THE ancient Convocations of the Church of England, when the bishops and clergy of each province are called together in their Upper and Lower Houses, are but shadows of their former selves — usually a brief meeting before the all-powerful General Synod.
But the exception has been, in the diocese of Sodor & Man, always a law unto itself. As late as 1703, its strict timing and attendance requirements were reinforced by an Act of Tynwald, the Isle of Man parliament, and the Whitsuntide Convocation this year (below) took place according to rule in St German’s Cathedral, Peel, on 27 May.
It was in its traditional form for the last time, however. Last September, the diocesan synod approved the recommendations from the Bishop of Sodor & Man, the Rt Revd Robert Paterson, to widen the membership to include the Readers of the diocese and to relax the timing, and the draft measure to remove the statutory obligation to hold an annual convocation was accepted by the synod in May this year.
This now gives the Bishop the freedom to convene meetings of the clergy and others involved in pastoral care at any convenient time.