on business of the General Synod at Church House, Westminster, Tuesday 23 November 2010
Today saw the inauguration of the newly elected General Synod. There have been significant changes in the membership of the Synod with many old members not standng or not being re-elected and consequently many new members elected in their place. The theological composition of the new Synod is a matter of speculation at this stage and it may be a while before it becomes clear.
Several years ago the Synod decided not to meet in November unless there was a pressing need except that it would meet in the first November of the new quinquennium. It was felt that otherwise there was too long a gap between when the new Synod was elected (in October) and when it first met (in February). In addition there are elections for important posts held near the start of each quinquennium and it was felt that the November meeting would prove useful for members to get to know one another before the elections take place. This said the fact that the Synod is only meeting for two days, and those quite short days, seems to have been a surprise to many.
The only matter of substance on day 1 was a debate on a paper on The Big Society. The government's proposals to involve voluntary organisations in building local communities were welcomed by the Synod. The Big Society presents an opportunity for the Church of England from the parish level up to be actively involved in initiatives and the Synod wished to ensure this was taken. The main decision was to conduct a feasibility study and report back during 2012.
The final business of the day was the customary questions and answer session.