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General Synod digest: Synodical seats and DBE Measure

21 February 2020

Madeleine Davies, Hattie Williams, Adam Becket, and Tim Wyatt report from the General Synod in London


The dais in the assembly hall of Church House

The dais in the assembly hall of Church House

Synodical seats.

THE Synod approved the allocation of seats for the elections for the next quinquennium. Canon Sue Booys (Oxford), who chairs the Business Committee, said that it had been decided that there would be a 70/30 per cent split be­­tween the Provinces of Canterbury and York.

For the first time, members of Mission Worship Initiatives were included in the calculations. Four-fifths of all dioceses had recorded a fall in clergy numbers, and all had witnessed a fall in the electoral roll.

A challenge to the split, from David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich), who proposed that 75/25 was more equitable, fell.

Clive Scowen (London) argued that the 70/30 split was unjust, and it meant that some members of the Church of England were more im­­portant than others, favouring York.

The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, the Arch­bishop of York-designate, speaking in favour of the north, said that in the Bible, two and two rarely equalled four; now was the time to “stand still” on this one.

Canon Joyce Jones (Leeds) argued that the population split between north and south was more like 70/30.


DBE Measure.

THE Draft Diocesan Boards of Education Measure came back to the Synod for its re­­­vision stage on Wed­nesday even­­ing.

Introducing the debate, Clive Scowen (London), who chairs the revision committee, said that the committee had sought a light touch and to make the proposals as simple as possible.

Each diocesan bishop, once the Measure was passed, would need to produce a new scheme for his or her diocesan board of educa­tion (DBE), giving them a chance to reconsider their arrangements.

He then laid out some of the more technical changes to the Measure. In particular, the committee had re­­sisted requests to narrow the types of DBE which could exist, and allowed three forms: unincorporated charity, incorpor­ated charity, and as a sub-committee of the diocesan board of finance.

The Archdeacon of London, the Ven. Luke Miller (London), said that this debate followed on from the im­­portant earlier discussion of reach­­ing young people, given the cen­tral­ity of the Church of England’s schools work.

The Synod voted to take note of this Report.

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