Monday, 14 September 2015

Election Address for General Synod

General Synod: House of Bishops Southern Suffragan Election

(Upper House of the Convocation of Canterbury)
Election Address from Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden

It might be thought that I’ve had too much of General Synod (and vice-versa!). I was first elected in 1985 and served as a Proctor in Convocation for London from then till 2001, when debarred by episcopacy. You were kind enough to elect me to the House of Bishops in 2004. I would love to continue to serve the Church in this way. Previously I served on the GS Standing Committee and the Archbishops’ Council. I now represent you on the House of Bishops Standing Committee. The fuller details of my Synodical involvement are listed overleaf.

In Synod
The crucial issue for the Church is how we re-engage with a society where the tide of Christendom has gone out – and what we can do, by the grace of God, to re-evangelise England. Planting new churches and missional communities and resourcing existing ones better is fundamental to making this happen. In this regard, the Reform and Renewal Programme has a significant part to play. The five strands are:

·         Resourcing the Future – a proper distribution of Church Commissioners’ resources
·         Resourcing Ministerial Education – giving us a new and flexible approach to the training of clergy and laity, cutting away bureaucracy and enabling diocesan choices about training pathways
·         Leadership Development – providing a new framework for the identification and training of senior leaders (which many of us will know has been sorely needed!)
·         Developing Discipleship – as a motif of our understanding of the Church we are called to be in the Church and in the world
·         Simplification – cutting away rules and regulations in Measures, Canons and Instruments that hinder the mission of the Church

These are not in themselves going to make mission happen, but they are the engine under the bonnet that will enable the institutional and cultural change we need. I have been chairing the Simplification Group – and would hope to continue to do so if re-elected.

This will also be the Synod of the Shared Conversations. It’s not easy to be optimistic about outcomes, but we will need to invest energy in trying to make them work. I’m not convinced that “good disagreement” is a place to end up in – though it’s certainly a means of travel!

Within the House of Bishops
§  I have been a strong advocate for suffragan bishops and their role within the College – and have sought to represent you in the House. We still have work to do in moving away from two-tier episcopacy to a proper collegiality and mutual trust. The welcome situation where we no longer have to speak of “women bishops”, but just bishops, means that we have a real opportunity to forge a new culture within the House and the College – and prayerfully to seek better ways of working.
§  I’m a strong advocate for the Transformations and Turning up the Volume agendas, both at Diocesan level and nationally. Our Church must with real resolution address how we ensure that women and BAME leaders are properly represented at Senior Leadership levels, as well as within incumbencies and lay leadership.

In the public realm
§  The need for the Bishops to engage with the major political issues never diminishes. We can expect hostility and misrepresentation, but the pre-election Pastoral Letter was asking the right questions of government. Speaking truth to power (as for example on the “right to die” legislation or the plight of the poor) must continue to be on our agenda.

§  We need to help each other in articulating the faith in a society that is both paradoxically full of faith and increasingly secular. The context of London (Willesden is one of the most multi-cultural and multi-religious patches in the country) forces those issues upon us. My hope is that part of our training and mutual support will include encouraging each other in how we proclaim Jesus Christ and his Kingdom in this exciting and challenging context.

Previous Form (which can be held against me!)

General Synod (Proctor in Convocation, London)                                        1985 – 2001
Dioceses Commission                                                                                    1989 – 92
Diocesan Representative on Crown Appointments Commission                  1990, 1995.
Panel of Chairs, General Synod                                                                     1990 – 92, 2009 – 14
Central Board of Finance                                                                               1991 – 95, 1996 – 98
CBF Executive Committee                                                                             1991 – 95            
Standing Orders Committee of General Synod                                              1991 – 95
Chair, Vacancy in See Committees Regulation Working Party                     1991 – 93
General Synod Standing Committee                                                               1992 – 98
General Synod Appointments Sub Committee                                               1992 – 95
Member of Archbishops' Advisory Group                                                      1993 – 98
Chair, General Synod Business Sub Committee                                             1996 – 98
Chair, General Synod Elections Review Group                                              1996 – 2000
Steering Committee for National Institutions Measure                                   1997
Member of Archbishops' Council                                                                    1999 – 2000
Chair, Business Committee                                                                              1999 – 2000
Chair, Simplification Task Group                                                                    2014 –
Standing Committee of the House of Bishops                                                 2014 –

I hope that you’ll consider giving me your first preference vote, please. Do be in contact if you have any questions about anything I’ve written here.
Telephone: 020 8451 0189 or 07950 299 685

Thank you for reading all this!