From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Archbishop of York's Reply to the Queen at General Synod
28 May 1996 05:47:06
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Reply to Her Majesty the Queen at the General Synod by the
Archbishop of York, Dr David Hope
Your Majesty, may I say how honoured and delighted we are that in
the midst of your multifarious duties and responsibilities you have
made the time to be with us for the inauguration of this sixth
General Synod of the Church of England. Your presence with us on
this occasion, as well as what you have set before us, is both an
immense encouragement and also a considerable challenge. Let me add
how much pleasure it gives us to welcome also on this occasion His
Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh.
Your Majesty has drawn our attention both to the past and to the
future, and the fact that the Church in this as in every generation
is called to face large, complex and important questions, where
divergent views are strongly and passionately held; this is
sometimes interpreted as weakness, and a threat to the life and well
being of the Church as a whole. Such a reaction is surely
unrealistic. Life is not like that; nor is the life of the Church;
nor has it ever been, from earliest times. Yet the fact that views
are held with such fervour and debated with such passion, must
surely be a sign of the real commitment and priority which Christian
people, whatever their views, attach to their faith and the search
for truth and right belief and behaviour.
It is further this very tenacity of commitment to our being and
remaining one in Christ and with each other, which enables us to
live with difference, uneasy and painful though this is for us all.
The fact that we can and do so remain together, must surely be a
significant and hopeful sign in a world where differences of view
are all too often allowed to descend into mistrust and hostility.
For how can we with integrity set before the world the Gospel of
Reconciliation if we are not ourselves constantly striving to
exemplify what Your Majesty has reminded us are the very truths
which lie at the heart of the Christian faith.
At a time when we can so easily become preoccupied with our own
domestic concerns as a Church both Your Majesty's presence and words
direct us out and beyond ourselves. Your Majesty has already echoed
some words attributed to one of my distinguished predecessors in the
See of York, Archbishop William Temple, to the effect that the
Church is the only society which exists not for itself but for the
sake of those outside it. It is vital that the church of England
retains not only this vision but also the actuality of service and
availability to all and for all; this also surely in the context of
our ecumenical endeavours and our relationships with those of other
faiths and none - the fulfilment of the command that just as we are
to love the Lord our God so we are charged with love of one another
and of our neighbour.
There are too the wider issues and concerns of the world in which we
live and where Your Majesty's distinctive and particular role in the
Nation and Commonwealth alerts us to the Church's continuing
responsibility towards God's world; for many of our problems and
perplexities as well as opportunities and possibilities we have in
common with the whole human family.
We rejoice in your presence and take fresh courage for the future
from what you have set before us, and in this so many of us draw
inspiration from Your Majesty's personal example of dedication to
duty and service, and from your own witness to Christian values and
standards. Your unique position in the Church reminds us of our
responsibility to work together for the glory of God and the good of
all his people.
As Your Majesty has invoked God's blessing upon this Synod and its
work, so we pray his richest and abundant blessings upon yourself
and your family as again we express our gratitude and our thanks for
your gracious presence with us and among us this day.
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