Thursday, September 03, 2015

General Synod Election Address, November 2012

Simon Taylor
Proposed by Geraldine Pond
Seconded by Michael Mitton

Dear friends,

I am the Continuing Ministerial Development Officer and Canon Chancellor of Derby Cathedral.  I’m standing for General Synod because I believe I can offer a clear and articulate voice in complex times.

I was brought up in a middle-of-the-road parish church.  A school Christian Union infused my faith with energy and personal commitment.  Working with a United Reform Church in the city centre of Birmingham widened my vision ecumenically and gave me a keen sense of social justice.  As a student I explored Catholic approaches to worship, and at theological college spent a semester in the English College in Rome.  A regular Greenbelter, I have been very involved in alternative worship.  I am, therefore, something of a spiritual mongrel.  Formed by such a variety of church traditions, I firmly believe the Church of England needs them all.

I am married with two children, and until recently was a parish priest in Bristol.  Ministry there involved growing the numbers of children and young families, outreach to an area of depravation, supporting a large church school & a local authority children’s centre and resolving issues of governance in the church. 

I offer this vision of the church which would shape how I would work on your behalf, if I were elected:

A Missionary Church

Far and away the most important issue facing the Church of England is engaging in the mission of God to the world.  I believe that the Parish is the key place of missionary encounter.  I also have experience of setting up a Fresh Expression and offering oversight to it as it grew.  The General Synod cannot do mission, but it can act in ways that enable or hinder mission.  Sometimes the effects on mission are unintended, but no less real.  If elected, I would work to enable the Church of England to be a church that is focussed on mission in every aspect of its being, not least in the way it spends its money.
An Equal Church

I am grieved by the failure of the Women Bishops Measure.  I strongly believe that we need bishops of both genders.  If elected, I would work to support legislation that would enable the church to have bishops of both genders.  There should be provision for those who dissent, but not at the price of undermining the ecclesiology of the Church of England, or the authority of the diocesan bishop.

A Broad Church

A privilege of my role is to travel around the Diocese, from Glossop to Swadlincote, from Killamarsh to Ashbourne.  It is a joy to work with such an immensely varied group of clergy: Non-Stipendiary, Ministers in Secular Employment, Ordained Local Ministers, Incumbents of parishes and Curates.  If elected, I would work for a church that values & fosters diversity and listens to the voices and experiences of different expressions of ministry in the church.

A Local Church

An organisation that feels threatened has a tendency to centralise.  We have seen this in the way that the structure of parochial fees has changed recently and I come across it regularly in relation to the training of curates and other ministers.  I strongly believe that Bill Hybels is right to say that “the local church is the hope of the world.”  If elected, I would work to support the work of the church in the parish and at the local level.  Where the national church can support this, great.  At times it will need to get out of the way. 

A Fair Church

My father, a retired priest in another diocese, died this summer. He had in good faith and in trust entered a co-ownership arrangement with the Pensions Board for a house in retirement.  In dealing with his affairs we uncovered huge costs and unfair (and at times idiotic) management.  I do not believe this is how the church should treat its clergy in retirement.  If elected, I would seek to introduce a Private Members Motion to examine the provision for retired clergy and make it fairer and more cost effective.

Thank you for your consideration.  I would be privileged if you would vote for me.  Please make me your first or second choice in this election.

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