I had a great time at General Synod on Wednesday. Apart from meeting various people it was absolutely fascinating just to watch the general goings-on. I was there as a guest of a future client, and whilst I wasn’t directly doing any drawing I did make plenty of notes. The diagram above is a raw sketch (unlike my normal highly-polished diagrams).
One of the excitements of this particular Synod was the introduction of new electronic voting devices which I imagine are a bit like the ones they use on ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ and other such shows. On Monday the Synod was given training and some practice votes were held. Alastair Cutting, whose Synod blog has lots of synodical happenings, has blogged about it:
A practise vote was set up on Monday – a ‘vote of the whole house’ that ‘This synod ask the Business Committee to acknowledge Valentine’s Day’ was passed by a significant majority of the whole Synod.
However a following motion, a ‘vote by houses’, that ‘Valentine’s Day be celebrated by each bishop buying chocolates for their diocesan representatives at Synod’, was passed by both of the lower houses, but the House of Bishops voted it down. Because ‘votes by houses’ require a majority in each house to be passed, it meant that bishops were let off the hook from buying their diocesan representatives chocolate for Valentine’s Day. But, woe betide any bishops who do not…!
Meanwhile, whilst I was observing I wa also being observed. Peter Ould, who was watching my every involuntary movement:
Finally, a big thank you to Dave Walker, who (even if you didn’t realise it) entertained me by being sat across the gallery from me and moving his head in slight motions every so often. I know you’re concentrating hard on cartoons and the like Dave, but you ain’t half amusing when you get a good idea!!!
Thanks Peter. I had no idea I did that, but now when I need an idea I will move my head in slight motions and see what happens.
These are just things I’ve been thinking. Other people have said them, and other people have said them better. They don’t form a coherent argument.
I find it quite amazing when doing a Google search for sharia inevitable to see how many news websites report Rowan Williams as saying this, with quote marks around ‘inevitable’, when he didn’t even use the word ‘inevitable’ in the famous interview at all.
Rowan did use the word ‘unavoidable’ in the interview, but:
It was the interviewer who introduced the word, a point which the BBC transcript of the interview omitted to mention. Context is everything. Well, it isn’t everything, but in this case I think you need the context to understand the answer.
The question itself is a misquotation. “you’re words are that the application of Sharia in certain circumstances if we want to achieve this cohesion and take seriously peoples’ religion seems unavoidable?” This isn’t what the text of the lecture says at all. The word ‘unavoidable’ in the lecture is talking about something else altogether.
Matt Wardman has gone into some depth about the BBC and their role in the whole affair.
As I mentioned yesterday I spent the day at General Synod. I did get an overwhelming sense that everyone there (bar the two members the papers managed to drag up at the weekend) was entirely supportive of the Archbishop. Here’s posts by two synod members which sum up pretty well what other people were saying:
Valentine sweethearts can tie the knot for free at a Chelmsford church. Romantic Rev Tim Ball, vicar of Holy Trinity Springfield, believes that marriage is best. So he’s waiving the cost of the service, the choir, the organist, the verger and the heating.
And the good news is that the offer will be available throughout the year.
“My church believes that marriage is best for couples, for children and for the community,” says big-hearted Tim.
“So we have put our money where our mouth is. We will pay all the costs of the service in the church. We are offering a free marriage service to parishioners because Holy Trinity is a good place to celebrate love and commitment.”
Presumably the organist, choir, verger and the man who turns the handle on the boiler have been consulted.
Before you all rush off to get married there I should make you aware of the small print. One of you has to live in the parish or you have to be ‘full and regular members’. Not full or regular, full and regular. It’s both/and, not either/or. There is also a marriage preparation evening which must be attended and an optional 8 week ‘bolt-on’ course all about ‘the basics of the Christian faith and what it means for today’.
In the unlikely event that you meet these criteria and happen to want to get married this year and happen to be a reader of this blog – what are you waiting for? Give the ‘Romantic Rev’ a call.
Update: I asked Rev Tim how they could afford to do it and he has kindly got back to me. Everyone is being paid as per usual. The church has made a decision to foot the bill. Here’s a section of his response:
These are our points for doing it. (I would say that we are doing it for people who live in our parish – it is not for the whole world.)
We want to say how important we think marriage is, best for couples, best for children, best for society.
We want to express our faith in generous giving – we don’t want to say we will ‘do it for Free’ – but that we will ‘pay for it’ because we have to pay the fees to the diocese, to the organist and for the verger etc, – so it is not just a case of not collecting the fee payable to the PCC.
We would like to highlight the fact that the Christian marriage service expresses a higher ideal of committed love than any other wedding service.
We hope we might encourage couples who aren’t married to consider it, or even to do it.
We want to put our money where our mouth is – in that sense it is sacrificial, we see it as an investment in the kind of society we would like to see as bearing the marks of the kingdom of God.
If like me you believe that the Archbishop of Canterbury has been treated remarkably unfairly by certain sections of the media in the last few days then why not, if you are on Facebook, join this group, entitled ‘The Archbishop of Canterbury is a good man’. Let’s see whether we can get it to really take off and send a message to the wider world.
The group was set up today and includes a number of General Synod members who would like to counteract the unkind sentiments expressed by a few of their number in the press. The aims are as follows:
Joining the group affirms that you believe:
1) The media has misinterpreted the spirit of what Dr Williams was talking about in his lecture
2) As an intellectual, and a spiritual leader, Dr Williams should feel free to express a carefully considered opinion.
3) That Dr Williams is one of the most gifted minds in Britain, and his views should be given careful consideration.
As it happens General Synod starts tomorrow in London. All being well I shall be going along on Wednesday for the afternoon session. I will be making observations.
See this post by ‘Cranmer’ in which he links to some examples of the sort of nastiness that needs to be counteracted by good people everywhere.
Today’s subject: What should you take to church? Are there different things you should take at different times of year and in the different liturgical seasons? All comments will be appreciated: sensible or absurd, mundane or creative.
As you will have read in the Times newspaper I am partaking in the Church of England Love Life Live Lent campaign which involves being a better person on a daily basis. As I was happy to accept the glory of the public announcement of my joining-in I should be willing to be publicly scrutinised as to my success or lack of. So, here goes:
Day 1: Read the story of the good Samaritan Completed. Well done Dave.
Day 2: Poke a Facebook friend you haven’t seen in a while Failed. Never got around to it. I’m not a great one for poking as I don’t really know what it means, but my friends remained unpoked. What a fool. This would have been an easy one.
Day 3: Invite your neighbours and friends to a pancake party Failed. We had a pancake party, but it was mainly my wife and I (along with one of our two cats who was treated to an impressive display of pancake tossing). We don’t have a lot of contact with the neighbours if I’m to be honest and we didn’t get around to inviting friends as the pancake party was an impromptu one.
Day 4: Say sorry to someone Failed. I didn’t really think about LLLL on Wedensday I’m afraid, so my sins went unconfessed and unforgiven. Sorry.
Day 5: Ask someone in your house about their day Partial success. I might have completed this one, but only accidentally. I do usually ask my wife about her day and she asks the three of us about our days.
Day 6: Have a TV-free evening and play games instead Failed. We did watch some TV. Generally quite a lot of games do get played in this household. The cats enjoy games that involve ribbons and small things that move along the ground. Mrs W and I enjoy scrabble.
Day 7: Do a chore for someone Failed (probably): We are about to go out and I have not done any chores for anyone thus far. You can’t count things you do anyway, like washing up and shopping surely. It could be that an opportunity to undertake a chore will present itself during the evening. We shall see.
Meanwhile, The Times has an Exclusive (in bold letters). The story is that someone, somewhere is calling for the Archbishop to resign but wishes to remain anonymous. It is apparently a senior Church of England clergyman, presumably one who does not have the courage of his convictions.
If you would like this unnamed senior Church of England clergyman to resign please write in anonymously , or get someone else to do it for you.
This is my ‘Good Samaritan’ diagram from day one of the ‘Love Life Live Lent‘ campaign. Sorry to only upload it today – I was up late meeting a deadline.
We have no idea whether the priest and the Levite went to the inn, but I have drawn them not doing so. I imagine the inn was the ‘motorway services’ of its day, but one doesn’t stop at every motorway services unless one needs to use the conveniences.
If anyone would like me to provide a high resolution version of this then please say so in the comments.
Update: The high resolution version of this cartoon is available to download. The page has my normal blurb about buying a licence, but in the spirit of ‘Love Life Live Lent’ you are welcome to use it for free if you are using it in connection with this campaign or for some other Lent-related purpose this year. Hopefully that’s fair.
Today sees the launch of the official Church of England Lent campaign ‘Love Life Live Lent‘. You might remember that last year the campaign was based around text messaging, which worked well once some initial technical problems had been ironed out. This year it centres around 50 daily ‘actions’, supported by a special booklet, the LiveLent website, a Facebook group, a Myspace page (anyone still use Myspace?) a Flickr group and various blogs, of which this is one.
The Times has a report today, and I’m pleased to say that this site gets a mention along with Bishop Alan. I’ll be blatantly honest with you – I haven’t worked out exactly how I’m going to be ‘spreading the word’, but I will endeavour to do so. There will be some cartoons, but the timing means I can’t promise one a day I’m afraid.
If you run a blog please do join in – the 50 daily actions are all about ‘loving our neighbours’ – locally, nationally and globally and they do seem to be well thought out and a good thing to do. The actions start tomorrow the 3rd of February which I know (preemptive strike) isn’t the start of Lent, but we need a few days to get warmed up. If you run a church or a school there are some resources for you on the website too.
Here is the official press release with all of the information:
This Lent, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu, are calling for ‘good neighbours’ – online and offline – to try out daily suggestions to help create a safer and more pleasant environment in the real world.
The innovative campaign will use popular social networking websites and blogs to share actions to make the world a better place in small and simple ways. These range from leaving a thank-you note for your postie to going a whole day without gossiping.
Last year, more than 130,000 people joined in with Love Life Live Lent, launched by the Church of England to inspire, by text message, simple acts of service that spread happiness in our communities.
This year, daily suggestions are available not only through two colourful booklets produced by Church House Publishing, but also through social networking sites including Facebook, MySpace and photo-sharing website Flickr. A group of prominent bloggers has also been enlisted to help spread the word through cyberspace. They include ‘blogging bishop’, the Rt Revd Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, and Dave Walker, creator of the popular ‘CartoonChurch’ website and blog.
Church leaders hope that the online social network group will help develop a community of ‘Love Life Live Lenters’ sharing their experience of following the daily suggestions. In return, Facebook will reward those completing three or more actions a week with the elements to ‘build a neighbourhood’ or ‘grow a garden’ on their profile.
The latest project is the Church of England’s second initiative involving Facebook. Last Christmas, more than 2,500 users of the social networking site downloaded a special ‘application’ – sponsored by the Church of England – to send virtual Christmas cards to their friends.
There is also a Love Life Live Lent dedicated resource website, www.livelent.net, that features Bible study notes for adults, children’s activities, and material for use in collective worship in schools, and a podcast available at www.chpublishing.co.uk featuring an interview with one of the original team behind the project, Canon Peter Howell-Jones, the Diocese of Birmingham’s Director for Mission.
Most of the actions Love Life Live Lent can be performed individually, while others require a group working together. They include:
Spending a day trying to exist on just £1.40 – more than half the world’s population have only that amount to spend each day
Cooking or eating cuisine you haven’t tried before
Finding out about volunteering in a prison or supporting prisoners’ families
Discovering the names of your closest neighbours.
The Archbishops are commending the campaign, acknowledging in their joint foreword to the booklets: “For most of us, life is busy and pressured. It can be difficult to take time out to be with family and friends or to help to make our communities, local or global, clean and secure places of generosity. But Jesus calls us to love our neighbour as ourselves.”
The full colour pocket-sized booklet comes in two versions – one for adults and ‘youth’, and one for children – each packed with 50 suggested actions to encourage people to be good neighbours. The actions start next Sunday, 3rd February, and finish on Easter Sunday, 23rd March.
Love Life Live Lent started life in the Diocese of Birmingham in 2006, inspired by a local pilgrimage. The booklet was such a hit that the original print run had to be increased repeatedly, and 70,000 copies were distributed through churches, schools and community centres.
Other bloggers who plan to blog the 50 actions (let me know if you’d like to be added to this list):
Today I paid my tax. This is not, to most people, something that needs to be remarked upon, but it is a week’s work for me owing largely to incompetence, so I allow myself a short period of joy.
Unfortunately in my post-tax-payment euphoria I sustained a small cut on my finger by removing a carrot from the vegetable rack with excessive enthusiasm. It is a very minor injury, so you do not really need to send sympathy via the comments. Just be warned though, readers at home – watch out for sharp corners on your vegetable rack, particularly when removing carrots.
As a result of my very minor injury and the oversized plaster that was applied to the length of my finger I have been in a state of constant pointing throughout the evening. Fortunately pointing around the home is harmless enough, and is even quite fun for the first ten or fifteen minutes. There’s no harm in being a domestic pointer. I can only assume that people at my church home group have come to expect me to be pointing continually at the Bible throughout the in-depth study as no-one remarked upon it. (Did I tell you I go to a church home group by the way? Yes indeed. Thursday nights. I enjoy it.)
If I am still in a state of continual pointing tomorrow I may have to avoid social situations where pointing would be inadvisable. I’m sure there must be some. In the bank perhaps. People don’t like you to do a lot of pointing in a bank. It is just something that goes without saying in the same way that you don’t wear a balaclava into a bank or give people funny looks.
I’m rambling – good night.
Posted by Dave at 1:19 am on February 1, 2008 and filed under Mundane.