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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 2017

General Synod: Archbishop of Canterbury's Presidential Address
13 February 2017
Read Archbishop Justin Welby's Presidential Address this afternoon to the Church of England General Synod…

February 2016

'Martyrdom is the ultimate witness to Christ’s truth’
17 February 2016
Archbishop Justin Welby’s homily at General Synod, London, 17 February 2016

Evangelism is 'our duty, privilege and joy', Archbishop tells Synod
16 February 2016
Evangelism and witness is 'not an app, it's the operating system' of the church, Archbishop Justin Welby…

Archbishop reflects on Primates’ meeting in Synod address - video
15 February 2016
In his presidential address to the General Synod today, Archbishop Justin Welby spoke about the beauty…

November 2015

Archbishop welcomes The Queen to General Synod
24 November 2015
Read the Archbishop of Canterbury's speech welcoming HM The Queen to the Inauguration of the 10th General…

July 2015

Archbishop of Canterbury's sermon at York Minster
12 July 2015
Archbishop Justin Welby preached this morning at York Minster at a service attended by members of the…

Archbishop speaks at Synod on senior church leadership
11 July 2015
The Archbishop contributed this afternoon to a debate on senior church leadership at the meeting of the…

February 2015

Christianity course addressing ‘urgent task’ for the church, says Archbishop
12 February 2015
Archbishop of Canterbury praises Church of England's Pilgrim Course for helping bring new people to the…

Archbishop hails ‘major step’ of flagship church credit union
11 February 2015
Archbishop of Canterbury and church leaders launch Churches Mutual Credit Union.

Archbishops pledge church's support for Armed Forces community
11 February 2015
Archbishops of Canterbury and York sign Church of England commitment to support Armed Forces personnel,…

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