From the Worldwide Faith News archives

The Queen's Speech at Inauguration of General Synod

Date 28 May 1996 05:49:05

Canon James M. Rosenthal, Director of Communications
Anglican Communion News Service
157 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8UT, England
Tel. 44 0171 620-1110
Fax 44 0171 620-1071

769 ACC 

The Queen's Speech at the inauguration of the General Synod at
Church House on Tuesday, 28th November 1995

Your Graces, The Convocations of Canterbury and York, duly called
together in obedience to Our Royal Writs, are on this day joined in
accordance with the Synodical Government Measure 1969 and the House
of Laity is added to them in accordance with that measure, so as to
constitute the sixth General Synod of the Church of England.

Thank you for your welcome. Prince Philip And I are delighted to be
with you, and I am very pleased to inaugurate the sixth General
Synod and to mark at the same time the twenty-fifth anniversary of
Synodical Government in the Church of England.

It is fair to say that, during those twenty-five years, the Synod
has attracted both admirers and critics. But it has, throughout,
demonstrated an important and thoroughly Anglican principle - that
all parts of the Church - Bishops, clergy and lay people - have a
part to play in its life and governance.

The last Synod will, of course, be remembered, not simply for its
historic vote on the ordination of women, but also for the
painstaking care with which it strove to accommodate and hold
together people of all opinions in its aftermath. There has been, I
know, pain in this for some, but the efforts made to assuage it
surely exemplify the Christian faith. Strong differences of view
remain, but I am encouraged that the commitment of the Church to
overcome its difficulties together is as strong as ever.

You, the members of the Sixth General Synod, will have been
pondering what lies ahead. Among the many important matters for
consideration are the recommendations of the Archbishops' Commission
chaired by Bishop Michael Turnbull. This is a unique opportunity for
you to decide how the Church can manage and organise itself, and
thus face the future with confidence. You will also continue the
process of reforming the liturgy, leading to the planned revision of
the alternative service book in the year 2000. And there will be
many other matters no less controversial and demanding than those
faced by your predecessors.

Since its earliest days, the Christian Church has wrestled with
issues where opinions are as deeply held as they are divided. Your
faith, friendship and common purpose will, I pray, be strong and
durable as you show what St. Paul meant when he urged Christians to
speak the truth to one another in love.

I know that you will also remember that the Church of England does
not exist only for itself, but for others. As our national Church,
it has always served all people in any place, not only those who
attend its services. That is the heart of the duty of an established

But that duty has increasingly been shared ecumenically, with
partners in Churches Together in England, in the Council of Churches
for Britain and Ireland and in the World Council of Churches. The
Christian tradition, which we must preserve, is also one of respect
and courtesy towards those of other faiths.

The Church of England's ecumenism grows in parallel with its deep
and continuing relationship with the other member Churches of the
Anglican Communion. That Communion is increasing rapidly, and now
numbers over seventy million people. In 1998 the Lambeth Conference
will provide an opportunity for leaders of the Communion to express
together a renewed vision to take its members into the next

Archbishop, in all this, you will carry a heavy burden of
leadership. I know that you will have the support of this Synod and
that you will be greatly assisted by the Archbishop of York, shortly
to be enthroned.

Members of Synod, the next five years will be ones of great
challenge for you and the whole Church. As you face that challenge,
be undaunted as you trust in the love of God; and may God's blessing
be with you as you work to strengthen the Church in its service to
all people.   

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