Proposed by David Truby
Seconded by Karen Hamblin
I am the Continuing Ministerial Development Officer and Canon Chancellor of Derby Cathedral. It has been my privilege to serve on General Synod on behalf of the clergy of the Diocese for the last two and a half years. I’m standing again because I believe I have both experience and insight to offer.
End of Term Report
Over the past 2½ years I have spoken in debates about reimagining ministry; women bishops; discipleship; leadership and clergy robes. I have asked questions about pensions and deployment. I have written in to consultations about safeguarding and women bishops. I have also brought back information to the diocese; through a paper for Diocesan Synod, a presentation to Self-Supporting Ministers, and reports in the Cathedral magazine. A full account of my contributions to the General Synod can be found here.
These are the major challenges that the Church of England faces, and which the General Synod will address in the next five years:
Reform and Renewal
A major programme of change has already been launched, called Reform and Renewal. This is founded on the discipleship of all God's people and has implications for ministerial formation; leadership; funding; and simplifying the way that the Church of England works. In principle there is much to commend here. However, some of the detail is problematic and I have already begun to suggest improvements in the areas identified below.
The importance of the local church. In a time of decline, the temptation is to centralise. A recent motion at General Synod about the discipleship of the whole people of God gave actions to Bishops and dioceses, but not to parishes, clergy or laypeople (an omission that I challenged). The reduction in funding for the Diocese of Derby under the new Church Commissioners funding arrangements will mean a greater reliance on our local resources. If elected I will support measures that empower the Church at parish and diocesan level as I whole heartedly endorse Bill Hybels' insight that “the local church is the hope of the world”.
The voices of a broad church. The working groups that produced the Reform and Renewal process contained only a very few people. The voices of women, SSMs and minority ethnic groups were barely heard. This is not a challenge of representation, but a danger of not hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit. The Church of England faces “wicked problems” (in contrast to “tame problems”) and the best method of dealing with such problems is to seek as many voices as possible. St Benedict's rule says that when facing difficult problems the whole community should come together because “the Lord often revealeth to the youngest what is best”. If elected, I will continue to ask which voices are not being heard.
Confidence in public mission. The Church of England has a unique opportunity for mission due to its role as the established church. At times this missionary opportunity may appear inconvenient, perhaps especially so in challenging times. But to step away from our calling to promote the common good is a mistake. If elected, I will encourage confidence in our public mission and resist any changes that make the Church more inward-looking.
This has been the elephant in the room for many years now. The Church of England has suffered from a lack of honesty in conversations about this. This has been to the detriment of our mission, especially mission to young people. Honest conversation has begun, and needs to continue. My view, founded on the Bible, is that there should be an equal place for LGBTI people within the Church, and that we should welcome the extension of the discipline of marriage to all couples. We need to find ways of allowing one another to hold different views on this subject, and of welcoming our gay brothers and sisters. If elected, I will support honesty and openness in the church. I will oppose any Synod measures that do not allow for the conscience of those who disagree.
With the national historic cases review and on-going developments in the Church of England, safeguarding is a major current issue. It is important that the resulting rules are useable by clergy and volunteers. If elected I will use my experience in safeguarding at parish, cathedral and diocesan levels to ensure that the Church is a safe place and that the rules are workable for all.
Thank you for your consideration. Please be in touch if I can answer any questions that you have.
I would be honoured if you would vote for me. Please make me your first or second choice in this election.