WILL YOU STAND FOR GENERAL SYNOD? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE
The first ad campaign to encourage people to stand for election to the General Synod has been launched in a drive to attract a broad range of voices to the Church of England’s national decision-making body.
A 90-second film, a short explanatory animation, and a dedicated webpage have been created ahead of elections later this year. The advertising and information campaign – the first in the 50-year history of the General Synod – forms part of the Church of England’s vision of becoming a younger and more diverse Church.
William Nye, Secretary General of the Archbishops' Council and of the General Synod of the Church of England, said: “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?”
The campaign includes General Synod members such as Dr Rosemarie Mallett, the Archdeacon of Croydon, who led a key debate in the General Synod on serious youth violence in 2019.
She explained: “Reports back from Synod and images of meetings were so unrepresentative of people of colour – and I hoped that I could be elected and make my views heard on issues of social justice and inclusion.”
Dr Mallett described her experience of Synod as being “quite overwhelming and alienating” at first but added: “The best way to overcome this was to just jump in and get involved and to participate as much as possible.
“It is best to try to engage on a range of topics that fit not only within your own area of focus but also the growth and development of the whole church.”
Annika Mathews decided to stand for Synod after initially attending as an observer.
<span style="font-size: 1rem;">“I found it really interesting meeting people from across the breadth of the Church of England and listening to the things being talked about and finding out more about how the Church functions at a national level and within its governance,” she explained. </span>
“There were a variety of things spoken about during my time on Synod – climate change, food poverty, the Anglican Communion, and knife crime – to name a few.”
Dr Jamie Harrison, Chair of the House of Laity in General Synod added: “Being on General Synod can feel both daunting and inspiring.
“It is a place to meet others who share a common desire to serve God's Kingdom. At times it is frustrating.
“Yet it is also a place of hope and vision into which you may be being called – especially if you are a bit hesitant.”
The planned elections to the General Synod were originally due to take place in the autumn 2020 but will now take place in the autumn 2021 after the term of the current General Synod was extended for one year under a provision in the Coronavirus Act 2020.