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Truth and falsehood in Synod debates

Simon Butler has today made a response to my claim that he ‘lied to Synod’ about me and, though I don’t think that public exchanges of statements are the best way to resolve things, his statement requires that I clarify further than I have already done. (My first explanation and his statement can be found in the comments on the previous post.)

In his speech on Synod, Simon made several claims.

He stated that he had been sent a text. He had not; I had sent him a long and detailed message via Facebook messenger.
He strongly implied that this had been a one-off message. It had not. It was part of a correspondence which had been continuing for the previous 8 days.
He also implied that it was unsolicited. The conversation has in fact been initiated by Simon, and had been moved by him onto issues related to the Synod debate.
He claimed that it was asking intrusive personal questions about his private life. It did not. It did list the public statements Simon himself had made on his own initiative.
He claimed that it was ‘borderline harassment’ and mentioned the question of safeguarding. In fact, I specifically gave Simon the option to question anything I had said, and included these paragraphs:

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On Synod, sexuality, and not ‘Taking note’

Yesterday the General Synod of the Church of England debated the report offered by the House of Bishops outlining where we had got to in the debate about sexuality. The form of the debate was unusual; rather than proposing anything, the motion was simply to ‘Take note’ of the report, which essentially means acknowledging that it exists. In most contexts, this functions as an opportunity for general discussion, after which a substantive motion is offered which proposes action in the light of the report. Because of this, ‘Take note’ votes are usually uncontroversial; a Synod ‘old hand’ commented that, in 28 years of experience, the person had only known of 2 or 3 occasions where a ‘Take note’ motion had not been passed.

But because there was no substantive motion offered, many of those who were unhappy with the report saw the ‘Take note’ motion as the only opportunity to express their view about the contents, even though such a motion technically does not mean that. Jayne Ozanne, a lay member from Oxford, seems to have spent the last weeks and months working full time on a PR campaign against the report, and this bore fruit in the voting. Overall, Synod ‘took note’ by 242 to 184, with 6 abstentions (and about 20 members of Synod not present or not voting). But, as is common when there is controversy or a close vote, there was a call for a vote ‘by houses’ i.e. the votes of bishops, clergy and laity are counted separately, and a motion is only passed if it passed by all three groups. The votes were:

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Church teaching and LGB mental health

Peter Ould writes: The Oasis report, “In the Name of Love”, has received lots of attention since its release on Friday.  The Oasis paper makes three claims, two of which are relatively uncontroversial. The first is that “LGB people are significantly more likely to experience mental health problems than heterosexuals“. Several papers are cited to support […]

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Were the Shared Conversations just a Con?

Amongst the rush of responses to the report from the House of Bishops last week, one of the more considered came from Miranda Threlfall Holmes (vicar of Belmont and Pittington on the outskirts of Durham, but soon to move to Liverpool Diocese) and it was widely circulated on social media. It offers (along with other comments) […]

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Can bishops save the Church?

Earlier this week, Adrian Hilton (who writes the Archbishop Cranmer blog) reprised his hosting of Martyn Percy’s views with the offering of a new set of 95 Theses, in the year of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s original. (Contrary to suggestions in online discussion, Luther’s are not dull and rambling, and are worth a […]

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Is Christmas Good News?

Though it is Advent which has passed, and we are now in the Christmas season proper, because of the front-loading of most Christmas activities, it is now the season when most church leaders are breathing a sigh of relief and finally putting their feet up—assuming they didn’t on Christmas day itself. It might be a […]

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Jeremy Pemberton loses employment appeal

It was announced yesterday that Jeremy Pemberton has lost all appeals at the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) that he brought in relation to his Employment Tribunal (ET) case brought against Richard Inwood, Acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham. At one level there is not much to say on this, since the EAT has confirmed in […]

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What does church planting achieve?

One of the key changes that has been introduced as part of the Renewal and Reform programme within the Church of England is in the way that Church Commissioners’ money is distributed to dioceses. Instead of all of it being allocated using a formula determining need, part of it now is distributed as Strategic Development […]

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The pragmatics of the sexuality debate

I offer here the second of three planned reflections on the sexuality debate—before returning to the bigger questions such as question of biblical interpretation, the importance of apocalyptic. Adrian Hilton recently published an exchange of six letters (three each) with Martyn Percy, Dean of Christchurch, Oxford, and in the last one Percy claims that:  I am […]

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