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Synod: Synodical elections

18 July 2014

THEOLOGICAL-COLLEGE staff were added to the Universities special constituency in the revision stage of draft legislation for synodical electoral reforms, which was taken on Saturday morning. Final approval was given on Tuesday morning.

The Synod dealt with four related pieces of legislation dealing with elections to the General Synod: the Draft Amending Canon No. 32, the Convocations (Elections to Upper House) (Amendment) Resolution, the Clergy Representation Rules (Amendment) Resolution, and the Church Representation Rules (Amendment) [(No. 2)] Resolution.

Opening the debates, Geoffrey Tattersall QC (Manchester) reported on the work of the revision committee, which he chaired. It had deleted the proposal to remove the current weighting in favour of the Northern Province in both the House of Clergy and the House of Laity. This would have changed the ratio from 70:30 in favour of Canterbury to 72:28. It had also removed the limit on membership from the diocese in Europe, effectively increasing its representation from two to three.

The committee also proposed a new single Universities constituency covering both provinces, with four members to be elected - at least one from each province. There would be no constraint on the number of persons to be elected from any single university. The register of electors of the new constituency wouldbe maintained by the Presiding Officer and published on the C of E website.

The steering committee had also changed the definition of the electorate in the Europe and Sodor & Man dioceses.

The Revd Professor Richard Burridge (London University) paid tribute to the work of the revision committee and urged the Synod to approve all the suggestions that it had made.

The Synod took note of the report.

Amendments from Clive Scowen (London), the Revd Christopher Hobbs (London), and Canon Simon Killwick (Manchester) were either not put or lost.

Canon Chris Sugden (Oxford) proposed an amendment to include theological-education institutions in the legislation. A member of the steering committee resisted this amendment, but it was carried in a vote by Houses: Bishops 12-10; Clergy 71-64 with 3 recorded abstentions; and Laity 76-61 with 2 recorded abstentions.

The amended draft was put to the vote on Tuesday morning and was carried nem. con.

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