The General Synod is the Church of England’s national assembly, comprising bishops, other clergy and lay people. PAUL WADDELL, an NHS frontline worker and father from South Croydon, is seeking election to the body. Here, he explains why
I want to be a member of General Synod because I want to be part of shaping the way the Church of England responds to some important issues.
Children and Young People – Most people who come to Christian faith do so as a younger person, and most that walk away from our faith also do so when they’re young.
I believe that prioritising this area of our work and service, whilst adhering to the highest of safeguarding standards, is a vital part of the church’s mission in the coming years. I hope to be a voice on General Synod that says, in relation to every issue, “Think about what this means for the children of our nation and our church.”
Inclusivity – Synod should work towards there being no barriers created by churches between people and a relationship with God, be that with regards to age, race, gender, sexuality, disability or wealth. I want my daughter to be part of a church where she never has a doubt that all are truly welcome.
The Environment – The Church of England is in a unique position to help reconnect people with God’s creation, and the land on which we depend. We must consider what Christian environmentalism will look like both in rural and urban areas. We must ensure that Synod’s decision to divest from fossil fuel companies that won’t meet Paris Agreement targets by 2023 is followed through. I want my daughter to grow up on a planet that has a future and a hope.
At home in South Croydon, a place I love, I live with my wife Stephanie, and our one-year-old daughter Lydia. For many years I have run a church football team, been involved in music for worship, been a member of PCCs and Deanery Synods and (after completing the Bishop’s Certificate) I have been encouraged to test my vocation by occasionally preaching and leading services.
Growing up in an atheist family, I came to faith at 17 years of age, inspired by the message and actions of a local church that was truly being good news to the poor. My faith inspired me to turn my back on an early career in banking and train to be an anaesthetic assistant for the NHS.
During the pandemic I have worked on the front line, in the theatres and intensive care unit of a London hospital, seeing at first hand the difference that faith makes in a crisis, be that through the pastoral support of wonderful chaplains, the hope and comfort of the gospel for those suffering and their families, and the inspiration that God gives so many of my colleagues to serve beyond their normal capacity.
I hope you will feel able to take part in these elections, whoever you decide to vote for, and I will be very grateful for any support you are willing to give me, first preference or otherwise.
- This is an edited version of Paul Waddell’s election address. Elections to the General Synod are held for five-year terms, and Waddell is seeking election to represent Southwark Diocese on the Synod. Read more about the Synod elections by clicking here
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