Paul Bagshaw is publishing an important series of articles on his blog about the electorate for elections to the House of Laity of the CofE General Synod, and of diocesan synods. In them he argues that this electorate should be all those on parish electoral rolls, rather than the lay members of deanery synods as it is a present.
He starts with
in which he writes:
The present system
At the moment those on the electoral roll of a church vote for Deanery Synod members. These people then vote for Diocesan and General Synod members.
This system of indirect voting means that there is no accountability from governing bodies to the people in the pews – the people who very largely pay for the Church. Where there is no accountability, the people don’t count.
The consequences of change
It isn’t possible simply to change the voting system as though it was a technical matter with no other implications.
- The marginalization of the laity is a cornerstone of our present synodical system.
- To change the franchise would be to change the whole set of relationships which currently structure the church – clergy:laity, diocese:parish, General Synod:parish.
- Inevitably too the present kingpins in this structure – bishops and parish clergy – would also have to modify the ways they work and their relationships with the people around them.
The fundamental change will be to treat each enrolled member as a fully adult member of the Church. I think such change will be beneficial – and equally that it will be resisted.
Subsequent articles to date are:
How we got here (briefly)
One member : One vote – simple!
General Synod votes for direct election of lay representatives (almost)
2011 debate on lay representation – background paper 1
2011 debate on lay representation – background paper 2
Let’s have a review – the GS debate on representing the laity, 2011
The articles can also be all be read on this one page.
Paul Bagshaw has also written this background article
and this related article: