UP TO 50 candidates in the General Synod elections are standing in some dioceses, presenting electors with a mountain of addresses to read, and sometimes — in a new departure for the new quinquennium — videos to watch.
Voting closes on 8 October: hustings are scheduled during the next two weeks.
Southwark tops the list: it has 24 clergy standing and 27 lay people. Chichester comes next, with 17 and 33 respectively, up from 15 and 16 last time. Oxford has 23 clergy and 24 lay; Chelmsford has 16 of each; Manchester has 17 and 13; York has figures of 11 and 21. By contrast, the two candidates standing in Sodor & Man have been elected unopposed, and the process is complete.
This was the first time in the Synod’s 50-year history that the elections had been advertised nationally, with a 90-second film, a short explanatory animation, and a dedicated webpage. The secretary-general of the Archbishops’ Council and the General Synod, William Nye, said in July: “We are praying that the leadership of the Church of England, including bodies like General Synod, may become more representative of the people of England — and that means younger and more diverse.
“This campaign has a very clear message which we hope will reach everyone in the wider Church: if you want to be part of making decisions affecting the whole Church of England and debating matters of national and international importance, this is your chance. Will you stand?”
All the candidates’ addresses have been posted on their diocesan website, with no limit, in most cases, on the number of words. Some are, in effect, full CVs. Others paint a picture of clerical family life with children and dogs: ”I am blessed with a vicarage buzzing with our four teenagers, their school friends, church friends and girlfriends.”