RMC Briefings

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Briefing: Is the Church of England ungovernable?

The Church of England’s “parliament”, the general synod, meeting in July 2023 has been described as its most fractious ever. Irreconcilable differences over same-sex marriage, the sudden sacking of two members of the Independent Safeguarding Board throwing the whole process into chaos, and continuing anxiety over falling membership and income, was a difficult enough backdrop. But coupled with accusations that the agenda was being manipulated leaving synod members with no voice, created a level of distrust, frustration, loss of confidence and eventually mutiny which exploded like a pressure cooker. As one commentator put it: “something gave”, the bishops were openly challenged and things may not be the same again. In this Religion Media Centre briefing, synod members and watchers tried to understand what they had witnessed, how it got to this, and how the church can move forward.

Ruth Peacock chaired this discussion with guests: Church Times reporter Francis Martin; Editor of Church of England newspaper, Andrew Carey; journalist and broadcaster Roger Bolton; Synod members Professor Helen King, Jayne Ozanne, Rev Marcus Walker, Debbie Buggs and Clive Billenness; Commentators: Andrew Graystone, Rev Stephen Parsons, from “Surviving Church” and Simon Sarmiento from “Thinking Anglicans”.

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