General Synod

For all practical purposes this is the governing body of the Church    of England.  It was set up under the Synodical Government Measure 1969.  It consists of three houses – of bishops, of clergy and of laity. The house of bishops consists of all the diocesan bishops together with a number of suffragans elected by their colleagues.   The other two – the House of Clergy and the House of Laity -  are elected within the dioceses, whose representatives they are, the electorate being the deanery synods in each diocese.   The number from each diocese is based on the total number on the electoral roll of the diocese.   (As one would expect in a body like the Church of England, there are a number of extra – and ex-officio – members).   Currently (2010) there are 53 bishops, 205 clergy and 207 laity.  The synod meets two or three times a year, each time for a few days, and conducts practically all its business with all three houses meeting together.   Only rarely do any of the houses meet separately.   Usually the vote on any business is a vote of the  synod as a whole, but there are arrangements for a vote to be taken by houses for a few specified types of motion or when this is asked for by the synod itself.   In such cases, a motion, to be deemed to have been carried by the synod, has to be carried in all three houses.   See also Convocations.

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