Saturday, 10 October 2015

General Synod election results

The votes in the elections to the Church of England General Synod will be counted during this coming week. I will publish the names of the successful candidates here: General Synod List of members.

Please help me do this by sending election results to I will only publish the names of successful candidates, so I do not need the details of the count (although you are welcome to send these to me as well).

New this time is the requirement for dioceses to post the full return of the result and the result sheet (with voting figures) on the diocesan website. They must remain there until the end of the first group of sessions of the new Synod, ie 4.30 pm on 25 November 2015. Results for other constituencies must be similarly posted on the Church of England website. However there does not appear to be any particular date by which these results must be posted. But when they do appear I will add links to this page: Synod election 2015.

There are official lists of successful candidates here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 10 October 2015 at 5:27pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

Good old Guildford, the first to declare the result of the General Synod Election in the House of Clergy. Takes me back to the General Election of October 1974 when Guildford was the first to declare the result returning David Howell to the House of Commons.

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 12 October 2015 at 12:59pm BST

London clerical results : all traditions represented. Charismatic and Open Evangelicals/ Trad and Affirming Catholics/Reform. ..Andrew Foreshew-Cain our gay married priest elected as was Sean Doherty ( gay celibate Evangelical) 3 with connections to St Mellitus College.
I can't decide whether this demonstrates a healthy pluralism in the diocese or simply the increasing fragmentation of the C of E which has been a feature of my life time ( B 1949)

Posted by: Perry Butler on Monday, 12 October 2015 at 1:21pm BST

Sean Doherty is not celibate. He is married to a woman and has children. You really cannot call that celibate. I don't what the correct term is in this circumstance.

Posted by: Susan Cooper on Monday, 12 October 2015 at 4:20pm BST


Posted by: Pete Broadbent on Monday, 12 October 2015 at 5:00pm BST

No news yet of Andrea Williams bid?

Posted by: Roger Mortimer/Lapinbizarre on Monday, 12 October 2015 at 5:24pm BST

I see that quite a few Venerable Archdeacons have been elected. Just as there is a separate electoral college for Right Reverend Suffragan Bishops and Very Reverend Deans, should there not also be a special electoral college for Archdeacons thus giving the Lesser Clergy more of a chance and a look in?

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 12 October 2015 at 7:07pm BST

Perry Butler, I'd far rather the spread you've elected in London than the blandness (in the main) which stood in Oxford.

Posted by: Richard on Monday, 12 October 2015 at 7:56pm BST

".....a feature of my life time ( B 1949)"
Perry, what a great year that was to be born. Baby boomers of the world, unite!
And I believe that the fragmentation during our lifetime has been a feature not just of the C of E, but also of Anglicanism in NZ, in both cases reflecting a fragmentation in wider society. So I suppose the diversity of the London representatives is a sign of health.

Posted by: Edward Prebble on Monday, 12 October 2015 at 10:02pm BST

Sheffield has elected 2 out of 3 lay representatives against the ordination of women again...

Posted by: Barry on Monday, 12 October 2015 at 10:09pm BST

Father David there used to be a special constituency for Archdeacons. This was abolished when the size of synod was reduced in 2005. Now they stand for clergy elections but only one may be elected per diocese.

Posted by: Susan Cooper on Monday, 12 October 2015 at 11:15pm BST

Actually Richard I'm happily retired and living in Canterbury.. But spent all my ministry in London diocese. For the news within minutes from my Facebook friends!
Sorry to hear Oxford proctors,are bland! I imagine they don't think they !
Apologies to Sean Doherty..

Posted by: Perry Butler on Tuesday, 13 October 2015 at 12:16am BST

"I can't decide whether this demonstrates a healthy pluralism .... or simply the increasing fragmentation of the C of E" ?
Well the election of the Bishops Suffragan in the Northern Province clearly demonstrates a rich diversity with both Stockport's Libby Lane and Beverley's Glyn Webster being voted in to serve on the General Synod. So, Perry, let us hope and pray that it is the former rather than the latter and they all work harmoniously together for the spread of the Gospel and the extension of the Kingdom.

Posted by: Father David on Tuesday, 13 October 2015 at 8:15am BST

May I make a suggestion with regard to the 2020 General Synod elections? Could we not invite members of the general public to pay £3 in order to enlist themselves onto the General Synod's Electoral Roll? This to my mind could well result in a far more radical Synodical membership much more in keeping with the ethos and values of the religion's original Founder.

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 14 October 2015 at 6:46am BST

Barry, and . . . . .?

Posted by: Benedict on Wednesday, 14 October 2015 at 11:53am BST

I'd be interested to see a breakdown of clergy between those who work for central diocesan structures and those who area in parish ministry. 3 of our 4 reps are Diocesan staff - all good people, but if that's replicated across the board then it's not very healthy. I wonder how many parish clergy have the time to be on General Synod, and whether people employed by our Dioceses have to negotiate the time off, or whether it's just taken for granted?

Posted by: David Keen on Wednesday, 14 October 2015 at 1:39pm BST

David Keen -

All our three elected clergy reps in St Eds & Ips are parish clergy, including, at 32, the youngest of all our six clergy and lay reps.

Posted by: David Lamming on Wednesday, 14 October 2015 at 1:55pm BST

Here in Canterbury its one Archdeacon, one Cathedral Canon and one ( youngish Vicar)

Posted by: Perry Butler on Wednesday, 14 October 2015 at 3:08pm BST

I work part time as a diocesan officer and part time in a TEI.

The diocese does not see GS as part of my work time and I have to negotiate time off to attend. The TEI takes a different view!

I agree that the situation David describes may be unhealthy - but so is, say, a situation where 3 out of 7 GS members oppose the ordination of women in a diocese where the vast majority of clergy and laity support it, or where one church has several GS members elected.

Posted by: Charles Read on Wednesday, 14 October 2015 at 3:48pm BST

Revolution in Rochester! Two of the four surviving GS reps who voted against women bishops in 2012, causing much outrage in the diocese, have lost their seats, and they are an archdeacon and a lay member of the business committee of GS, both with very long service. So democracy does work, and people CAN be held to account for their actions. Deo gratias!
True, the other two who voted against have been re-elected but, nevertheless, this result marks a significant shift towards a more balanced representation.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Wednesday, 14 October 2015 at 5:02pm BST

In the Salisbury Diocese a 19 year old topped the poll in the House of Laity and she stood on an inclusive ticket.

Posted by: Nigel LLoyd on Wednesday, 14 October 2015 at 9:08pm BST

While Father David was, I suspect, making an amusing allusion to the £3 a vote Labour leader election fiasco...

...I do believe there could be a good case for making available a £5 or £10 voting arrangement, whereby all individuals on parish electoral rolls would then have the right to vote on what is, after all, the election of their own representatives.

This small charge would 'test' the commitment of members, help fund a wider and more democratic process, and open up the democratic process to individuals at individual level.

At present, Deanery synods act as buffers and filters between people and the decision-making that happens at General Synod. It reminds me, in a way, of how individuals were filtered out of democratic decision-making by communist state structures, where voting was carried out by 'go-betweens' claiming to speak for the people.

If individuals are to be represented in General Synod, then those same individuals should have a vote on who those representatives are. Having an intermediary vote (and filter) to Deanery Synod first, distances the personal preferences of individuals on parish electoral rolls, and leaves (designates) others to make those choices for them.

I regard that as paternalistic.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Thursday, 15 October 2015 at 8:17am BST

Perry Butler, I wouldn't comment on the proctors - simply on the addresses of the House of Laity.

Posted by: Richard on Thursday, 15 October 2015 at 11:59am BST

A number of contributors to this thread seem to have forgotten, conveniently,that those elected to Synod are representatives. They are NOT delegates. In other words they are not called to toe any particular party line and can vote according to conscience. Their electors have been availed of the information as to what they stand for, so it simply won't do for those like Barry and Charles Read to complain about the fact that some of those reelected voted last time around against women in the episcopate. It was, is, their right to do so.

Posted by: Benedict on Thursday, 15 October 2015 at 11:41pm BST

Yes, Benedict, but the clue is in the name - representative. Although they are not required to vote according to the views of the diocese, they must expect that, if they do not, the diocesan electors may well exercise their right to eject them at the next opportunity. I salute the clergy and lay electors of Rochester for doing so on this occasion. Regrettably, electors in some other dioceses have not been so perspicacious.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Friday, 16 October 2015 at 12:10pm BST

Yes Benedict we are indeed representatives. However:
1. If you look at the election addresses across the dioceses you will find a certain amount of fudging what people think. So some write about wanting the church to be fully inclusive of all regardless of sexuality but do not say that they think this does not entail approving same sex partnerships. I happen to think this is a defensible position (though most here will disagree) but most electors reading such an address would assume the candidate was in fact in favour of same sex partnerships. Likewise, to say you agree with the five principles etc. on bishops who happen to be women might lead a voter to think you actually welcome the ordination of women. (Look at some of the addresses to see what I mean). We have appealed for openness and some of us have tried to be transparent in our addresses.
2. Some of those in my sights are newly elected so your point re. voting records is irrelevant for them.

I was speaking to some electors last night who were dismayed to find they had voted for someone who disagrees with women's ordination. No hint of this was to be found on the relevant election address.

Posted by: Charles Read on Friday, 16 October 2015 at 12:16pm BST

Mrs. Williams elected.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer on Friday, 16 October 2015 at 12:24pm BST

Yes, Benedict, it's their right to vote as they wish, of course. But the question is whether their votes are indeed representative of the electors and the dioceses who elect them.

I would say that in general the GS reps are unrepresentative, particularly the laity reps, simply because of the extraordinarily low turnout of the electorate. Admittedly this was last time around in 2010, but in a neighbouring Deanery the turnout of the electorate for laity reps was 20%! This time around, the turnout of electors in my diocese (Southwark) as a whole for proctors was around 50%. That's almost more shocking.

What is meant to be a system of representation of the CofE as a whole is in fact deeply unrepresentative, because a huge proportion of the CofE members entitled to take part in the democratic process are choosing not to do so.

Posted by: Alastair Newman on Friday, 16 October 2015 at 1:41pm BST

Interesting set of results all round. But, just at the point when it is most interesting to look at the election addresses of the successful candidates, certain dioceses have taken them down and merely list the candidates and the results sheets, as they are required to do. The more organised dioceses have simply taken down the election addresses of the unsuccessful candidates. Chichester, Derby, Ely, Guildford, Lichfield, Peterborough and Portsmouth have removed them all.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Friday, 16 October 2015 at 2:15pm BST

In Southwell & Nottingham the CEO of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement came fourth in the count of first preferences and was only pipped at the post at the final stage by 0.60 of a vote by the person who came sixth in the first preferences count.

I'm both amazed and delighted that she polled so well and disappointed that she didn't gain a seat.

Posted by: RPNewark on Friday, 16 October 2015 at 4:56pm BST

I thought the issue of women in the episcopate had been resolved in the last Quinquennium, so why would candidates still need to include this issue in an election address? Surely there are other matters to consider for the future. Or is it simply that the disaffection of some proponents will just not go away until they have had absolutely everything they wanted. The five guiding principles are in place - well done members of the last synod!

Posted by: Benedict on Friday, 16 October 2015 at 5:56pm BST

Regarding the issue of transparency of GS candidates, I think that if we are going to have it then it must be full transparency.
For example, since the GS is a doctrinal body I would want to know whether the candidate believed in the virginal conception and birth of Christ, the physical resurrection and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as Saviour of the World. I would also want to know the candidate's view on personal salvation, the return of Christ to judge the living and the dead , the doctrine of the Church , the number of sacraments and the primacy of the Bishop Of Rome in a united Church. Not to mention their view on ethical issues such as abortion, euthanasia, the treatment of migrants and the impropriety or not of sexual intimacy outside of holy matrimony. Only when I know these things can I begin to be interested in the far more secondary matters that obsess us on TA.

Posted by: Geo Noakes on Friday, 16 October 2015 at 6:00pm BST

"Far more secondary matters . . . "

Such as the inability of some Anglicans to marry in their own church?

Is that really secondary? To me it seems more consequential than any of the theological issues you list.

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 17 October 2015 at 3:58am BST

When I was an incumbent my bishop told me that under the voting system we have it is best to list as many candidates as possible in order of preference. But I don't think many people understand this.

Has anyone done any research as to why the turnout is so low. I find it extraordinary.. Do people simply feel the GS is an irrelevance or what?

Posted by: Perry Butler on Saturday, 17 October 2015 at 11:35am BST

I would have to say voting for GS is not made as simple as it could be. Surely if you want to maximise turnout you need to make it as easy as possible to cast a vote.

In my particular Diocese, clergy voters were sent the election addresses and voting forms. But there was no ready addressed envelope to return it in, never mind a Freepost one. It was not possible to vote online. I assume it was the same for laity.

These may be small matters, but will have a marked effect on turnout. Given the small size of the electorate, I can't imagine the Diocese would have been bankrupted to have made things a bit easier to cast a vote.

I would imagine in these circumstances that those with a particular axe to grind or those especially tribal would be most likely to bother to cast a vote.

Posted by: Fr Andrew on Saturday, 17 October 2015 at 7:38pm BST

Re: voter turnout. Some science has been done, that is used extensively by politicians here in the US, as well as marketing people to sell products. If you want to motivate people to do something, it takes at least four "touches," and seven is better. So campaigns involve multiple ways to reach people, traditional media, digital, door knocking, mailing, phone calls, etc. This doesn't sound like the kind of thing that churches typically do. But I would say that there are ways to raise the voting numbers, the leadership would need to emphasize the importance, there would need to be multiple ways to get the info, and and online information and voting would really help.

I don't know what was done, I just know that there's a whole set of data out there on informing and motivating people to vote. If the general leadership doesn't do it, the special interests will do it to motivate their "base."

It still looks like there is diversity, and that can only be good. So congrats to those chosen for this crucial job!

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 17 October 2015 at 10:55pm BST

Perry, I am probably one of the people who doesn't understand why it is 'best' to give a preference to all candidates, as +Brian Masters told you. I asked you on an earlier thread if you could explain why he thought it to be so, but I don't think you responded. As far as I am concerned, once I have listed enough candidates for the number of places available, and all the other candidates are unacceptable to me, then I should not list any of them, for to do so can only increase their chances of being elected, surely?

As to turnout, I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout in Rochester (60% clergy, 64% laity) which is considerably higher than in previous elections, probably because so many electors were outraged by the way some of our reps voted on WBs in 2012, and were determined to hold these people to account.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Saturday, 17 October 2015 at 11:19pm BST

Malcolm ..I suggest you find a statistician not someone who just scraped O level maths! Bishop Brian has been dead for 15 years and the remark was made as an aside during a meeting if I remember. I don't think he ever explained.... But he had a pretty acute ecclesiastical / political antenae so in this area a least I've always followed his advice and commended it to others...It is presumably about the redistribution of second and third choices....... But I'm sure someone on here can explain!! Peter Owen??

Posted by: Perry Butler on Sunday, 18 October 2015 at 8:16am BST

Malcolm Dixon, if there is such outrage about the way in which reps voted against women bishops, why, in the Diocese of Leeds, have five opponents been returned to synod? Three clergy and two laity, all well known for their opposition to women bishops. The reason, I suspect, is that most voters have moved on from past battles, unlike some proponents, who seem to wish to continue them. Pray God that the new synod's agenda will not come to be dominated once again by an issue that for most of us has been resolved.

Posted by: Benedict on Sunday, 18 October 2015 at 9:57pm BST

Personally I'm a First Past the Post man when it comes to elections. I don't much care for Proportional Representation nor for the Single Transferrable Voting system. In the EU elections under PR we were lumbered with a whole host of Ukip MEPs, goodness knows what kind of Parliamentary Representation we might have had after the May 2015 General Election had it been run on PR lines. Mercifully with our first Past the Post system in spite of Ukip garnering almost 4 million votes they lost 50% of their M.Ps and ended up with only the Honourable Member for Clacton being returned to the Mother of Parliaments. So give me First Past the Post any time. As a consequence of this preference I only voted in the General Synod election for one candidate placing the Number One bedside that person's name, I am pleased to say that particular individual was elected to serve.

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 19 October 2015 at 4:44am BST

To answer your (perhaps rhetorical) question, Benedict, I can only presume that there was no sense of outrage in Leeds ( or rather in the 3 former dioceses concerned, for the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales did not exist in 2012). But there certainly was in Rochester, which stood out as a diocese whose Synod had voted overwhelmingly in favour of the 2012 WB legislation, but the majority of whose GS reps had voted against, thus contributing to the very narrow margin by which the vote was lost. Our Bishop said that he was not sure that he could remain in the House of Bishops if it was not quickly opened up to women, and many women priests were deeply hurt that their Archdeacon had voted against the measure.
A campaign 'Be Properly Represented' was started, looking forward to the 2015 elections, with the aim of ensuring that the GS reps elected would be more closely representative of the views of the diocese. It has succeeded in that aim, and we can look forward to the future with more confidence.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Tuesday, 20 October 2015 at 10:07am BST

The point about voting all the way down in the context of single transferable vote is that your vote is transferred until it is used. If your preferences come to an end before your vote is used, then your vote (or part of it - see below) is not used.

Transfers happen in two cases. First if your preferred candidate does not get enough votes to stay in the race, your vote is transferred to the remaining candidate who is highest up your list (if there is such a candidate on your list). This cannot harm the person you first voted for, because they are now out of the race - they didn't get enough votes, even with yours included.

Second, if your preferred candidate gets more votes than they need to be elected, they have surplus votes. That surplus is transferred by taking a proportion of each vote in favour and transferring that proportion (a fraction of a vote) to the next candidate on the list. So part of your vote is used for a candidate lower down your list, but highest in your preference. This cannot harm your first choice candidate, because they are already elected.

Transfers happen down the list until all the necessary posts have been filled. Votes which run out of preferences cannot be used to the end, and the final candidates elected are compared without the benefit of any preferences which may have been expressed on those discarded votes.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Friday, 23 October 2015 at 6:39pm BST

Thank you Mark for your splendid summation of the voting system employed in the General Synod elections. It reveals how complicated the system is when compared to the First Past the Post system of voting, which will most sensibly be utilised in the forthcoming Oldham West by-election.

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 24 October 2015 at 7:25am BST

Thank you Mark for explaining the STV system in such detail. I had already appreciated that nothing I did with my lower preference votes could do anything to harm the chances of my higher preference candidates. But, nevertheless, once I have listed my preferred candidates in order of preference, and all the remaining candidates are equally unacceptable to me, I see no point in allocating any further preferences.
And, in response to Fr David's point, as already posted on a later thread, when I analysed my diocese's detailed voting results, I was surprised to find that that the result would have been exactly the same under first past the post, taking only first preferences into account. In both houses, exactly the same candidates would have been elected, and in the same order. There would have been some minor changes in the order of unsuccessful candidates, but what does that matter?

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Saturday, 24 October 2015 at 12:42pm BST

In which case Malcolm, if the outcome had been exactly the same under both voting systems why not make life so much easier and opt for the less complicated system of First Past the Post?

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 24 October 2015 at 4:42pm BST

Yes indeed, Fr David, that would seem to be the obvious conclusion of this year's results in my diocese. But I have seen other results where STV has made a significant difference to the outcome, so I am undecided as to which is the better system. Both have their virtues and their faults. FPtP certainly produced a travesty of a result in Scotland at the last General Election, with an almost communist-like one party state, which I am sure was not a true reflection of the wishes of the electorate there.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Monday, 26 October 2015 at 12:54am GMT
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