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    Synods, and why they are important

    (from the CEEC)

    Why is the General Synod relevant to me?

    The General Synod is the overarching governance body of the Church of England, having responsibility for the Canons, doctrine and liturgy of the Church, as well as for matters such as finance and mission1.

    Major changes to what the Church believes, or to its liturgy, require General Synod’s consent. Significant doctrinal and liturgical changes require a super-majority of 2/3rds or more.

    If you believe that it is important to maintain the historic, orthodox beliefs and practices of the Church, then the General Synod is very relevant to you and your parish. It is vital that this voice is clearly heard in the forthcoming elections in 2020, as the future of our Church might well be decided in the 5 years after 2020.

    Who are the members of the General Synod?

    The General Synod reflects the nature of the UK Parliament in terms of its structure and operation. It generally meets for about 10 days each year in February and July and comprises three houses, elected by diocese:

    Who can stand for election to the General Synod?

    Clergy – any member of the clergy who is (a) licensed by the bishop, or (b) has permission to officiate and is a member of a deanery synod.

    Laity – any lay person who is an actual communicant, who is aged 18 years or older, and whose name is on the electoral roll of a parish in the diocese. NB the lay person does not need to be a current member of a PCC or a deanery synod.

    Why are the next elections SO important?

    The General Synod which serves during the period 2020-2025 will consider a number of significant doctrinal and liturgical matters, including with regard to the Church’s teaching on human sexuality.

    In 2017, the House of Bishops initiated a process, now called Living in Love & Faith, which will provide teaching and learning resources on marriage, sexuality and identity, drawing on Scripture, theology, ethics, history and science. These materials will be published prior to the Lambeth Conference in the summer of 2020. Thereafter, the House of Bishops will determine its proposed policies relating to human sexuality which will then be debated by the new General Synod.

    On the basis of the voting patterns of the current members of the Synod, the Houses of Clergy and Laity appear to have significant liberal, revisionist groups of c.50% and 40% respectively, compared with members holding orthodox views of c.30% in each House.

    About a quarter of dioceses currently have no clear orthodox voices amongst their lay members. A similar position applies amongst clergy members.

    This is why the election of even a small number of additional orthodox clergy and laity would represent a significant and positive sea-change in the composition of the Synod.

    Thus, to ensure that orthodox Anglican Evangelicals are fully represented in the 2020-2025 General Synod, clergy, laity and PCCs need to start taking action NOW.


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