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Thursday, 2 August 2012

Elections for Diocesan Synod are approaching. Have you considered standing?

In late June I gave a lecture in Santander, Spain, about Vatican II and its ecumenical impact. Following the lecture there was a lively discussion among the mostly Roman Catholic audience. They recognised that one of the main differences between Anglicans and Roman Catholics is the place of laity and clergy, as well as of bishops, in the governance of the Church. The Church of England, like the Roman Catholic Church, is an episcopal church, and share a common understanding of the ministry of bishops. But the government of the Church of England is not by bishops alone, but by bishops in synod. 

Which brings me to an important observation: We are at a key moment in the three year cycle of the governance of our Diocese. There are just 3 weeks left for nominations to be made for the new sessions of Diocesan Synod which will run for 3 years from 2013-2015.

Elections will be held for both the House of Laity and the House of Clergy. Elected members are likely to oversee an exciting period in the Diocese’s history – with plans for full-time Archdeacons and more powers for the Synod expected to come into effect during that time. The Diocesan Synod is the main policy making body of the diocese and the forum for the discussion of issues important in diocesan life. It meets annually – in Cologne in recent years – over four days each May/June. All members are also members of the Diocesan Board of Finance which is responsible for the custody and management of diocesan finances. 

Candidates for the House of Laity on Diocesan Synod may stand for election if they are:
(i) actual communicant members of the Church of England or of a Church in communion with that Church;
(ii) aged eighteen years and upwards;
(iii) on the Electoral Roll of any chaplaincy or congregation in the diocese;
The Electors are laity who have been elected as Archdeaconry Representatives by their churches. 

Candidates for the House of Clergy on Diocesan Synod may stand for election if they hold the Bishop's Licence. The Electors are all licensed clergy who were in post during June.

The numbers to be elected in each archdeaconry / deanery are as follows:

                                                            Clergy           Laity
Eastern                                                    2                   2
France                                                     3                   4
Germany & Northern Europe                   2                    2
Gibraltar                                                  2                    4
North West Europe                                  2                    3
Italy & Malta                                            1                    2
Switzerland                                              1                    2

Total to be elected                                   13                  19

(The Dean, Archdeacons and members of General Synod are ex officio members of Diocesan Synod).

The Diocesan Secretary, Mr Adrian Mumford, says, 
"Please do consider standing for Synod: it is vital to Synodical Government that the thoughts of members from every chaplaincy are shared. Swift action to encourage nominees is advised as forms must be obtained from the Diocesan Office and must be returned by 21st August 2012. Ballot papers will then be issued with a final count on 26th October".  
Remember that many in a sister Church look with envy on the possibility available to Anglican laity and clergy to participating in the Church’s governance in this way!

As our Synods are residential, there are also opportunities to get to know people from across the diocese and to share in times of friendship with them. We work hard, and we enjoy each other's company!

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