As one of the first items of substantive business, a series of proposed amendments to the Standing Orders of the House were approved. As a result of recent demands brought on by the pandemic, the House endorsed the proposal for the Secretary of the House to be to be able to call a meeting of the House of Bishops with just 24 hours’ notice in circumstances of special urgency, rather than the current 7 days. The House agreed to two other procedurally related proposals.
The House then discussed the imminent publication and communication around the publication of the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) resources planned for later that day. The House was addressed by Bishop Christopher Cocksworth, Chair of the Living in Love and Faith Co ordinating Group and parties working collaboratively on the launch, including the enabling officer of LLF and the Director of Communications.
The House then received an update on the work of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Housing, Church and Community Commission (HC&C). The update was given by the Bishop of Kensington and Charlie Arbuthnot, the co-authors of an interim report that was shared with the House. The interim report was discussed and the House approved the general direction of travel of the report and agreed to receive the final report in February 2021.
The House then heard from the Bishop of London in her capacity as the Chair of the Recovery Group charged with the Church’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. An overview of the current situation was given with an update on discussions on the Places of Worship Task Group and ongoing negotiations with the Government regarding the opening of churches for public worship. The House agreed that its December meeting will include a more detailed discussion on the regional impact throughout England of the pandemic.
The House was then updated by the Bishop of Huddersfield, (Bishop for Safeguarding) and the Director of Safeguarding on a range of safeguarding matters. The House noted and agreed that progress on the Interim Support Scheme must be made by the end of the year.
The House also received updates from the various works streams operating under the auspices of the Emerging Church Groups.
An overview by the Chair of the Co-ordinating Group, the Bishop of Manchester was followed by reports from the Chair of the Vision and Strategy Group, the Governance Group and the Transforming Effectiveness Group.
The House agreed, as part of the Vision and Strategy Group, to note and prepare for further discussion at the December meeting of the House on a series of proposals replacing the three Quinquennium Goals dating from 2010.
The House also agreed to offer comments and advice on the workplan of the Transforming Effectiveness group with further suggestions and proposals to be tabled at the December meeting. The House agreed to the same for the Governance group.
The Bishop at Lambeth informed the House that there will be a longer detailed decision on Emerging Church at the scheduled two day December meeting of the House.