Thinking Anglicans

Procedures when debating diocesan synod motions

On Wednesday General Synod will be holding a debate on two diocesan synod motions relating to women bishops. The details of this have already been explained here.

There were several other dioceses that passed resolutions in support of the Archbishops’ Amendment, although many more dioceses rejected such an amendment. However, it turns out that all those who did will get some preferential treatment in the debate, as revealed by this Question and Answer from tonight’s Questions session. As this was the very last question on the list, it was not reached during the session, which is why I am reporting it now.

The Revd Hugh Lee (Oxford) to ask the Clerk to the Synod:

Q. As it is normal practice, where more than one diocese has submitted a DSM in identical or similar terms, for the diocese(s) concerned to be invited to nominate someone who could speak on behalf of their diocesan synod in the General Synod debate on the DSM and then to draw this to the attention of the person chairing the debate, is it also normal practice to invite the diocese(s) whose synods had rejected a motion in identical or similar terms to those of the DSM to nominate someon who could speak on behalf of their diocesan synod in the debate on the DSM and then to draw this to the attention of the person chairing the debate?

Dr Colin Podmore to reply as Clerk to the Synod:

A. The reason for the practice to which the question refers is that a motion moved at the instance of a diocesan synod can only be moved once in the same, or a substantially similar, form, yet it would be discourteous to a diocesan synod that submitted a motion listed in Special Agenda IV if it (or a motion in a substantially similar form) were debated without a representative being called to speak.

That consideration does not apply in the case of motions that diocesan synods have rejected, or have passed without submitting them for inclusion in Special Agenda IV. However, individual members may of course seek to speak in the debate.

In any event, the overriding duty of the Chair in all debates is to ensure that there is a balance of speakers for and against the motion and any amendments.

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Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

What will the Archbishops NOT DO to enshrine prejudice against women’s ministry in the Church of England? This latest ploy, to allow dissentients the right to speak, when affirming dioceses have no such right. The decision of the diocesan Synods were not equally balanced, so why should the discussion be weighted against the majority?

So much for the ‘Voice of the Church’ !

David Walker
David Walker
12 years ago

For information, the agenda would suggest this will allow one speaker from each of the dioceses of Chichester, Wakefield and York (and possibly Exeter) to address Synod.

It should still be possible for the chair to manage a balance of speakers in a debate that could last up to 4 hours.

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