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This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

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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 2012

General Synod: Loyal address to HM the Queen
6 February 2012
The Archbishop of Canterbury has highlighted the Queen's Christian faith as the Church of England's national…

July 2011

Archbishop launches appeal for Christians in the Holy Land
12 July 2011
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, launched an Appeal at General Synod's July 2011 Group…

Archbishop of Canterbury’s Presidential Address
9 July 2011
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, delivered his Presidential Address today at the General…

November 2010

Archbishop welcomes HM Queen to Ninth General Synod
23 November 2010
Following a service of Holy Communion in Westminster Abbey, the Archbishop of Canterbury welcomed Her…

Archbishop's Presidential Address - General Synod November 2010
23 November 2010
In his first Presidential Address to the new Synod, the Archbishop of Canterbury urges members to recognise…

July 2010

Archbishop's closing sermon at General Synod
13 July 2010
The Archbishop preached in York at the final Eucharist of the 2005—2010 General Synod.

General Synod Draft Legislation: Women in the Episcopate amendments
1 July 2010
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have submitted the following amendments to the Draft Bishops and…

June 2010

General Synod Draft Legislation: Women in the Episcopate
21 June 2010
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have signalled their intention to propose jointly in due course…

February 2010

Confidence in the Bible - General Synod debate, February 2010
12 February 2010
General Synod, London. In his contribution to this debate, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams,…

Mission-shaped Church: Report from the Mission and Public Affairs Council
9 February 2010
A contribution from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, at the General Synod, London. In…

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