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Diocesan Synod Report, 16th March 2024

Synod met at Manor Church of England Academy, York, on a bright and breezy Saturday morning in an otherwise wet spring.


Archbishop Stephen reflected on how we live together in times of uncertainty—both the uncertainties that unbalance our life together in Christ and the uncertainties and divisions that we experience in the world.

“We need time and spaciousness to discern the mind of Christ, and we must avoid being too quick to exclude or condemn, and always pay attention to what unites us rather than what could divide.

“This is hard, but if we pray for the grace to see Christ in each other, and if we resist the temptation to count each other out, and if we are able to see and seek to learn from the different insights of different people and groups then I trust and believe that God the Holy Spirit will lead us to a place where we can inhabit the church with our differences (and find ways of continuing to lead a common life. And even show the world a better story of peace.”

He spoke briefly about the recent media mis-reporting of the Church Commissioners’ fund for Healing, Repair and Justice in the wake of revelations that between 500 million and one billion pounds of its historic endowment comes directly from transatlantic chattel slavery.

“The sum set aside for this is £100 million – still a lot of money – but not the billion that has been inaccurately reported in bits of the media and social media. Yes, it is hoped that other institutions will examine their own accounts and join this fund. But even if this doesn’t happen, we are making a significant contribution towards healing and repair.

“We are creating a space where we can be honest about our mistakes, particularly the way we failed to see that a false and damaging theology was allowing us to consider some human beings as less than human.”

“I believe that when the world sees the Church living out its story of peace and reconciliation, people will be much more likely to ask, and hear eagerly and thirstily, where this message comes from: which is not our own wisdom; but what God gives us in Jesus, for we are all sinners in need of his grace, beggars crying out for bread, and therefore, with all our differences, sisters and brothers in Christ.

“He is our Father. Not mine.”