Tony Delves offers practical advice as the important meeting of the General Synod approaches
As the Synod vote approaches it is tempting to think that most of us can do nothing, that we are now only spectators. Not so. The call to everyone in our constituency is to gird up our loins, engage, and be active. How?
Prayer: Whatever the outcome, the vote will have enormous consequences and great turbulence lies ahead. Our prayer is as much about preparing ourselves for this as about the vote itself. It is a work for the whole constituency.
Plan for Mass to be offered, especially on the day of the vote itself.
Plan other opportunities, for example, a Vigil, Fast and Vigil, Bible study and meditation, Novenas, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Rosary.
Provide material for daily prayers and intercession.
Pray for all the members of General Synod and particularly our own.
Pray for Reform and all our Evangelical friends with whom we are working.
Support our Synod members: We need to support robustly those who enter the lion’s den on our behalf. So uphold them, in spiritual and personal ways, and let them know that they are upheld. Send a message – a card, letter, phone call or e-mail, whether you know them personally or not. It will brace their hearts and nerve their arms.
Spread the word: Make contact by letter, or better still in
person if possible, with all local Synod members and bishops. What should you say?
Remind them that you are praying for them.
Tell them why the legislation is not fit for purpose. It is unfair, divisive and injurious for the whole CofE. You will find material in this and other editions of ND to help, for example Fr Paul Benfield’s article in October’s ND. Write in your own words. This will carry more weight than using a prepared script.
Make clear the fact that this legislation does not carry overwhelming support, despite claims that it does. We are often told that 42 out of 44 dioceses approved it. We are not told that 11 dioceses, that is a quarter of the total, either did not approve the legislation or voted to amend it because it was so unfair. A consistent third of practising members of the CofE oppose it in its present form. That’s a lot of people!
Be vigilant: The vote is likely to be so close that lay members of Synod in particular will be under strong pressure to vote ‘yes’, or abstain, which would achieve the same result.
Be alert to senior clerics and others using their influence inappropriately in this way. If something seems wrong say so, and ask questions.
‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith’ (2 Timothy 4.7). ND