Comments: Elections Review Group - General Synod debate

Any attempt to replace the current system with another form of electoral college will be seen as just another attempt to prevent the real mind of the church (that is you and me) being expressed. Why are Bishops and Clergy allowed to vote as individuals but the laity have to have their votes controlled by a system designed to ensure that only those with the time, commitment and a high boredom threshold get to vote for their representatives on General Synod? Only one person one vote of all on electoral rolls will do along with complete transparency by those standing for election of their views on the issues of the day.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 11:16am BST

I don't disagree that the present system for electing lay representatives is unsatisfactory. However three problems at least affect the electoral roll:

1. Some churches make much more of an effort than others to make sure people who are eligible are on the roll are and those who aren't are taken off. In some cases, where the level of parish share is connected with ER numbers, there is an obvious incentive towards a smaller ER.

2. On a more partisan point, many of the largest ERs will be the larger evangelical churches, and this would give them voting power which may still result in a Synod which does not quite represent the breadth of the church, or at least yield the kind of outcome that readers of this blog generally favour!

3. Membership of the electoral roll does not actually require church attendance - just residence in the parish - and still less any kind of Christian commitment or awareness of the church's governance.

I think myself the ER probably is the best means of securing the widest possible representation, but a lot of work would need to be done to make coverage consistent across the country.

Posted by Philip Hobday at Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 3:10pm BST

Are the lay members of General Synod 'representing' anyone in particular? In Australia, for all its faults, the clergy and laity of the General Synod are all elected by their diocesan synods, with the number elected determined by the number of licensed clergy in each diocese. It seems reasonably fair: the same electoral basis for clergy and laity, and the principle is that the diocese is the basic unit that needs to be represented in the General Synod. This gets around the need for an electoral college for the whole General Synod, though it reinforces a stronger sense of clergy and lay representatives representing a particular diocese.

Posted by Peter Sherlock at Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 7:02pm BST

Then, Archbishop, I would suggest that you lead by putting an end to your rhetoric that the marriage of gay people hacks away at the stability of one of society's cornerstones. Such an example rather validates homophobia than otherwise. And, of course, the little matter persists that such an assertion cannot be substantiated.

The real deal, your Grace, is that you and the rest of the leaders in the C of E who dislike gay people need to come to terms with the enormous contribution to church life made by gay people, time-out-of-mind. It has always been so and will always be so. Deal with it.

Posted by Daniel Berry, NYC at Friday, 12 July 2013 at 11:31am BST
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