The Queen's message to the Opening Session of the 11th General Synod

Published

The following message was delivered by His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex

The Gospel has brought hope, as it has done throughout the ages; and the Church has adapted and continued its ministry, often in new ways - such as digital forms of worship.

Your Graces, the Convocations of Canterbury and York, duly called together in obedience to Our Royal Writs, are on this day joined together in accordance with the Synodical Government Measure 1969 and the House of Laity is added to them in accordance with the Measure, so as to constitute the Eleventh General Synod of the Church of England.

Archbishops and members, the opening of a new Synod provides an opportunity for us all to give thanks for the witness of those who have gone before, and pray for wisdom as you seek to balance change and continuity in the decisions that lie ahead.

It is hard to believe that it is over 50 years since Prince Philip and I attended the very first meeting of the General Synod. None of us can slow the passage of time; and while we often focus on all that has changed in the intervening years, much remains unchanged, including the Gospel of Christ and his teachings.

The list of tasks facing that first General Synod may sound familiar to many of you: Christian education; Christian unity; the better distribution of the ordained ministry to the needs of the population. But one stands out supreme: “to bring the people of this country to the knowledge and the love of God”.

Of course, in our richly diverse modern society, the well-being of the nation depends on the contribution of people of all faiths, and of none.

But for people of faith, the last few years have been particularly hard, with unprecedented restrictions in accessing the comfort and reassurance of public worship. For many, it has been a time of anxiety, of grief, and of weariness.

Yet the Gospel has brought hope, as it has done throughout the ages; and the Church has adapted and continued its ministry, often in new ways - such as digital forms of worship.

St. Paul reminds us that all Christians are entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation, and the deepening of relations across the great Christian traditions has been a continuing priority since the first General Synod in 1970. And so I am pleased to note the enhanced cooperation between the Church of England and the Church of Scotland, as well as the sustained ecumenical links between many churches, in the pursuit of Christian unity.

Your Graces and members of the Synod, the next five years will not always be straightforward. Like every new Synod, you have inherited weighty responsibilities with many issues to address, reports to debate, and difficult decisions to make. You may have to consider proposals on governance, on conduct, on the use of resources, and on other issues; and on a vision for the future of the Church.

In some areas, there will, of course, be differing views and my hope is that you will be strengthened with the certainty of the love of God, as you work together and draw on the Church’s tradition of unity in fellowship for the tasks ahead.

At the beginning of this new Synod, my prayer is that the Lord’s blessing may be upon you as you embark on your deliberations; and that you will find inspiration in the joyous words of the hymn you sang this morning:

O Comforter, draw near,

within my heart appear, 

and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.

ELIZABETH R.

 

Related content

A message from Her Majesty The Queen to the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester

The whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury in Manchester last night of so many people, adults and children, who had just been enjoying a concert. I know I speak...

23 May 2017
Feature

The Queen at Easter

Discover how The Royal Family celebrates Easter

A message from The Queen on the 100th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge (French)

Nous avons le devoir de nous souvenir et d’honorer Ia mémoire de ceux qui ont servi vaillamment et qui ont tant donné ici, sur la crete de Vimy, et tout au long de la Premiere...

09 April 2017

A message from The Queen on the 100th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge

It is our duty to remember and honour those who served so valiantly and who gave so much here at Vimy Ridge and throughout the First World War.

09 April 2017

The Queen's message to The President of Colombia, following the flooding and landslides in Mocoa

Prince Philip and I were deeply saddened to learn of the devastating flooding and landslides in Mocoa this weekend.

03 April 2017

The Queen addresses The Royal Lancers at Windsor Castle

You have established yourselves as a unified Regiment and a force without match

05 April 2017

Message to Acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service Craig Mackey

My thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathy are with all those who have been affected by yesterday's awful violence.

23 March 2017

A message from The Queen on the sixth anniversary of the Canterbury Earthquake in New Zealand

I hope that the new memorial will provide a place to remember, to grieve for what is lost, and to give thanks for what remains

21 February 2017

The Queen's message of condolence to the President of Turkey

Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and the wounded, and with the Turkish people at this time.

03 January 2017

A message from The Queen to the people of Canada

I am delighted to offer all Canadians my best wishes and congratulations on the 150th anniversary of Confederation

01 January 2017

A message from The Queen to the people of Canada (written in French)

C’est un plaisir pour moi de transmettre mes meilleurs voeux et mes félicitations aux Canadiens et Canadiennes à l’occasion du 150e anniversaire de la Confédération

01 January 2017
Feature

The Christmas Broadcast

Find out more about the history of The Queen's Christmas Broadcast...
The King's Christmas Broadcast 2022
Press release 20 December 2016

The Queen's Patronages

Read more

A message from Her Majesty The Queen to the people of Barbados on the 50th Anniversary of Independence

Since you became an independent country in 1966, you have continued to flourish and grow into a strong and confident nation.

30 November 2016

A speech by Princess Alexandra at a reception to celebrate her Patronages

I am proud to know of the excellent progress you continue to make in the many different fields represented here

29 November 2016

A speech by Prince Harry on the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy dedication in St Lucia

On behalf of my grandmother, The Queen, I am grateful to the Government and the people of St. Lucia for this most generous contribution.

27 November 2016

A message from The Queen to Antigua and Barbuda on its 35th Anniversary of Independence

Prince Philip and I send our warmest wishes to Antigua and Barbuda on the occasion of this celebration to mark 35 years of Independence

20 November 2016