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The Church of England's General Synod took place from 7-11 July in York. 
 
On Friday 7 July, The Archbishop of York John Sentamu rejected the authority of the Bible in response to an amendment proposed by Andrea Williams, to insert the words "as revealed in the Bible and the taught by the church" to a motion calling for politicians to "prioritise the common good of all people."
 
Andrea spoke on the need for the Bible to inform our understanding of the common good.
 
He said: “If you’re going to serve the whole community please don’t limit our language…The Word became flesh and sadly we are now making it Word, Word and Word again. Resist the amendments.”
 
Andrea had also proposed another amendment to the motion, calling for the reduction of the gap between rich and poor, the protection of life, the promotion of marriage and family and the maintaining of Christian freedoms.
 
Both of the amendments were rejected. 
 
You can watch a clip of Andrea's speech and John Sentamu's response here.
 
The full motion is as follows, with Andrea’s amendments in bold: 
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AFTER THE GENERAL ELECTION, A STILL SMALL VOICE OF CALM 
That this Synod, mindful that the recent General Election has left many questions unanswered about the shape and priorities of our government at a critical time in the nation’s history: 
(a) give thanks, nonetheless, for the increased turnout and call upon all parties to build on this by addressing the causes of voter apathy and non-participation; 
(b) pray for all those elected to Parliament that they will prioritise the common good as revealed in the bible and taught by the Church of all people in everything they do, especially in negotiations between parties to secure support for a legislative programme; 
(c) pray for courage, for our political leaders as they face the constraints and opportunities of uncertainty and weakness, and for the people of the nation as they too face unprecedented questions about the future;
(d) call upon Christians everywhere to maintain pressure on politicians of all parties to put the cohesion of the nation and its communities at the heart of their programmes; 
(e) commend the continuing work of the churches serving the poor and vulnerable, at home and worldwide, as an example of the priorities which we hope to see in the programmes of government; and 
(f) commit the Church of England to maintaining strong and generous international relations, through our dioceses, the Anglican Communion and ecumenical links, as relationships within the United Kingdom, across Europe and worldwide face new tensions and challenges; 
(g)  given the huge gap between rich and poor in the UK to urge the government to reduce the gap;
(h) recognise and safeguard the sanctity of the human person from conception to natural death; 
(i)  urge the government to promote marriage and the family as understood by the canons of the Church of England which remain the law of the land;
(j) maintain and promote the fundamental freedom of biblical based speech and the manifestation of the Christian faith.
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On Saturday 8 July the Synod also passed a Private Members’ Motion by LGBT activist Jayne Ozanne, to ban therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction. 
The Archbishop of York spoke in favour of the motion, agreeing to an amendment to urge the government to ban such therapy.
 
He said: "The sooner the practice, so called 'conversion therapy' was banned, I can sleep at night. So let's encourage the government to do it." 
 
You can watch this clip here
 
The motion was passed, with the House of Bishops voting 36 for and one against, with no abstentions. The House of Clergy voted 135 for, 25 against with 13 abstentions. In the House of Laity 127 supported the motion with 48 opposing and 13 abstentions.
 
Commenting on his remarks, Andrea Williams said: "The Archbishop of York wants to prevent anyone from helping often abused, hurting people who want to move away from unwanted sexual patterns of behaviour and emotions, and desperately want help. Refusing help to such people is profoundly unkind and anti-Christian."
 
A motion to 'mark' an individual's 'gender transition' through liturgy was also sadly passed. 
 
 
Correspondence

 

Over the past fortnight, several items of correspondence were sent regarding Ms. Ozanne's motion to ban help for unwanted same-sex attraction. 
 

On 22 June, Core Issues Trust's Dermot O'Callaghan sent an open letter to Jayne Ozanne, to all General Synod members. In his letter, he asks Ms. Ozanne to postpone the motion for one year in order to collect evidence of the effectiveness of ministries like Core Issues Trust.

 
 

On 30 June, Jayne Ozanne responded by emailing all General Synod members attaching a briefing paper, 'Understanding Advocacy Science', which claims that therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction is ineffective and can be harmful: 

On 3 July, Andrea Williams issued a press release urging Synod members to reject Ms. Ozanne's motion. She highlights that this motion is political and "dangerous to the Chruch's wider 'wholeness' ministry". 

 

On 3 July, Dermot O'Callaghan sent an open letter to General Synod's General Secretary William Nye, which was also copied to the Archbishops of London and York and sent to all Synod members. He says: "Has the Church considered how devastating it would be for a person to be denied therapy and told to leave spouse and children, and to go and live with a same-sex partner?"

 

On 4 July, a briefing paper was sent by Core Issues Trust in response to the King and Songs science briefing paper, sent by Jayne Ozanne. 

 

On 5 July, a document was produced by Core Issues Trust, as a rebuttal to the science briefing paper sent by Jayne Ozanne.

 

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