Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Legislative Reform Measure - General Synod Speech

As ever, I publish my speech to the General Synod in order to be transparent about my work as an elected member of the General Synod.

This speech was on the Legislative Reform Measure  - this Measure would allow the amendment of legislation without going through the full process of a Measure (which takes about two years!).  The Bishop of Rochester introduced the debate with a list of some of the more ridiculous items of legislation that are currently affecting the Church of England.

Thank you Chair. 

Synod, I welcome the simplification process and this legislation.  I will be voting for it.  Bishop James' examples are clearly things that need to be addressed.

However, I want to remind Synod that what the Measure calls 'administrative inconvenience' and an 'obstacle to efficiency' are very much in the eye of the beholder.  The Church of England has held to a long tradition of dispersed authority.  This is neither convenient nor efficient in all circumstances.  But it has been an important way of enabling a range of voices to be heard.

I think, Synod, that the responsibility is ours, not just in passing this Measure but importantly in the operation of it.  Once this is in effect, we will need to exercise care in using it so that our right and proper concerns for convenience and efficiency do not have the effect of silencing the voices of those that we need to hear.

I do support this Measure and will vote for it.  However, I hope we will continue to value the proper place of inconvenience and inefficiency when they help us to hear inconvenient and otherwise unheard voices.

Thank you.

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