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Bishop Stephen contributes to General Synod homelessness debate

Posted on Sunday 24 February 2019
The General Synod of the Church of England has been meeting in London this week, and has debated an agenda widely noted to be one of the most outward-looking for some time. In a debate on homelessness on Thursday afternoon, Bishop Stephen drew attention to work with and among homeless people in Cambridge.

The debate was a private member's motion brought by Andrew Grey from the Diocese of Norwich, and called upon the Archbishops' Council to form a national task force, together with local churches and other agencies, to address the rising problem of homelessness in this nation.  Because of the agenda, the debate was very nearly postponed until Synod meets again in July, but Bishop Stephen raised a point of order, which encouraged Synod to take the item.  What followed was a moving, focussed and very hopeful debate on one of the biggest issues facing society.  You can watch the whole debate on the Synod livestream, which begins from the discussion about the order of the agenda, with the Chair of the Business Committee addressing Synod. 

 

The whole motion as debated was:

 

That this Synod, noting:

(a) the substantial levels of homelessness in the United Kingdom;

and (b) initiatives to address this problem by Her Majesty’s Government, such as the Homelessness Reduction Taskforce announced in the 2017 Autumn Budget and celebrating the good works already being undertaken by the Church of England, other Christian denominations, faith groups, charities and social enterprises,

call upon the Archbishops’ Council to enable the formation of a Church of England led Homelessness Taskforce including representatives from the Houses of Bishops, Clergy and Laity to undertake:

(i) the formation of plans at national, diocesan and parish levels to utilise Church resources (whether financial, volunteers or buildings) to provide shelter and support services for the vulnerable on a nationwide basis, building upon the wide experience of government and Third Sector initiatives in this field; and (ii) the implementation of those plans in partnership (where appropriate) with local authorities, homeless charities, voluntary organisations, faith groups and social enterprises.