Synod elections a “battle for the CofE’s soul”

Oct 11, 2021 by

By Rosie Dawson, Religion Media Centre:

Voting closed on Friday in the elections for membership of the Church of England’s governing body, the General Synod, with candidates from all wings of the church claiming that the next five years will be the “crunch time” for the CofE’s future.

The coming quinquennium — five years — of General Synod will see debate and decisions on clergy discipline, the parish system, church structures and racial justice. But it will also be asked to determine the church’s position on human sexuality and whether the church will allow clergy to bless same-sex unions or conduct gay marriages in church.

The “Living in Love and Faith” process began in 2017 and bishops are due to bring proposals to synod in February 2023. In response to a set of resources published last year to aid discussion, traditionalists who oppose any change to current practice made it clear that the issue could split the church.

The General Synod meets three times a year – November and February in Church House, Westminster, and a residential gathering in July in York.

It is made up of the three houses of bishops, clergy and laity, in total 467 people. Elections take place within individual dioceses with each allocated a minimum of three clergy and three lay representatives. Clergy are elected by their fellow clergy and the laity are chosen by deanery synod members.

The 42 diocesan bishops have automatic seats on synod. They are joined by 12 elected suffragan or area bishops. There are also seats for cathedral deans, universities and army chaplains.

According to the CofE, 749 of the 956 clergy and lay candidates standing in these elections were not members of the last synod. It took to YouTube to invite people to stand for election in an attempt to appeal to younger people and those from more diverse background, but the overall increase in the number of candidates may owe as much to the politics as to the marketing.

Read here

See also:

Conservative MPs’ close interest in C of E affairsLetter to Church Times argues that MP’s desire to increase Parliamentary involvement in C of E decision-making strengthens arguments for disestablishment. “Chris Loder MP…reminds us that it is not well known enough that the General Synod is a delegated body of Parliament…This is precisely what establishment entails…”




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