General Synod

The General Synod is the national assembly of the Church of England. It decides on key issues in the life of the Church, ranging from legislative and policy decisions, such as the ordination of women as bishops or the approval of new forms of liturgy, to more routine matters like the fees for church weddings.

The Synod is given power by Parliament to pass ‘Measures’ which, on approval by Parliament, become part of the law of the land.General Synod also has a strong interest in current affairs and social issues, recently debating, for example, the environment, trade justice, and higher education.

General Synod is elected every five years by a system of proportional representation. It is made up of three Houses: Bishops, Clergy and Laity. The maximum total number of members is 467.

The House of Bishops includes all diocesan bishops plus seven suffragan (or assistant) bishops. In addition to clergy elected from the dioceses, the House of Clergy also includes cathedral deans, a representative of prison chaplains and clergy employed in the universities.

The House of Laity is composed chiefly of lay people elected from the dioceses. Both the Houses of Clergy and Laity include representatives of the armed forces, as well as members of religious communities.

Directly elected members of the House of Clergy are elected by the clergy of their dioceses and directly elected members of the House of Laity by the lay members of the deanery synods (assemblies of groups of parishes).

General Synod meets two or three times a year in London or York.

Chelmsford Diocese has elected 14 members to General Synod to serve for a five year term from 2015 to 2020. Seven representatives of the Diocese have been elected to the House of Laity and seven representatives to the House of Clergy.

If you want to listen to audio recordings of previous meetings of General Synod these can be found on this website -