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Saturday, 8 March 2014

Why your #CofE Church #APCM this or next month is more important than usual


Those elected as your church's representatives at Deanery Synod will elect Lay people to a new General Synod next year.

Those lay people may still have to vote on whether we have women bishops (if not passed by the current General Synod) and in future years they will probably have to vote on issues such as: how the church needs to focus on numerical growth;  homosexuality; the church's role in speaking for the poor and weak and thus sometimes challenging the rich and powerful.  

So it is important you know what the views of your Deanery Synod reps are on such issues before your Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) this or next month.  That's because at the APCM you'll be voting such people into the rep roles AND next year they'll be voting in who the lay reps are on the General Synod (which decides the church's position on such issues). 

OR as a minimum its important you ask such reps what criteria will be important to them in deciding which General Synod lay reps to vote for next year.

The suggestions below are one approach to these issues.  Plainly in whatever approach you choose to take you also need to consider how to hear and take action on Justin Welby's last presidential address to General Synod - one extract from which is...

"if we are to live out a commitment to the flourishing of every tradition of the church there is going to have to be a massive cultural change that accepts that people with whom I differ deeply are also deeply loved by Christ and therefore must be deeply loved by me and love means seeking their flourishing" 


Every year each CoE church should hold an APCM.

Often these involve the election of various folk to the Parochial Church Council (PCC).

Sadly attendance at these APCM can often be lower in numbers than those in a Sunday's congregation.

At this years APCM it is likely that some people from your church will also be elected to be lay representatives on the Deanery Synod.

So what is so important about Deanery Synod Reps?

In 2015 members of the Deanery Synod will elect people to be on the General Synod's House of Laity for the next 5 years.

During that 5 years it is possible that General Synod may have to vote on issues like:

a) Women Bishops (only if the current actions to agree to them are not passed - note the issue is certainly not settled yet);

b) How the church speaks for the poor and weak and so sometimes will challenge the rich and powerful;

c) Homosexuality;

d) A focus on leaders & activities that lead to numerical growth (see this post for more info).

So why is all this important?  

Because in November 2012 the measure to OK women bishops was not passed as it did not achieve the necessary majority in the House of Laity.  This was despite:

a) the required majority of General Synod's Bishops and Clergy supporting women bishops;

b) the majority of Diocese synods also supporting Women Bishops.

Whether you agree with women bishops or don't - the above lesson from recent history demonstrates the importance of how members of the House of Laity vote.

What can I do?

So what can you do as somebody on the Electoral Roll of your local church?

1) Ask your churchwardens how - preferably before the APCM - there will be a discussion on the Deanery Synod reps views on the above or other subjects important to you OR as a minimum how you may ask the Deanery synod reps what criteria will be important to them in deciding which General Synod lay reps to vote for next year.

2) Consider standing yourself to be such a representative.

3) Ponder whether the above approach is enough as a Christian.  To prompt your thoughts it might be worth reading Justin Welby's appeal for us to act in a way where we commit to the flourishing of those we disagree with as they are also loved by Christ.

Useful background reading (some of these are from a particular stance on the issues above)

CofE pamphlet on 2014 elections to Deanery Synod

An intro to General Synod

Reform's website - and their views and reasoning on a  variety of issues

Inclusive Church's Deanery Election Campaign Pack

Better Prepared - Women & the church


  1. An 'annual parochial church meeting' must be held not later than 30th April in each year.

  2. ta for the clarification on the timing