November General Synod – legislative business

The November 2013 Group of Sessions of the General Synod of the Church of England will take place at Church House, London, commencing at 13:45 on Monday 18 November and ending at 17:30 on Wednesday 20 November.  The full agenda and links to papers are available here, and whilst media attention will focus on the discussions concerning women in the episcopate, there are also a number of other legislative issues which may have a more immediate effect on the operation of the Church.  Details of all of these are summarized in the Report by the Business Committee.

Women in the Episcopate

Women in the episcopate will be discussed in three stages: the first part on Tuesday when there will be a brief presentation on the report from the Steering Committee for the draft legislation on Women in the Episcopate to set the scene for discussion in small groups later in the morning.  The second and third parts of the package will be discussed on Wednesday: the Steering Committee’s report GS 1924 which describes the package of proposals prepared by the Committee in accordance with the mandate approved in the July Synod, based upon the five guiding principles the House of Bishops Report GS 1886, paragraph 12.  Synod will then be invited to give first consideration to the draft Measure and draft Amending Canon prepared by the Committee. With the agreement of the Business Committee, the Chair of the Steering Committee will move under Standing Order 57 that the legislation should be committed for revision in full Synod.

Tentative dates for completion of the process are:

February 2014: Women in the Episcopate legislation – Revision Stage; Women in the Episcopate legislation, consideration of the draft House of Bishops declaration and draft dispute resolution procedure.

July 2014: Depending on timing and outcome of Article 8 reference to dioceses, consideration of the Women in the Episcopate legislation.

Legislative Business

The Legislative Business for this group of sessions is set out in Special Agenda I, which is to be found here  [1].  This is to be taken on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and includes:

Draft Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure, GS 1866B, and Draft Amending Canon No 31, GS 1877B: ”miscellaneous un-contentious amendments to ecclesiastical law”, for Final Drafting and Final Approval. See report GS 1866Z-1877Z;

Draft Care of Churches and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction (Amendment) Measure, GS 1919: Further legislative changes to faculty jurisdiction, supplementing Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2013: Further details, GS Misc 1048;

Draft Church of England (Ecclesiastical Property) Measure, GS 1919, to give PCCs and trustees of property subject to the Incumbents and Churchwardens (Trusts) Measure 1964 greater freedom to deal with their property by removing the need for the diocesan authority’s consent for certain kinds of disposal and the bringing of legal proceedings.  See GS Misc 1060 and Explanatory Memorandum, GS 1919x;

– Following approval in July of scheme prepared by the Dioceses Commission for diocesan reorganisation in West Yorkshire, Synod will be invited to make transitional arrangements for the representation of the new diocese of Leeds in the Synod.

– Approval will be sought for the Vacancies in See Committees (Amendment) Regulation 2013, GS 1922. This will give effect to the Bradford Diocesan Synod motion passed by the Synod in July 2012, which called for the Vacancy in See Committees Regulation to be amended so as to require Vacancy in See Committees to have at least 21 members.

[1] Pages 2 and 8 to 11.