Church of England General Synod meets in York

Jul 14, 2003 12:04 AM EDT

The General Synod of the Church of England, meeting in York from 11-15 July, are mainly focusing on outward mission and social responsibility this year. Other areas of emphasis and debate are ministry matters and ecumenical affairs, the latter of which will aim to approve the Anglican-Methodist Covenant and encourage the Church of England to implement it.

The principal debates at the July Synod include:

- A children's' strategy for the Church

- Racial justice

- Embryo research

- Ethical investment

- Church buildings strategy

- Financial issues facing the Church

- Ordination training

- Clergy professional conduct

- Anglican-Methodist Covenant

- Legislative business

- Choosing diocesan bishops

During the opening session the synod almost unanimously supported a motion to implement guidelines for the professional conduct of the clergy. The Chairman of the working group, the Revd Canon Hugh Wilcox, was concerned about the risks that clergy face throughout their ministry. "Faced with a pastoral situation the minister has to take immediate decisions about what to say or do," he said. "These [clergy guidelines] are offered to support and develop the church's foundation."