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Miscellaneous

Central boards and councils

THE STRUCTURE of the boards and councils of the Archbishops’ Council is to be tidied up, and, in most of them, the membership will be limited to 15. The Synod voted for these modest reforms on the Thursday morning.
 
The review was introduced by Canon Bob Baker (Norwich), who said that it was long overdue. Only the Council for the Care of Churches, which needed a body of experts, and the Mission and Public Affairs Council, which was a very new body with 23 members, were to be allowed more than 15 members.

Hayden Charles (Norwich) was concerned at the lack of accountability when boards set up their own committees. He wanted to know what controls there were. Ian Henderson (Bristol) noted the restriction that a Synod member could serve on only one committee. He hoped it would be possible for people with expertise to serve on two. Alan Cooper (Manchester) thought it outrageous that there were only three elected members on the Board of Education. It left no room for mavericks or people with new ideas.

The Synod voted to take note of the report.

Synod reduction

AS THE MEMBERSHIP of the General Synod is to be reduced from 582 to 476, the Synod had to approve the formal re-allocation of numbers to be elected later this year as diocesan representatives to the Lower Houses of Convocation and the House of Laity.

The Revd Dr Richard Turnbull (Winchester), chairman of the Business Committee, said that the reduction in clergy had been achieved by abolishing the special constituency for archdeacons. Any archdeacon elected in future would be as a Proctor. As for the laity, there would be 52 fewer.

Timothy Allen (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) drew attention to the ratio of representation of Canterbury and York, 70:30. The real figure was 73:27. Gloucester and Norwich, for example, had larger electoral rolls than Carlisle and Wakefield. Yet the latter had four places and the former three. He hoped this could be rectified for 2010.

The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd John Gladwin, spoke of the need to look again at the system. He considered it inbred, based on electoral rolls and deanery-synod members. “If one took population into account, we might come to very different conclusions.”

The motion on General Synod Elections 2005 was put to the Synod and passed by a large majority.

The final piece of legislation to reduce the Synod membership was passed without debate on the Tuesday morning.

A discrepancy between the draft Canon and the Rules in reducing the number of suffragan bishops from six to four was tidied up after a brief speech by the Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd Stephen Venner. The Synod carried the amendment, leaving the way clear for the Archbishop of Canterbury to promulge the Amending Canon No. 26 (Synodical Government), which takes effect later this year when the new Synod is elected.

Appointments

THE SYNOD endorsed the appointment of Mark Russell to the Archbishops’ Council for a term of five years. Mr Russell, who is 30, succeeds Jayne Ozanne, who was on the Council from its inception. He is Youth Minister at Christ Church, Chorleywood.

Allan Bridgewater was appointed to chair the Church of England Pensions Board from 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2007.

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