Sunday, 8 July 2018

Synod Observer (2)

Day 3 of the General Synod in York and synod members joined the regular congregation of York Minister for a service of Holy Communion at which the Archbishop of York was the preacher.

Meanwhile, I joined the congregation at Heslington Church (left), the village church close to the University, which was enlarged and re-ordered in the early 70s, soon after the University was founded.

As a York student this was where I worshipped on Sunday mornings, and where, almost forty years ago to the day, I was confirmed.

It was very special to be back at Heslington Church, or 'Hes', as it is known by current students at the University, for today's service of Holy Communion and Baptism.

I loved the informal style of the vicar and the way he made the baptism family so welcome and interacted with the children in such a friendly way.When the kids went out to Sunday School one lad, about four years old, lingered by the Communion rail. 'Can I see the water?' he said to the vicar, who lifted him up to peer in the font. Curiosity satisfied, he ran off to join the others.

After lunch,  the Synod got down to business in the chamber with debates on climate change, environmental programmes and the ethics of nuclear weapons. This was part of synod's brief to comment on national affairs, offering a Christian perspective and, where appropriate, making representations to Her Majesty's Government.

Synod members take a break from debates

These were good debates, with many wise and expert contributions, as well as plenty of disagreement. As always it was fascinating to hear from synod members with particular expertise or experience.

This came out particularly in the debate on nuclear weapons where a number of current or former members of the Armed Forces spoke, including the Chaplain of the Fleet, who in a powerful and moving address spoke of the men and women who man Britain's nuclear submarines, completely cut off from their families, social media and the rest of the world for three months at a time, all to protect the people of our nation.

After all that, it was time for the Southwark members supper in the Charles XII pub in Heslington, a happy and convivial occasion to round off the day/

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