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Church House staff member behind pride flag appearance at Synod, investigation finds

by Kelly Valencia
Pride flag general Synod.jpg - Banner image

An investigation into the pride flag appearance at the Church of England's General Synod in February concluded that someone working for the Corporation of Church House was behind the incident.

An LGBT+ flag flashed up in the General Synod's YouTube livestream as the Living in Love and Faith debate, discussing whether to allow same-sex couples' blessing, ended. The appearance prompted an apology from the Archbishop of Canterbury and reassurance by the Synod's chair, William Nye that an investigation would be carried out.

The livestream feed during General Synod is provided by Church House, owned by the Corporation of Church House, not the Church of England.

Now, in an email sent to all Synod members, the Corporation of the Church House's chief executive and Mr Nye, shared that a failure to "properly clean" a "pre-programmed pre-set for the streaming" allowed an individual to trigger the flag appearance.

The email read: "Following an investigation by the Corporation of Church House, including interviews with the individuals involved, we have determined that a pre-programmed pre-set for the streaming software, which included the rainbow flag, was not properly cleared from the system as it should have been.

"This allowed an individual working for the Corporation deliberately to trigger the appearance of the flag on two occasions while alone at the controls during the Synod meeting.

"We understand the sensitivity of the issue that was being discussed that morning, and we apologise for the understandable concern many will have felt about this interference with the neutral presentation of the Synod's business."

The Corporation also said it would invest in new hardware and committed to providing future Synods with their own "exclusive system with no pre-programming allowed".

The person behind the incident will face "suitable HR procedures," the Corporation said.

Speaking to Premier, Amanda Robbie, the member of the House of Laity who initially raised the issue, said: "I'm sad to hear that a staff member was responsible for this act, which mocked and undermined a respectful debate.

"I'm glad that measures are being taken to prevent a recurrence."

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