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General Synod

What is the General Synod?

General SynodThe General Synod is the national assembly of the Church of England. It came into being in 1970 under the Synodical Government Measure 1969, replacing an earlier body known as the Church Assembly. It continues a tradition of synodical government which, in England, has its origins in the medieval period. It has powers in the following areas:

Legislation by Measure

  • To pass Measures which, if approved by resolution of each House of Parliament, receive Royal Assent and thereby become part of the law of England

Legislation by Canon

  • To legislate by Canon, subject to Royal Licence and Assent

Relations with other Churches

  • To regulate the Church of England's relations with other churches and to make provisions for matters relating to worship and doctrine. It can make provision by Act of Synod, regulation or other instrument in cases where legislation by or under a Measure or Canon is not necessary

Liturgy and Doctrinal Assent

  • To approve, amend, continue or discontinue liturgies and make provision for any matter (except the publication of banns of marriage) to which rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer relate and to ensure that the forms of service contained in the Book of Common Prayer continue to be available for use in the Church of England. The Synod also decides the form in which ministers and officers of the Church of England are required to assent to the doctrine of the Church of England (the Declaration of Assent).


  • To consider any other matters of religious or public interest


  • To approve (or reject) the central church budget each year.


Recent items relating to General Synod are shown below:

February 2015

Archbishop of Canterbury's presidential address to General Synod
10 February 2015
In his presidential address to the General Synod the Archbishop of Canterbury urged the church to share…

November 2014

Reconciliation demands we stop 'holding back', says Archbishop Justin
18 November 2014
Archbishop of Canterbury praises new book aimed at inspiring Anglicans around the world to engage in…

Archbishop Justin's presidential address to the General Synod - video
17 November 2014
In his presidential address to the General Synod today, Archbishop Justin spoke about the issues faced…

Women bishops: Archbishop hails "new way of being the church"
17 November 2014
Archbishop Justin says the Church can begin "moving forward together" after General Synod enacts women…

February 2014

Archbishop Justin's Presidential address to General Synod
12 February 2014
In his presidential address to Synod today, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spoke of the need…

Jesus calls us to be 'generous and openhearted' - Archbishop Justin's Synod sermon
11 February 2014
Jesus calls us to a holiness that is 'positive, generous and openhearted', the Archbishop of Canterbury…

January 2014

CofE statement on Synod baptism wording proposal
5 January 2014
The Church of England issued this statement today on a proposal to Synod on baptism service wording

November 2013

Women bishops: Archbishop Justin's statement
20 November 2013
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby made this statement today after the General Synod approved…

Watch: Archbishop Justin's presentation to the General Synod
18 November 2013
Archbishop Justin gave a short presentation about his recent activity to the General Synod this afternoon…

July 2013

General Synod: Archbishop Justin on women bishops
8 July 2013
Read the Archbishop's remarks during today's Synod debate in which members voted to restart the legislative…

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