General Synod

From Academic Kids

The General Synod is the title of the governing body of some church organizations.

Church of England

the Church of England, a church within the Anglican Communion. It was instituted in 1970 and is the culmination of a process of rediscovering self-government for the Church of England that had started in the 1850s.

The General Synod is unique in that it is the only body to which Parliament had delegated the power to pass Measures, which become part of English law. The Church Assembly, the predecessor of the General Synod, was in 1919 given the power to pass legislation on any matter to do with the Church of England; if Parliament accepts the Measures, then they become law – if MPs or members of the House of Lords are not happy with a Measure then they can reject it, but not amend it.

General Synod is elected every five years by a system of Single Transferable Vote and officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II.

It is divided into the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity. All diocesan bishops are members of the House of Bishops ex-officio; in addition, nine suffragan bishops are elected by all suffragan bishops. Membership of the House of Clergy is by election through the House of Clergy in each Diocesan Synod. Membership of the House of Laity is by election through the House of Laity in each Deanery Synod. There are 574 General Synod members in total.

There are two synodical sessions per year (4-5 days each), one in Church House, Westminster, the other at the University of York.

General Synod deals with three main areas:

  • Central church business
  • Relations with other churches
  • Public issues

General Synods of other churches within the Anglican Communion


Episcopal Church of the United States

In the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, the equivalent is General Convention.


Other Churches

The United Church of Christ in the United States also calls their main governing body a General Synod. It meets every two years and consists of over 600 delagates from various congregations and conferences.


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