This year, Changing Attitude has not been allocated display space at the General Synod meeting in York. We have displayed at every Synod in London and York for about ten years. One benefit of having a display is the pass giving access to the Synod members’ area. This is where some of our most valuable encounters and conversations take place.
We appreciate the opportunity to be present and display the work of Changing Attitude. For the last two years, the display has become inclusive – effectively an LGB&T Anglican Coalition display.
Recently, requests to display have exceeded the space in the exhibition area. Exhibitors are now rotated to ensure that all have the opportunity to be present.
The General Synod Business Committee decides who is given space according to set criteria. They are in the public domain (I stand corrected) and I will add them at the end of this blog.
Organisations directly connected with the Church of England are given priority. Priority is also given to organisations that have ‘displays relevant to items on the Synod’s agenda’.
There is no debate on the agenda for this meeting of General Synod that relates to LGB&T issues. Synod rarely debates LGB&T issues. We asked whether the item GS Misc 992 entitled Choosing Bishops – The Equality Act 2010 isn’t directly relevant to LGB&T issues and were told a GS Misc document does not qualify as a Synod agenda item for debate.
This Synod is meeting at a time when the House of Bishops is directly involved in the Lords debate on the Equal Marriage Bill and in the context of the meetings between over nineteen members of the House of Bishops and Changing Attitude. It is also a critical period of time as the House prepares to receive the Pilling Report at the December HoB meeting.
I was anticipating the opportunity to meet and talk with members of General Synod at York a time when discussions about the place of LGB&T people in the Church of England are at such a critical juncture.
At each group of sessions there are a number of spaces available for organisations both within and outside the Church of England to display material they feel may be of interest to General Synod members.
There are often an overwheming number of organisations wishing to display at each Synod and in order to assist with prioritising who can display, the Business Committee of the General Synod have outlined the following catergories:
(a) General Synod and other National Church Institutions or their subsidiary bodies;
(b) Recognised home or overseas mission agencies;
(c) Other bodies on which the Synod or the Church of England was officially represented;
(d) Other bodies
The Committee decided that within category (d) preference should in future be given to
1. displays relevant to items on the Synod’s Agenda;
2. displays that could not be accommodated at the previous group of sessions;
3. bodies that have not exhibited before;
4. bodies that have not exhibited during the three previous groups of sessions;
in that order.’