-serv­ing mem­ber.

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