GENERAL SYNOD members have voted more than three to one in favour of asking Parliament to allow them to pass legislation remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. Members were also asked whether decisions made remotely should have to be ratified once the Synod got back together again, and 92 per cent agreed.
In an online poll of 363 members, 76 per cent were in favour of asking permission to conduct official business via teleconferencing; 19 per cent were opposed; and five per cent were unsure. The July residential meeting in York was cancelled last month (News, 8 May).
Members indicated that the change should be only temporary, however: 81 per cent agreed that the presumption should remain in favour of physical meetings.
The Synod will meet online informally on Saturday 11 July, in a session dominated by questions and answers. After a 15-minute opening service, the Archbishop of Canterbury will deliver his presidential address. This will be followed by a 15-minute “pause for reflection” — or, since members will be logging in from home, a break for coffee.
There will then be an hour for questions submitted by members in advance. The deadline for questions is noon on 30 June. Although members will be allowed to ask one supplementary question, they have been warned that they will be muted by the chair if they go over the time limit.
The afternoon session begins with a presentation on the Church’s response to Covid-19, with an opportunity for members to contribute. This is followed by a further hour of questions. The session closes with a short reflection “and/or scriptural thought”, and another 15-minute act of worship.
The session will be viewable by the public online.