The “head” of the Church of England gives the “body” of the Church of England a warning.
Queen gives warning to Church of England synod
The Queen has spoken of the “difficult” and “painful” choices facing the Church of England as she formally opened the Church’s general synod.
She also spoke of the “need to communicate the gospel with joy and conviction in our society”.
The Queen addressed the 476 members of the Church’s governing body as they marked the start of a five-year term.
The synod will also debate measures to keep the Church together over issues such as same-sex blessings.
And its members are preparing to discuss Prime Minister David Cameron’s “big society” idea.
Before her address, the Queen, who is supreme governor of the Church of England, attended a service of Holy Communion at Westminster Abbey, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh.
Speaking at the synod meeting, she said: “The new synod will have many issues to resolve to ensure that the Church of England remains equipped for the effective pursuit of its mission and ministry.
“Some will, no doubt, involve difficult, even painful, choices.
“But Christian history suggests that times of growth and spiritual vigour have often coincided with periods of challenge and testing.
“What matters is holding firmly to the need to communicate the gospel with joy and conviction in our society.”
The Queen also said a “preoccupation with our welfare and comfort” were not “at the heart of our faith” but rather “the concepts of service and of sacrifice as shown in the life and teachings of the one who made himself nothing, taking the very form of a servant”.
During her address, the Queen said the place of religion had come to be a matter of “lively discussion” in a more “diverse and secular” society.
“It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue and that the well-being and prosperity of the nation depend on the contribution of individuals and groups of all faiths and none,” she said.
“Yet, as the recent visit of His Holiness the Pope reminded us, churches and the other great faith traditions retain the potential to inspire great enthusiasm, loyalty and a concern for the common good.”
There was applause at the synod meeting when the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, expressed “delight” at the forthcoming marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Addressing the Queen, he said: “I am sure I speak for everyone here in expressing our delight at the family news announced last week.”
Also speaking at the synod meeting, Dr Williams said he wanted to avoid the worst aspects of “secular partisanship” by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
He urged members not to reject the Anglican Covenant, a proposed agreement aimed at resolving disputes within the worldwide Anglican Communion.
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