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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:

July 2013

General Synod: Archbishop Justin's statement on safeguarding
7 July 2013
General Synod members today voted overwhelmingly to acknowledge and apologise for past safeguarding failures.…

'There is a revolution': Archbishop Justin's address to Synod
5 July 2013
In his first presidential address to Synod, Archbishop Justin said "we live in a time of revolutions".…

November 2012

Women Bishops debate: We must be those who live a better way
20 November 2012
Bishop Justin’s Speech to the General Synod during the debate on November 20th about Women Bishops.

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