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Saturday, 24 July 2010

General Synod - Decisions Made (Besides Women Bishops!)

I have already posted an article about the Church of England General Synod's recent work on women bishops. The meeting in York from 9 to 13 July did cover some other matters as well! Here is a short digest:

Clergy Terms of Service
As part of new legislation introducing "common tenure" for clergy in 2011, provisions for maternity, paternity, and adoption leave were made.The new common tenure legislation will only be applied by analogy in the Diocese in Europe as the employment status of our clergy is different from England and varies in almost every country we serve.

Liturgical business
Final approval was given to an Additional Weekday Lectionary. This provides "stand alone" Bible readings that are especially suitable in length and content for services at which occasional worshippers are present – for example, choral evensong in cathedrals.

Five new commemorations were added to the Common Worship Calendar:
18 January - Amy Carmichael, Founder of the Dohnavur Fellowship, spiritual writer,
24 March - Paul Couturier, Priest, Ecumenist, 1953
24 April - The Seven Martyrs of the Melanesian Brotherhood, Solomon Islands,
12 May - Gregory Dix, Priest, Monk, Scholar, 1952
3 October - George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, Ecumenist, Peacemaker,

Two other anti-slavery campaigners, Olaudah Equiano and Thomas Clarkson, are to be celebrated with William Wilberforce on 30 July.

Clergy Pensions
Synod agreed in February 2010 to make certain changes to the clergy pensions scheme, including increasing the pension age from 65 to 68 and increasing the accrual period for future service from 40 to 41.5 years. Also the Scheme is to be contracted into the State Second Pension Scheme (S2P.) The full pension from the Clergy Scheme jn consequence will be reduced from two-thirds of National Minimum Stipend (NMS) to half of NMS for future service. The understanding is that members would thereby earn a smaller scheme pension but a higher state pension for future service, resulting in a broadly neutral effect on total pension entitlement from all sources. Clergy in the scheme in our Diocese in Europe cannot contract into the S2P. Senior Staff are preparing some guidance for our clergy and congregations so that a similar broadly neutral effect on total pension can be maintained.

Job Sharing in Ordained Parochial Ministry
A motion was carried requesting the Archbishops’ Council to bring forward legislative proposals for enabling job sharing arrangements between clergy in parochial ministry, especially by married couples.

Fresh Expressions
Synod carried a motion requesting the Archbishops’ Council to identify sources of funding for the production of an online library of resources.

Relations with the Church of Scotland
The Synod endorsed the report Our Fellowship in the Gospel, which sets out ways in which the Church of England and the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland can consult and co-operate as two national or established Churches.

The Synod agreed to the formation of a new Faith and Order Commission, to carry on the functions of the Faith and Order Advisory Group, the House of Bishops Theological Group and the Doctrine Commission.

Background papers for each debate, alongside links to an audio archive of each session, are available at:

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