Synod calls for values-based politics upholding the common good


07 July 2017

Synod calls for values-based politics based on the
common good

 
The Church of England offers a still, small voice of calm in
uncertain times following the General Election and tragedies such
as the Grenfell Tower fire, the Archbishop of York said
today.

 
Speaking on the first day of General Synod in York, Dr John
Sentamu said: “As we now seek to reassess our
relationships, in our local communities, in
Europe, and internationally, our goal must always be
the common good of all.”

 
His comments came as he moved a special motion on the state
of the nation.

 
Asking what might enable community to
flourish, Archbishop Sentamu said: “We must learn from
our present political and economic
challenges to think less about the price of things and
more about the value of things.

“There will be many lessons to learn from the
fire in Grenfell Tower – but we are already
aware that false economies can lead to human
tragedy.

“Social care, specifically the so called ‘dementia tax’,
should be an area where we are better off working together,
and taking the risk jointly.

“This issue of public sector pay has demonstrated that
there is little sign of a coherent plan about how to fund the
health service, education, social care, defence, housing, or
transport infrastructure.

“Proposed solutions pit one section of society against
another to provide the funds – either by cutting public spending
for some, or increasing taxes for others. Surely the nature of
communal action is that it is precisely action taken
together.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “In the
last year one of the things that has become more apparent is that
our sense of identity, has become more blurred and reached some
kind of crisis and culmination.

“We are a society where there are rival attempts to seize
and proclaim mutually exclusive identities.”

 
Caroline Spelman MP, the Second Church Estates Commissioner,
called on the Church to be brave, look outside itself and take a
lead issues such as intergenerational division and contribute with
compassion on issues such as social housing and
education.

 
The Bishop of Southwark, Christopher Chessun spoke of the
response of churches in his diocese to recent attacks. He said: “The church has shown the ability to respond rapidly and hold
the trust of the whole community.” 

 
The motion, entitled  After the
General Election, a still small voice of calm,
 was
carried overwhelmingly on a show of hands.

 
Notes to Editors:
 
The full text of the motion was: 

AFTER THE GENERAL ELECTION, A STILL SMALL VOICE OF
CALM

That this Synod, mindful that the recent General Election
has left many questions unanswered about the shape and priorities
of our government at a critical time in the nation’s
history:

(a)  give thanks, nonetheless, for the increased
turnout and call upon all parties to build on this by addressing
the causes of voter apathy and non-participation;

(b)  pray for all those elected to Parliament that they
will prioritise the common good of all people in everything they
do, especially in negotiations between parties to secure support
for a legislative programme;

(c)  pray for courage, for our political leaders as
they face the constraints and opportunities of uncertainty and
weakness, and for the people of the nation as they too face
unprecedented questions about the future;

(d)  call upon Christians everywhere to maintain
pressure on politicians of all parties to put the cohesion of the
nation and its communities at the heart of their
programmes;

(e)  commend the continuing work of the churches
serving the poor and vulnerable, at home and worldwide, as an
example of the priorities which we hope to see in the programmes of
government; and

(f)  commit the Church of England to maintaining strong
and generous international relations, through our dioceses, the
Anglican Communion and ecumenical links, as relationships within
the United Kingdom, across Europe and worldwide face new tensions
and challenges.