C of E General Synod Presidential Address by the Archbishop of York

In the public square our words will often be misunderstood, misinterpreted and misquoted. People will think we’re woke, naïve, misguided, too left wing, too right wing, too liberal or too conservative. We will be applauded for taking a moral stand, and pilloried for getting involved in politics. At the same time. On the same issue. But, knowing very well that we will sometimes get it wrong, what we are trying to be, is faithful to Jesus.

In personal witness we will sometimes meet scorn, apathy, even hostility. That which means most to us, will be considered trivial, laughable and neanderthal by some. But when we do share the gospel, we will find ourselves standing on the holy ground of other people’s stories – and their pain – and often we won’t have the words to say, such as when we’re ministering to those whose lives are cut short, or taking the funeral of a child. Our hearts will be pierced, and like Mary standing at the foot of the cross, our witness will be a silent vigil and a determination to abide.

We will carry a towel, not a flag.

We will issue an invitation, not a summons.

We will, wherever possible, roll away stones.

In overseeing and resourcing the church for ministry, a responsibility that we all share, we will have to make painful and difficult decisions. In facing up to mistakes, we will be humbled, especially by our failings to safeguard the Church or to root out racism or even just to communicate well, and show kindness to each other, in these things, we will be pierced and broken.

Read it all.


Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE)