General Synod seeks younger and more diverse members with first advertising campaign

An ADVERTISEMENT campaign to encourage people to stand for election to the General Synod was created for the first time in Church history with the aim of widening the range of candidates.

The campaign, which includes a 90 second film, a short explanatory animation, and a dedicated web page, appeared in the Church hours for the last two issues and is promoted by the National Church and Dioceses on social media using the hashtag #StandforSynod.

The Secretary General of the Council of Archbishops and Synod, William Nye, said: “We pray that the leaders of the Church of England, including bodies like the General Synod, can become more representative of the English people – and that means younger and more diverse.

“This campaign has a very clear message which we hope will reach everyone in the Church at large: if you want to participate in decision-making affecting the whole Church of England and issues of national and international importance, this is your chance. Do you want to stay up?

The short film features current members of the Synod, including the Archdeacon of Croydon, Dr Rosemarie Mallett, who led the debate on severe youth violence in 2019 (News, July 12, 2019). She explained on Wednesday: “Synod reports and pictures of meetings were so unrepresentative of people of color – and I was hoping to be elected and have my point of view heard on issues of social justice and inclusion.”

YouTube / Church of EnglandSecular member Annika Mathews appears in #StandforSynod movie

She described her Synod experience as “quite overwhelming and alienating,” but said: “The best way to get over this was to just jump in, get involved, and participate as much as possible. It is best to try and engage with a range of topics that are relevant not only to your own area of ​​interest, but also to the growth and development of the church as a whole.

A lay member, Annika Mathews, decided to come to the Synod after first attending as an observer. She said: “I found it really interesting to meet people from all over the Church of England and listen to the things that are being talked about and find out more about the functioning of the Church at the national level and within its governance.

“There were various things that were talked about during my time at the Synod – climate change, food poverty, Anglican Communion, and knife crime – to name a few. “

Laity House president Dr Jamie Harrison said: “Being a member of the General Synod can be both intimidating and inspiring. It is a place to meet others who share a common desire to serve the Kingdom of God. It can be frustrating at times. Yet it is also a place of hope and vision that you can be called to, especially if you are a little hesitant.

Applications will be open on July 30 and the closing date is September 8. Elections were originally scheduled to take place in 2020, but are now slated to take place this fall after the current synod’s term was extended by one year under a provision in the 2020 coronavirus law (News article, May 8, 2020) .