Synod round up Fed 2017.

Well, what a week that was.
I’m going to tackle it in two separate blogs, mainly because for obvious reasons I have more to say about Wednesday’s House of Bishops debate than I do about other items that were presented and debated during the week.

However we shall start with a general account of the week.
Monday began with the Business committee report, however a lot of it was taken over by the timetable that was set out for Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday at that point in time was set out to include group work, followed by a 90 minute debate. Quite a few of us felt that A. we didn’t want to take part in even more talking and listening, and B. 90 minutes wasn’t long enough for a debate of this much interest. Our aim was to hopefully get the group work cancelled and have a longer debate.
Later in the week, we didn’t manage to get the group work cancelled but we did manage to get it pulled forward allowing for a longer debate than scheduled. I talk more about that and the group work in my other blog.

We then moved onto the Anniversary of the Reformation debate where the Bishop of Coventry encouraged us ‘to foster mutual understanding and reconciliation between Churches for the sake of our deeper renewal’. This went down well, as expected, there’s not much to object too!
The Archbishop of Canterbury also gave his presidential address on Monday before we moved onto question time. He spoke of recent political events and the uncertainty that surrounds us at the moment. How he hopes that this could be turned into liberation and how the Church of England can be part of the answer.
He told us we must be cross shaped, confident and above all outward looking.

Tuesday began with the Preliminaries to Marriage debate which throughout I have to be honest I was in the middle ground over. I could see both sides, but almost felt like I couldn’t really comment simply because it doesn’t directly affect me. The divide was between those who wanted to move away from reading banns of marriage and all the background work that goes with that, and those that wanted to keep them for pastoral outreach reasons. After a good debate on both sides the motion failed so Banns remain.

Tuesday afternoon was mainly legislative business, which again I’ll be honest, and don’t think I’m alone in saying, I came in and out of. We discussed vestments, funerals for those who commit suicide, pensions, safeguarding and clergy retirement age along with others.

Wednesday was the big one that we’d all been waiting for, again you can read my separate blog here.
But before that was the morning’s business. The creation of a suffragan Bishop of Loughborough sailed through and the appointment process will begin. We then moved onto debating fixed odds betting terminals, again due to the damaging nature, the amount of money that can easily be spent on these machines, it was a topic that all Synod members were happy to approve.

Moving ahead to Thursday we said farewell to Richard Chartres, the retiring Bishop of London after 22yrs service. Justin Welby gave a brilliant and heartfelt send off to both him and his wife.
After an address from the secretary of the Anglican Communion we moved onto a report from the Archbishops Council ‘Setting God’s people free’ part of renewal and reform and focusing on equipping lay people within our parishes. Although I missed a bit of it in the middle it was great to hear of people’s stories from across the dioceses of what lay people are doing, but also suggestions on how to make it a stronger report and how better to support lay people in the Church of England, something that the CofE rely heavily on.

We closed at 1pm until July.
I always find migrating from General Synod back to the real world a strange one. For days afterwards I’m still using some ‘synod language’ or walking around expecting to see the synod friends that I’ve just spent 4 days with.
I guess because of the momentous debate and result we had on Wednesday this seems even more so this year… so over and out until July!

Bishops, friends and radical inclusion.

You know when you have a date stuck in your mind, and you don’t really plan or think about life after that date?
Well Wednesday 15th Feb was that date for me.

It was the day we debated GS2055, in other words the House of Bishop’s report on same sex relationships following the Shared Conversations.

Since the report came out a few weeks prior, I’d known this was when I needed to stand up and make my voice heard – literally. Until this point I’d stayed well away from the microphones and admired my friends who had made their maiden speeches.
There was a group of us both in and out of Synod that had worked closely together in preparation for this debate, and deciding what we were going to do about the group work that was planned for Wednesday after lunch.

To start off, I was in two minds about whether or not to attend the group work. On one hand I was fed up of talking and listening, that’s what I’d done for the past three years and it had got us nowhere. As I said in my previous blog I had whole heartedly signed up and trusted in the Shared Conversations process, and I felt this report had hurt me, and betrayed my trust.
On the other hand I didn’t want to be seen as not engaging. I am a big believer that change is relational and with a divide like the one we have, you have to talk, listen and do you best to understand.
But, I did eventually decide not to take part. Mainly due to those feelings of hurt, and betrayal. It was going to be hard enough sitting through the debate never mind having to discuss case studies which quite frankly were appalling. Every one of them presented the LGBT+ members of Churches as problems; there was not one single case study where maybe, just maybe, a gay member of the congregation was a blessing or a gift. I also felt it was important to stand with those who were also not attending, some for the same reasons as myself, and some due to simply wanting to support the LGBT members of Synod. That meant a lot.
So we had our own ‘group work’ which was an important time to focus, listen to each other, and also to get our reasons and points of view listened to by Justin Welby who joined us for half an hour.

By the time the debate came round, although nervous and subconsciously preparing myself to be hurt (again) I did feel an overwhelming sense of calm and confidence.
There had been rumours of a one minute speech limit from the start, so I’d prepared  three, two and one minute speeches. I made sure I got in the chamber early to get the seat I wanted and prepare myself mentally. But the calm and confidence was more than that, it wasn’t just me being over prepared, or the sense of support from other within and outside of Synod, it was that ‘God feeling’ you sometimes get. When you know He is right there with you, holding your hand and in complete control of the situation.

I got called to speak third! Out of over 170 requests to speak, I was third! I had hoped I’d have a bit more time to see what the tone of the debate was like – not that I could or would have changed my speech, but you know, I wanted to hear a few speeches first! However I’m not complaining, it did mean once I’d done my bit I could get my head back in the game and listen to others.
You can hear my speech from 24 minutes in here along with the rest of the debate.

Although it went down well, and it got rather a lot of media coverage, I really hope I did justice to those who often feel they don’t have a voice.

I want to acknowledge that I know I am privileged to have a place at that particular table, I have a direct line to power which most people don’t and for the time that I’m there I want to use it to the best of my ability to represent those outside the chamber, and often outside the Church.  I really do hope that my speech, and my vote against the report did that. It won’t have done it for all, but for my community, and the minority I am part of I really hope it did.

I spoke of my friend Helen, and how she took her own life in April last year. I wasn’t hugely close to her, but she was part of our community, we’d both enjoyed Two23 and Greenbelt, marched at London Pride together and I will always wish she’d have reached out further to us. It highlighted to me that even those of us that have brilliant support networks, and are part of loving, safe, Christian LGBT groups, sometimes, it isn’t enough. Coupled with mental health issues, the overarching message that the Church of England gives out is sometimes enough to cripple people, tragically, to the point of death.

I hope and pray that our speeches on Wednesday, alongside the momentous vote, and the letter from the two Archbishop’s the day after is the start of real change. The start of this new, radical inclusive Church that we all dream of.
A Church where I no longer have to lose friends due to us getting it so wrong.

In memory of Lizzie, Helen and all those for whom this became too much.

blogpic

I trusted because what else was I to do?

I’m trying to think of a punchy way to sum up how it feels to read the 19 page report from the House of Bishops RE the Shared Conversations process.
I can’t, but the report itself is punchy, just not in a good way.

Almost three years ago the Shared conversations were born; they were a process which every diocese and General Synod member would take part in, in hope to talk about the elephant in the room, and think about how we are to continue together amid deep disagreement.
We were always told this wasn’t a decision making process, that there was no planned outcome, but we were asked to trust and I did.
I trusted because what else was I to do? I took part because there was no other real option if we wanted any sort of change, I opened my heart to those who I disagree with because I firmly believe that if I don’t we’re never going to ‘walk forward together.’

It was never going to be easy reading the culmination of three years’ work, I knew there would be parts I wouldn’t be happy with, and unfortunately I knew some of it would probably hurt, but being openly gay in the Church of England it’s what you sign up too!
But I don’t think I’m alone when I say this feels like a whole load of woolly nothing.

For me the essence of the whole report is, ‘We’re going to continue as we are, but we’ll publish a new training document, we think it’s unfair to question only gay ordinands on their bedroom habits, so we’ll just question everyone. Oh and we’re not going to change any law, provide any liturgy for blessing CPs, and marriage is still only for a man and a woman, for life.’ (Anyone want to mention anything about divorce? No…?)

One of the most prevalent sentences of the whole document, I thought, was in the first few paragraphs.

“If we are heard as lacking in love, our ability to proclaim the God of love as revealed in Jesus Christ is damaged or negated.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself.
This isn’t proclaiming the love of God. The world outside of the Church of England are laughing at us, shaking their heads, because they cannot see how we are still falling over ourselves and not being able to sort this out!
I long for the day that I don’t have to go around attempting to pick up the pieces of the damaged LGBT community because the CofE has **** on it from a great height.

But I will, because this is my Church as much as anyone else’s, because I am one of the fortunate ones to have an amazing family and Church family that supports me 100%, because one day I will read a Church of England report that allows same sex couples to walk down the aisle of their Church. Even if I am in a nursing home, with elasticated trousers, and sitting on a waterproof chair.

As my friend Tracey at LGCM quoted earlier in the week, “We asked for bread, and you gave us a stone.”
That doesn’t mean we turn away and go home, it means we ask again and again, we work harder, and we don’t give up until we get it.

Shared thoughts from the Shared Conversations.

Having just returned from General Synod and the final round of Shared Conversations, I’m left with mixed emotions.

I should think some of that has to do with being rather tired still. Although you’re sitting listening to people, when you are truly listening and trying to put yourself in that person’s shoes it’s exhausting.

I’ll try my best to give you a rundown of what happened and how I felt throughout. It’s worth noting that I’m bound by St Michael’s House protocol as is everyone who took part. That means I can talk about my experience, and how it made *me* feel. I can talk about things that were said, however I can’t attribute that to anyone, and I have to make sure none of you reading can work it out either! So if I come across as being a little woolly on detail, that’s why!

We started on Sunday afternoon after a service in York Minister and a lovely meal out in York with friends. If you follow me on twitter then you’ll know I was pretty nervous about the whole situation, and I think some of that was due to not knowing who else would be in your group. We were given our group numbers via our pigeon holes, therefore you ended up with a number, two days before you were even due to meet!
For me one of my main worries was being in a group with someone that I felt I couldn’t emotionally handle. Possibly not in the essence of the conversation, but it was my fear none the less.

Once in our groups we spent the rest of Sunday reflecting back and sharing our stories with each other in groups of three. This was time just to listen to each other, and although you could ask questions there was instruction not to challenge or question insensitively.
I walked away on Sunday feeling overall quite positive, although emotional. Reliving the past and making yourself that vulnerable really took it out of me.

Monday was an incredibly long day, and there was an awful lot to take in. We started with presentations in the central hall on various points of view on scripture which was helpful. Again, my fear was that it would be the usual passages that would be mentioned just from different angles, but it wasn’t which was refreshing. I know some from the more conservative angle were upset and didn’t feel they were properly represented – part of me wonders if the lack of ‘clobber texts’ was why! We then went back into our small groups and discussed passages of scripture that we felt had helped us in our journeys around the subject of human sexuality.

For me up until this point, I’d been rather happy. Tired & emotional yes, but that was to be expected.

At lunch on Monday I learnt of what had been happening in other groups, and how my friends experience was very different to my own. Certain things that had been said, and literature being given out really got to me. Not just because of the way it was making people feel, but actually I felt that went against the protocol and the essence of what was trying to be done over the course of the conversation. I wouldn’t have, and didn’t give out anything to anyone I disagreed with, this wasn’t an ‘I’m going to change your mind’ process, this was about listening & understanding better.
Having signed up whole heartedly to the protocol I felt I had to say something, not because I disagreed with what they were giving out (although I did!) but because it’s not helpful to the situation and it’s not what they signed up too!
Having discussed this with David Porter, I took the rest of Monday lunch to take some time out, try and not let my frustration affect what else was going to happen in the day and so I could listen properly.

We met back in the central hall for most of the afternoon, with what was an overload of information and emotion.
We heard four people’s stories of how they’d grown up and come to terms with their sexuality, their experience in Church, from friends & family and it was deeply deeply moving. I knew two of them, and although it wasn’t really my place to feel proud of them, I felt immensely proud. Having shared my story the day before with three people and been reduced to tears, I have huge admiration for them being so open in front of 450 members of General Synod.

We then heard from a couple of panels on the Changing Culture and how that affects us as a Church. I found both of these very difficult, probably because we’d already taken so much in, but also because of the content.
Don’t get me wrong, I expected all views to be represented, but what I also expected was for it to be like water off a ducks back, for it to go over the top of me, and it didn’t, it went right through me, and it hurt.
Looking back I think it maybe had something to do with how we’d opened ourselves up the previous day and in doing so I opened up old wounds, I guess 24hrs later they were still open.

Up until that point I had also been very much on the side of not wanting to split over this, and surely we could find a way forward, to coin someone else’s phrase, the Father mansion is big enough for us all. But something that was mentioned hit me a fresh, and again I don’t know why, but a comment was made asking how we can move forward together when the blessing of same sex relationship is considered by some, as blessing sin? I left asking myself the question if I believed a specific act was sinful, could I stay in a Church which then went onto bless, condone and celebrate that sin? I don’t know.

Having felt all of that, we then went onto the fourth session of the day in central hall, it’s worth mentioning by this point I was utterly shattered, I’d been on an emotional rollercoster and had taken in that much information that I felt I couldn’t possibly take any more in.
We discussed changing culture not just in the UK this time, but around the world, this particularly brought into context what had happened in The Episcopal Church of America and the wider Anglican Communion. There were some comments in this session that I felt were the final straw for me that in effect, shut me down completely. Comments about a woman’s place in a marriage and female genital mutilation which I thought were not only off topic but actually highly offensive. I think that was felt across the board and it was this, that made me wonder whether I actually want to be in wider communion at all!

I left feeling pretty down, and having to go back into our small groups, I didn’t know whether I could stomach anything else, but actually, my small group was lovely, and I did leave feeling better. Add to that a few glasses of wine, and talking to friends over dinner, and I did feel better by the end of the evening.
Tuesday morning was the final discussion over how we felt the process would help us moving forward. Inevitably this sort of moved us on to what change we’d like to see and ideas on how we think that change might come about. When I say change, I meant very very small steps (well in my opinion!), not bringing in same sex marriage over night, but how can we carry the momentum we’ve felt over the last few days. Even that, for some seemed too much and there I felt plunged back into my ditch of not much hope! Our small group session ended rather abruptly due to time constraints, and again I think that left me feeling a bit down.
In hindsight, rather than taking it to heart, it would have been good to have more time to listen to why people felt the way they did, and try and understand more.

Overall I’m glad I did it, and it was a privilege to be part of what seems to be, the start of something very real, and very important for our Church. It really was a rollercoaster of emotions, and as I said to many others, couple that with being tired, in unusual surroundings, without your family and friends from home it does take its toll.
I don’t know what happens next, it seems to be down to the Bishops, but there does seem to be a sense of wanting to carry this on, and to change the way we do synodical business around this topic. I don’t think anyone wants this to descend into a brick lobbing contest which is unfortunately what will happen if we debate this in the usual manner.

What I did really *really* appreciate was the amount of support I received, and I’m not the only person who’s said that.
I had people who I didn’t really know that well, stopping me in the corridor asking if I was ok, and how I was feeling. People messaging me, texting me saying they’re praying for us all, and your prayers did work, although it was hard, not once did I feel like I wasn’t loved, or valued, and I knew God was right there in the centre of it, even if I couldn’t always feel Him.

What’s obvious for me is that throughout this process over the 48hrs was that we are no longer issues, we are people, and it feels like everyone is coming to understand that. We know as a Church that we can’t continue the way we have been. As someone said, now we have started this, we have to do something; we can’t just sit back and do nothing.

Going anywhere nice?

I’ve got a long weekend booked off work, so of course I’ll be faced with the question
“Going anywhere nice?” My answer will probably be something along the lines of
“Just going to Synod (pronounced sigh-nod, inside joke – I mean it is a strange word!), we’ve got the sexuality stuff to discuss, so…”

The guys I work with all know that I’m on General Synod, they played the Champion’s League music when I got elected and we’ve talked about it a fair amount since, so it’s no secret where I’m going, but nice isn’t really what I’d describe it as!

Let me explain, the Church of England have been undergoing a process over the last 18 months called ‘Shared Conversations’ which is exactly what it says on the tin. Each Diocese has had representatives go away for a few days with neighbouring Dioceses to discuss the ‘How the Church should respond given the cultural changes in relation to human sexuality’.
I went on the Yorkshire Shared Conversation back in May last year, and although I wasn’t looking forward to it then either, I found it an overall pleasant (if not shattering) experience. Saying that, the conservative wing of the Church was missing, which meant at times we had little to discuss because we all agreed with each other to a certain extent!
We’re now in the final stages of the Shared Conversations which involves members of General Synod sitting down and discussing the same question. So that’s exactly what I and many others will be doing from Sunday through to Tuesday lunchtime.

I read the Bishop of Manchester, David Walker’s blog earlier today, it’s brilliant, and if everyone takes that approach, I doubt I’ll have much to be nervous about.
But I am nervous, even scared, as much as I want to do this, because I do believe it’ll help, at the same time I want to turn and run as fast as I can. I want to stay where it’s safe, were I won’t get hurt, because I (along with others) know how much it hurts, we’ve been here before.  At the same time I’m fed up of discussing it…me, sharing my story that is so often just asked on the spot. I’m fed up of being told to wait, that the Church is moving too quickly when in reality, in the outside world, it can’t move quickly enough!

But I know, that all the above is, my mortal, human reaction, and I’ve got to rise above it. I’ve got to realise this is bigger than me, and how I feel. That I can do this, it’ll take a hell of a lot out of me, it’ll probably hurt, but I’m putting my trust in a God who can heal.  Let’s face it, He put me here, so He can deal with it!
I remember when I went off to the Yorkshire conversations, I’d been listening to a particular song quite a lot, and I’m drawn back to the lyrics again.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever you would call me”

And that’s exactly it my trust, our human trust has borders, usually based on previous experience. But, I firmly believe I’m in Synod because that’s where He wants me, and that this weekend He wants me in those rooms having those conversations and if that’s where I am supposed to be, then He’ll look after me and He’ll be there with me.

So if you’re the praying type send a few up for us, that the whole thing will be productive, that we’ll find a way to disagree at the same time as showing each other love and respect, that we can build a Church that is all inclusive, where there truly is room for everyone.

 

Feb 2016

So, I’ve just returned from my second (although it feels like my first) General Synod, down in London from Monday though ’til Wednesday.

I say the first, because back in November it was all brand new and all very alien. The first day was the induction day, followed by the inauguration service with the Queen, and then an afternoon of business before I had to head back up North for work (it did continue until the following day).
This time, it was business from the get go, and I could stay the full three days now I’ve sorted out some extra leave with work.

I’ve decided to do this blog as a way of sharing my experiences and thoughts back to the diocese and to the deaneries. You may already know but I’m an avid tweeter, and a fan of social media, blogs etc. I’m aware this isn’t for everyone and of course will still be visiting my assigned deaneries as and when they want me too. But in between those visits, at least this is a way of staying in touch.

So, I’ll give you a whistle stop tour of my three days, and may I emphasise they are just that, my take on the time I spent on General Synod. Some topics I understood more than others, some I was even having a well-earned tea break, but I’m assured both of the above are quite ‘normal’.

Monday started at 2.30pm with a few bits of official stuff and then moved onto the presidential address by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
He started of by giving his view of the Primates meeting, and what *actually* happened. He spoke of the meeting being spun more than Donald Trump. He went on to explain, again that the situation the TEC (The Episcopal Church in the US) found themselves in, was a consequence of their actions to perform same sex marriages, not a sanction. I’ll let you make your own mind up there.
He touched on the other subjects they discussed, on the environment, our interaction with Isalm, and of evangelism which we would go on to discuss also.

We also had a presentation on the Shared Conversations, how the regional conversations are in their final weeks, and how we in July will be delving into them.
For me, this will be the second time round, I took part in the Yorkshire regional shared conversations, which was pretty tough, so goodness knows what this is going to be like!
It’ll take place from the Sunday afternoon of Synod for the next two days, with all fringe meetings and stalls being cleared out for that time – a sensible move I think to make sure all members are fully focused on the task in hand.

We then moved onto question time, which I was told, and realised, is actually supplementary question time. Those wanting to pose questions have to write in, they then receive a written response which we are all privy too, and then on the floor you can ask a supplementary question if you feel necessary.6103

Tuesday we focused on the work the Evangelism task group have been doing, and this for me, was when I really started to enjoy it. We started off in small groups discussing how we became Christians, how old we were, whether there was any common factors in our stories. We also discussed how we evangelise to others, and also what hindrances we face, both as clergy and laity.
Aside from what we were discussing, it was a great way to get to know other synod members I’d never met before, on quite a deep level!

After a short tea break we were back in the assembly hall, and given a presentation from the task group. There were some staggering facts in their report, and quite a lot of it focused on young people – which was weird, considering I’m one of them! (In the Church anyone under the age of 40 is considered young!)

Canon Mark Russell who is part of the group stated that

“An 81 year old is 8 times more likely to be part of a church than an 18yr old.”
And
“84% of Christians come to faith before the age of 25.
But, only 1% of Christians, after the age of 45.”

That correlated very much which what we discussed in our smaller group, most of us came to faith in our late teens or twenties.
Archbishop Justin Welby reminded us that

“A commitment to Evangelism and witness must come out of love not fear, or in relation to decline in numbers…”

This was the first time that I felt I could have stood up and said something. There was huge talk of young people, and what we as Christians can do to show people God’s love. But as I sat their listening, I couldn’t help but feel like we’d missed something, something quite large.
If we want to show people outside the Church God’s love, then surely we need to meet them were they are at?
And, I may be making a sweeping statement, but from the people I know and speak to, the Church of England can be seen as a homophobic and sexist institution. So surely we need to combat that?

I’m not saying we need to rush through and allow same sex weddings, but surely we need to at least acknowledge that it is a problem? Neither am I just talking about the LGBT+ community, most people know someone, a family member or a friend that fits at least one of those letters?
It was also pointed out to me later, that there was no mention of the disabled, and how unwelcoming Church can be for them, on many different levels…It felt there were bits, important bits missed out.
Like I said, I could have stood up and spoken, but I didn’t quite have the balls, there were loads of people wanting to speak in a short debate, and I hadn’t even prepared to feel like this, never mind anything to say!

Tuesday afternoon we moved onto the Church of England & Church of Scotland joint study group report. I’ll be honest, I had to get this explained to me, and I did so from a few different people to make sure I had a rounded view. There are still some areas I’m slightly sketchy on, but it had a lot to do the Scottish Episcopal Church and their unhappiness. Well I say that, and I’m well informed by friends both within the SEC and outside that they are unhappy, but yet during the debate it was unclear whether they were or not.
The top and bottom of it (I think) is that the SEC were blindsided over the Columba Declaration and that in turn caused hurt and anger amongst the SEC. One of the amendments I supported was in favour to not pass this just yet, but to go back and see if we could do something about that hurt. This was by some seen to be an attempt to ‘kick it into the long grass’ and was lost.
The main motion ended up being passed, and I’m aware some SEC members are now even more hurt.

After quite an intense day so far, I must admit I was in need of a bit of a break and change of scenery, but I did make it back in for some contingency business (when we have a bit of time left at the end of the day) and watched from the public gallery the motion from Leeds diocese to encourage all Church members to consider blood & organ donations pass through with flying colours.

At breakfast, lunch & dinner we have the option to go to fringe meetings(optional meetings on various subjects run by members). Tuesday evening was the General Synod Human Sexuality group meeting where we discussed where we want to be in the next 5 years, how we are going to get there and what’s already in the playing field. It was good to be amongst friends and to meet new ones too.

Wednesday started with a service of communion led by the Synod chaplain and Archbishop Welby. After which we moved onto the motion again from Leeds diocese on the impact of benefit sanctions.
We heard story after story of people who had had their benefits cut, for what sounded like unreasonable reasons!
We heard of someone who was sanctioned for being late for a jobseekers appointment, because he was at a job interview, and another a lady who was in hospital relating to her pregnancy, missed an appointment and was sanctioned. These sanctions are for four weeks! That’s four weeks without money!
It’s the equivalent of being 30mins late to work and not getting paid that month!
I’m wary to call it a debate, because it wasn’t really, more amendments to try and 2016-02-18 14.38.59improve the motion, but it was a really great debate, one in which my new Synod
bestie (Fenella Cannings Jurd) made her maiden speech!
The motion flew through with no against votes and only two abstentions…I’m not sure why one would abstain, but there you go!

The afternoon continued onto the Renewal and reform programme covering both ministerial education, which although isn’t my forte, some parts were quite hard to listen too knowing full well we turn away some vocations because of their marital status!
We finished on a presentation by Canon John Spence on resourcing the future. Discussions about more budget for social media to engage younger people, and how we spend money to engage future generations – which I guess again, is yours truly!

Over all, I actually really enjoyed myself, more than I thought I would. I met so many new people, people I’ve ‘met’ on Twitter, people I ‘know the name’ of, and people that I usually would never cross paths with.
I’ve made some friends too, who I expect over the next 5 years together will support me, and I’ll support them.

Next up is July, and more dauntingly the Shared Conversations, that’s going to be knackering, but for now, I’ll concentrate on the synod just passed and connecting with my diocese and deaneries.

Once again, thank you. For electing me, for trusting me, and at risk of sounding like someone off the apprentice, for giving me this opportunity…