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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 2008

The Archbishop's Speech on Gambling at the General Synod
13 February 2008
The Archbishop spoke on the subject of gambling at the General Synod in London 2008. The video and transcript…

Debate on a Covenant for the Anglican Communion
13 February 2008
Archbishop's Contribution at the General Synod

Presidential Address to the Opening of General Synod February 2008
11 February 2008
Videos and transcripts of the presidential address by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams,…

February 2007

General Synod Debate on Lesbian and Gay Christians, February 2007
28 February 2007
The Archbishop made an unplanned intervention in the General Synod's debate on lesbian and gay Christians.…

Fresh Expressions: 'the Life Blood of Who We Are' - General Synod February 2007
27 February 2007
In an introduction to a presentation on the Fresh Expressions initiative at the Church of England's General…

The Anglican Communion - Archbishop's Presidential Address to General Synod
26 February 2007
The Archbishop on the Primates' Meeting in Tanzania

The Future of Trident - General Synod Debate February 2007
26 February 2007
At its February 2007 meeting, the General Synod of the Church of England debated a paper on the future…

July 2006

Women in the Episcopate - General Synod Debate July 2006
10 July 2006
The Archbishop gave the following opening and closing speeches when moving item 14 at the July session…

Sermon - Church of England's General Synod July 2006
9 July 2006
The following sermon was given by the Archbishop in York Minster, during the July 2006 Group of Sessions…

Speech to General Synod on Women Bishops
8 July 2006
The Archbishop of Canterbury made a contribution to a debate on women in the Episcopate, discussing the…

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