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The Diocesan Synod is the body of representatives of the clergy and lay people in the Diocese, which meets together with the bishops, archdeacons and other senior post holders in the Diocese to discuss matters of concern to the Diocese of London, and to make provision for those things that require some form of action or statement. The Synod may from time to time express its opinion on matters of religious or public interest. The Bishop of London consults the Synod about matters when it is appropriate to do so. The Synod also has a role in representing the views of the Diocese of London to the General Synod and wider national Church, particularly when asked to do so by the General Synod or Archbishops’ Council. The Synod receives the accounts of the Diocesan administrative body, the London Diocesan Fund, and approves the total amount of Common Fund to be collected each year. It is important that the Synod reflects the range of views and opinions present in our churches, and that it goes about its business prayerfully and faithfully. The Diocesan Synod may not make any statement purporting to declare the doctrine of the Church; this role is reserved for the General Synod.
The Diocesan Synod is made up of three Houses – that is, three sets of members: the bishops, the other clerical members, and the laity (i.e. the non-clerical members). These are referred to as the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy, and the House of Laity. When it is appropriate to do so these Houses meet separately, for instance, when a matter before the Diocesan Synod affects the clergy and laity in different ways. However, normally the Diocesan Synod meets together as a whole. It usually meets three times each year.
The London Diocesan Synod consists of approximately 200 members: ex-officio (e.g. Bishops and Archdeacons), elected (clerical & lay from each deanery), co-opted and nominated.
Each deanery in the Diocese elects a certain number of representatives to the Diocesan Synod in proportion to its size. The clergy representatives for each deanery are elected by the clerical members of the deanery synod (except co-opted member), and the lay representatives, by the lay representatives of the deanery synod (except co-opted members).
Details of the full requirements on how to become a member of the Diocesan Synod can be found in nomination papers circulated at the time of election. However, the position in brief is as follows:
To be elected, a person must complete and return (by the deadline specified) a nomination form, which will involve getting two members of the deanery synod to act as proposer and seconder.
To be eligible to stand for election to the Diocesan Synod a clergy man or woman must be:
- a Clerk in Holy Orders; and
- a member of the deanery synod of the deanery entered on the front of the nomination form.
To be eligible to stand for election to the Diocesan Synod a lay person must be:
- an actual communicant having received communion according to the use of the Church of England or a Church in communion with the Church of England at least three times in the last twelve months; and
- confirmed, or ready and wanting to be confirmed, or receiving communion as a baptized communicant member in good standing of another Church which subscribes to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity under the provisions of Canon B 15A paragraph 1(b); and
- at least sixteen years of age; and
- entered on the electoral roll of a parish in the deanery, or (in the case of the City Deanery only) is on the community roll of St Paul’s Cathedral or, declared by the Dean of Westminster to be a habitual worshipper at Westminster Abbey.