Re-elected to the House of Laity
Many thanks to all the Deanery Synod electors who voted for me to represent the Diocese at General Synod.
Its a huge privilege to be given the chance of a second term and I am really looking forward to the next five years.
There are challenges ahead so please continue praying for me and all the other members from Bristol.
Inclusive Church Coalition
Listen to the live hustings.
Read my written statement below:
My first experience of General Synod was in November 2012 when the legislation on women bishops fell in the House of Laity. It was an unforgettable day. But not as unforgettable as facing the many women priests, in the months that followed, whom I admired and respected. It hit home very early on, that what General Synod does is not only important for the Church, but often life changing at the personal level.
We were told that there was no Plan B. The recent flurry of appointments of women as bishops is the proof of the pudding that there was a Plan B. I learned a good deal about General Synod during this time, not least that dead-ends rarely are dead-ends if members set their minds to it!
Over the next five years, General Synod will continue with its reform and renewal programme. This significant work will have far-reaching consequences for the mission of the Church of England and I hope to be really active, particularly in the debate around the resourcing, training and future ministry of lay people. There could well be work on Multifaith Britain, where I expect that my insights from Multifaith Chaplaincy and the diverse community at UWE and in Bristol would be welcome. Young people and schools are likely to be on the agenda and I am keen to represent Bristol’s Diocesan Board of Education in those debates.
The subject of Human Sexuality is clearly going to occupy General Synod over the next five years and I have been consistently engaged with this topic. The Bishop of Bristol asked me, as a member of General Synod, to take part in the recent South-West Shared Conversations on Human Sexuality. It will be really important to take these experiences back into General Synod, otherwise any initial learning or progress could easily be lost. If you vote for me you will be helping to make this possible.
I am wholeheartedly committed to a more inclusive church. Thankfully, we are now seeing the fruit of the women bishops legislation. Yet many remain excluded from the full life of our church: LGBT Christians, black and minority ethnic people, the disabled, those with mental health issues and often, to our shame, the poor. Dare I mention the young adults at the heart of my ministry at UWE who so often find the Church and the Christian faith a complete irrelevance?
UWE aspires to be an Inclusive University. My contribution to navigating the interface between faith and sexual orientation will hopefully inspire some confidence in you. We need to embark with the same will if we are to positively transform both the grass roots experience and leadership of a more inclusive Church of England. This process needs Christians who, like me, are determined to remain alongside those whose biblical interpretations differ from their own. Far from fracturing the Church, I believe we must do this if we are to maintain our core identity as a Church for the nation.
The next five years at General Synod will require prayerful, experienced and robust people who will not be quick to lose heart in the future of the Church of England when there is apparently no Plan B and only a dead-end in sight.
I’m so proud of what the General Synod achieved recently, so thank you for giving me the opportunity to be part of it over the last few years. But it takes at least two full terms to be a really effective member and so I’m asking for your first preference vote.