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The General Synod of the Church of England meets in London in February for a three day meeting from 2.00 pm on Monday 10thFebruary until 5.30 pm on Wednesday 12th February.
The agenda for the meeting is published today. The main item of business will be the Revision Stage for the draft legislation to enable women to become bishops. In an unusual move, this will be taken on the floor of the Synod without there having been a prior Revision Committee. There will also be three other debates as part of the women bishops process: on the Declaration and Disputes Resolution Procedure agreed by the House of Bishops in December; to initiate the process to rescind the 1993 Act of Synod; and to suspend part of the Standing Orders in order to accelerate the process for referring the legislation to the dioceses. These debates will take up much of Tuesday 11th February.
There will also be debates on Gender-Based Violence, the Girl Guides’ Promise, the environment and fossil fuels and the use of vesture in Church services. The Group of Sessions will conclude with a presentation on the report from the House of Bishops Working Group on Human Sexuality. A Diocesan Synod Motion from the Guildford Diocesan Synod on the Magna Carta is listed as Contingency Business.
On the Monday afternoon there will be a presentation on Ethical Investment by the Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG). The EIAG will give an overview of the Church of England’s approach to ethical investment, in particular the work it has done on reflecting the Church’s position on alcohol more faithfully and supporting purposeful investment in business. It will summarise the issues that the EIAG is currently working on, including the use of pooled funds in ethical investment and an ethical investment approach to climate change.
This will be followed by a further policy-focused debate, this time on Gender-Based Violence. The debate will be preceded by a short presentation by Mandy Marshall and Peter Grant who are co-directors of Restored Relationships, an international Christian alliance working to transform relationships and end violence against women.
Each session will be followed by a Question and Answer session with Synod members. The debate on Gender-Based Violence will be followed by a brief period of worship.
The sequence of business of Tuesday 19th November in relation Women in the Episcopate will be as follows. First, the Synod will debate a motion from the House of Bishops inviting the Synod to welcome the draft House of Bishops’ draft Declaration and Disputes Resolution Regulations. Secondly, there will be the Revision Stage on the floor of the Synod of the draft Measure and Amending Canon. Thirdly, Synod will give initial consideration to a draft Act of Synod to rescind the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993. Finally, there will be a motion to suspend part of Standing Order 90 to reduce the normal minimum length of time for an Article 8 Reference to the dioceses from six months to three months to allow a faster passage of the final stages of the Women in the Episcopate legislation.
The Archbishop of Canterbury will give a Presidential Address on the morning of Wednesday 12th February.
This will be followed by a debate on a package of proposals for legislative change in relation to safeguarding and related disciplinary matters, which has been developed in response to the reports of the Chichester commissaries. This includes making it easier to suspend clergy, or bring complaints against them, where abuse is alleged, enabling bishops to compel clergy to undergo risk assessments and imposing a duty on relevant persons to have regard to the House of Bishops’ safeguarding policies. The intention is to introduce legislation in July 2014 but given the importance and range of the proposals this report gives Synod the opportunity to consider the package in February before the legislation is prepared.
Later that morning, there will be a debate on a motion from the Southwark Diocesan Synod on Environmental Issues. This will build further on the work being carried out by the Church of England Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG). The Diocesan Synod Motion calls for the establishment of a General Synod Working Group on the Environment to look into this further.
Two Private Members’ Motions will be debated on Wednesday afternoon. The first, tabled by Mrs Alison Ruoff (London Diocese), references the recent changes to the Girl Guides’ Promise. The second, to be moved by the Reverend Christopher Hobbs, calls on the General Synod to amend Canon B 8 so that the wearing of the forms of vesture referred to in that Canon ‘becomes optional rather than mandatory’.
Finally, there will be a presentation from Sir Joseph Pilling on the recent Report of the House of Bishops’ Working Group on Human Sexuality which was published on 28 November. There will be an opportunity for questions on the process and next steps on the Pilling Report.
Couples who are thinking of marrying are invited to attend the “How to plan a great wedding” event at St Nicholas Church Allestree on Monday 20th January 7.30pm.
The relaxed, non-commercial event will allow couples thinking of marriage to meet couples who married in 2013 and share advice and tips on the planning process whilst enjoying a drink and canapés. For those that are considering getting married in church there will also be a chance to talk to a vicar about the process and options available including blessings in church after a civil ceremony in this country or abroad.
Revd William Bates said: “When I talk to couples the expense is clearly a big factor in delaying getting married and there is often a feeling that prices increase simply because it’s a wedding.
We planned this event to allow newly married couples to share their experiences and offer advice to couples thinking of getting married. It’s also a chance for couples who perhaps hadn’t considered getting married in church to come along and see what we can offer.
Planning a wedding and getting married should be a special time and I hope this event can help demonstrate that there are lots of options to allow you to have a great wedding without too much expense. “
The event is free but please book to reserve your place : 01332 550224 firstname.lastname@example.org
A new Business Innovation Centre is due to launch next month to support new and growing businesses and social enterprises. St. Peter’s in the City will utilise space within the Church and Centre by offering desk space to new or existing businesses and social ventures.
The launch will take place on Tuesday 4th February, 12 noon at St Peter’s in the City.
The church will offer office space at significantly lower than average rents and support from professional mentors. There will also be help with sourcing available funding through the Church Urban Fund, Local Enterprise Partnership and individual donors.
St. Peter’s already supports local people in a number of ways including debt advice, Refugee and Asylum Seekers, food parcels, a children’s clothes bank and to retail and business through the chaplaincy service, and their involvement in the St Peters Quarter Business Improvement District (BID).
Canon Paul Morris from St. Peter’s In the City explained: “In light of the Redfern Commission, an Innovation Centre offers a very practical and co-operative response to the employment pressures faced by many – including young people and those who have been made redundant and want support to set up their own businesses.
“Our research shows that businesses would greatly benefit from having the DE1 postcode but cannot always afford the city centre rents and rates.
“This will therefore support businesses and organisations who are working to address social needs in the city with space for up to eight ‘hot desks’ with greatly reduced rents and the support they need to start new businesses or grow existing businesses – creating much needed local jobs.
“We believe St. Peter’s is uniquely placed in our region to take this model that has worked so well elsewhere and adapt it to local needs, priorities and aspirations.”
The Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern, Bishop of Derby said:
"I welcome this exciting new venture. It shows the church working in partnership with businesses and with those seeking to create employment. It will enable new ventures to develop and to enhance the life of our city. We have a particular role in bringing together people from different backgrounds and perspectives to create new life - very appropriate for a city of innovation."
St John’s Church, Ridgeway joined up with their local community last night to perform an open air nativity. The event , started at the church and was hosted by the Bridge Inn at Ford. It was scripted by Sharon Taylor, a children’s dramatist who lives in the village. Children from Ridgeway primary school starred in the performance and joined the choir.
Around 200 people attended the event which included a mixture of traditional carols, a folk wassail and a nativity-adjusted version of Slade’s “Merry Christmas Ev’rybody!” all played by a folk band from Dronfield (which includes curate, Revd Ian Price).
The local WI also provided refreshments, and a local farmer supplied the bales.
Revd Ian Price said: “It was nice to see the community come together and importantly, the Gospel of what Christmas is about was shared in public, and people were invited to contact and find out more. Plans are already afoot to do another one next year.”
Christmas is about beginnings says Revd Ben Griffith in a new video broadcast today on the Diocesan website www.derby.anglican.org
He says: “For many Christmas has become an event, a party, a day to get together, and all these things are good but surely there must be something more?. The Christmas story doesn’t end with an event it begins with one. The birth of Jesus is astounding, but it’s astounding because of what happens next. Jesus went on to challenge the way we view our existence, our self-centeredness and to open us up to the possibility of a life with God, here and now.”
He continues “ Perhaps this Christmas we can go further than events and deepen our relationships with God and each other, Christmas is about beginnings.”
A different video has been shown each week in advent featuring people from all around the Diocese and what advent means to them. They are all available to view on our Youtube channel.
Welcoming communities at Christmas is the subject of a new video broadcast today on the Diocesan website www.derby.anglican.org
Church warden Kat Alldread from St Bartholomew, Clay Cross shares a reflection on how we prepare for Christmas in the three minute video.
She says: “All around people are preparing for Christmas dinners and parties, the streets are decorated and the shops filled with goodies, but as Christians we know Christmas is about more than that. We have the real Christmas story, the story of Jesus of coming to be with us and it’s for us to share with people in our communities.
She continues “Churches throughout the diocese are holding events to welcome their communities into church over Christmas”
A different video will be shown each week in advent featuring people from all around the Diocese and what advent means to them.
The Diocese of Derby is gearing up for one of the busiest months of the year as churches and community groups hold special events during the Advent season.
A series of posters advertising events taking place throughout Derbyshire have been released and further information is available on the diocesan website www.derby.anglican.org
A variety of events are taking place this year including Christmas Tree Festivals, Carol and Crib services, Christingles, Christmas fairs and concerts.
For further information about the events taking place you can visit: www.derby.anglican.org/index.php/home/parish-events-
Getting ready for Christmas is the subject of a new video broadcast today on the Diocesan website www.derby.anglican.org
Revd Alicia Dring from St Peter’s Church Littleover shares a reflection on how we prepare for Christmas in the three minute video – complete with special Christmas Pyjamas!
She says: “ Advent is about getting ready. Most of us seem to get ready with outward stuff for Christmas but we forget to prepare what’s going on inside. It’s not just the run up to Christmas, where we buy lots of cards and presents. Advent isn’t just opening the door of the advent calendar and eating the chocolate. Advent is supposed to help us get ready for the most exciting day ever. The day we remember God coming to Earth, not as a mighty warrior but as a tiny baby.”
She continues “ With each Chocolate ask God to bless you, with each bit of tinsel ask God to show you that he is the light of the world and with every gift remember God’s gift of Christ to the world”
A different video will be shown each week in advent featuring people from all around the Diocese and what advent means to them.
Christians believe that faith is a gift and our experience shows that we all come to it in unique ways.
Sometimes it feels like we have been searching for God, for others it is as if God has searched us out and found us. There is no one way to explore and find faith.
A good place to start though is with Jesus Christ. Our Christian faith would not exist without him. We believe if you look at Jesus, a man who lived in Palestine under the Roman Empire, you also see what God looks like – in fact you truly see God. You can’t place even a tissue paper between Jesus and God.
We have histories of the life of Jesus handed down to us in the Gospels, the first four books in the New Testament in the Bible.
There we read how Jesus was born, lived and showed us what God is like by his words and actions which always seemed to turn upside-down the status quo and put the last people, first. Jesus’s life and actions led to him being executed by the powers that be of his day, and though he died, we believe God brought him back to life by raising him from death, because God wanted humanity to be part of God’s life forever.
The truth of the resurrection of Jesus changes everything for Christians; from those first Christians who followed Jesus – who told, and lived out, the amazing message of the love of God and life after death to those around them in the Roman world, right up to Christians today.
There is now not one life to live but another one to come. There is a God who so desires us, loves us and likes us that he longs to be with us for all eternity. When we discover the gift of faith in God, who has entered our world of struggle and violence and experienced the worst it can do we realise that we don’t belong to ourselves in the same way anymore.
We belong to another – and we belong to each other and the world around us in different way. Not only faith but all of life becomes pure gift, to be responded to by giving our lives up to the service of God and others.
We find ourselves wanting to please God and turn away from all that is not of God – however hard a daily task that is!
These truths are captured in the ritual of baptism which is how the entry into Christian faith is celebrated.
Jesus himself was baptised in a river and God’s Spirit descended on him to fire him up for the work ahead. God, the Father spoke these words over him “You are my own beloved child and I am pleased with you.” This is the experience of every Christian through our baptism – we are ‘the beloved of God’ and we are given the Holy Spirit to live ever freer lives ‘inside God’ and for the good of the world.
The Bishop of Derby, Dr Alastair Redfern has announced that this years’ Harvest Appeal will raise money for a building project in the slums of Peru.
Dr Redfern has worked with The Bishop of Peru, Bishop William Godfrey, who has a family link to Chesterfield, on the project.