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Stand for Synod

by Michael Ford last modified 04 Aug, 2021 11:31 AM

From a “nudge” from God to the importance of this third Legislative Body of Parliament, our current General Synod representatives have been sharing their thoughts on why you should #StandforSynod.

Watch a short video from the Revd Chris Tebbutt, who is not standing again, here.

The General Synod page for this Diocese is here.

We asked our current representatives ‘Why did you stand?’

And the answers reveal a range of reasons, from wanting to make a difference, to being encouraged by “people in my diocese and beyond” to feeling a “nudge from God to explore it”, to “Because I wanted to understand how the National Church sets out policy and strategy, and to help those congregations under our care to have answers to the Question: what has the National Church ever done for us?!”

 So, what is the best thing about being a member of General Synod?

Well, most agreed, it provides an opportunity to grapple with a huge range of issues affecting the life of the church, in a forum where we were told “You can hear such a breadth of opinion which forces you to reflect on your own thinking,” and “Getting to hear the whole spectrum of thoughts and feelings under the umbrella of the Church of England, and to make a difference by speaking and voting in key debates.”

One representative added a favourite memory:

“Being present when the two main opposing sides in the debate on the Ordination of Women as Bishops came to a common agreement that allowed that legislation to be passed.”

One representative also reflected:

“This is about doing something for the Church national, not just the Diocese.”

And finally, we asked our current Synod representatives ‘Why would you recommend that someone considers standing?’

They were all clear that this is a real opportunity to represent the concerns of our communities and our Diocese at a national level. 

“You can have a say in national legislation that affects all parts of the Church of England. You can also raise issues and contribute to debates on social and policy matters.”

“You cannot criticise the decisions taken at the General Synod, unless you are prepared to stand for election, and join that decision making process.”

And, as another current representative told us:

“If someone has a passion for enabling, through the C of E's resources, to spread the Gospel in an environment growing hostile to this, then here is a place to turn the tide.”

Who can stand?

The General Synod has three Houses:  Bishops, Clergy and Laity. Diocesan Bishops are automatically members of Synod by virtue of their office. In addition, each province of the Church of England elects two Suffragan Bishops. Each diocese is allocated seats in the Houses of Clergy and Laity – the number of seats varies according to the size of each diocese. 

Any member of clergy who holds ecclesiastical office in a diocese or cathedral, or who has permission to officiate, can stand in an election to the House of Clergy for their diocese. Clergy representatives (known as “Proctors”) are elected by their peers, ie other clergy in that diocese. 

To be elected to the House of Laity, a person must:

  • Have received communion according to the use of the Church of England – or a church in communion with it – at least three times in the twelve months up to 12th July 2021 (or would have done so but for matters connected with coronavirus);
  • Be at least 18 years old on 12th July;
  • Have their name on the parish roll in the Diocese, on the roll of a guild church in the Diocese of London, on the roll of a chaplaincy in the Diocese in Europe, or on the community roll of a cathedral church of the Diocese.

Resources are available here.

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