The 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 is made up of clergy and laity from every Diocese, and could be described as the "parliament" of the Church of England.
The Lichfield Diocese is entitled to 13 representatives (6 clergy, 7 lay) on General Synod, for which elections are taking place from July - October 2021. The details of the representatives elected will be published here.
All General Synod representatives are open to hearing your views or answering specific questions about their roles.
For more information on General Synod, please click here
Elections to General Synod 2021
The quinquennial elections to General Synod should have taken place in 2020 but were postponed due to the pandemic. They are taking place between July and October 2021. For the first time they will be run online and will be operated by Civica Elections Services Ltd. If you are an elector (a member of a deanery synod) you will receive communications from Civica regarding the election. Further info about the election can be found here.
The Diocesan Synod brings together clergy and lay members from all of the Diocese's 28 Deaneries. More locally, each deanery has a Deanery Synod, which is made up of clergy from the deanery and lay representatives from every parish.
Role/Terms of Reference of Diocesan Synod (common membership with the Diocesan Board of Finance):
- To consider matters concerning the Church of England and to make provision for such matters in relation to their diocese, and to consider and express their opinion on any other matters of religious or public interest;
- To advise the bishop on any matters on which he/she may consult the synod (It shall be the duty of the bishop to consult with the Diocesan Synod on matters of general concern and importance to the diocese)
- To consider and express their opinion on any matters referred to them by the General Synod, and in particular to approve or disapprove provisions referred to them by the General Synod under Article 8 of the Constitution
- To consider proposals for the annual budget for the diocese and to approve or disapprove them;
- To consider the annual accounts of the diocesan board of finance of the diocese.
Diocesan Synod meets three times per year, individuals are encouraged to submit ideas for agenda items.
Elections to Diocesan Synod 2021
The triennial elections to Diocesan Synod are due to take place in 2021 with the new synod being in place from 1st August. The elections are by Deanery Synods and Rural Deans, Lay Chairs and Deanery Secretaries will be sent information/forms etc. Any Clerk in Holy Orders who is a voting member of a deanery synod, and any lay person who is a member of a church electoral roll may stand as a candidate. Members of deanery synods are the electors and as such must propose and second any nomination. Click here for further information about the synod and how you could be involved, and a lay nomination form and a clergy nomination form.
Lichfield Diocesan Board of Finance (LDBF)
The Lichfield Diocesan Board of Finance was established under the Diocesan Boards of Finance Measure 1925 and registered as a charity with the Charity Commission. It is a charitable company, limited by guarantee, with members of the Bishops Council as Directors. It is the financial and legal executive of the Diocesan Synod and is responsible for financing its activities. The LDBF through its Finance and Central Services Committee, Bishops Council and Diocesan Synod agrees an annual expenditure budget. Its roles and responsibilities are the same as Diocesan Synods. The Council or Executive Committee (which is the same as Bishops Council of Diocesan Synod) manages the affairs of the Board, whose members are defined in the Memorandum and Articles of Association.
Bishops Council and Standing Committee of Diocesan Synod
The Bishops Council is responsible for considering matters of policy, for advising the Diocesan Bishop, and for determining how matters should be taken forward to the Diocesan Synod for further consideration. To do this, the Bishops Council handles a wide range of financial and strategic business, and considers issues raised by the Diocesan Board of Education, and the LDBFs sub-committees, the deaneries and the national church. Members act as Directors and Trustees of the Diocesan Board of Finance, a limited company and registered charity, and are responsible for the management of finance subject to the direction of the Synod; members also act as the membership of the statutory Lichfield Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee.
Agenda Planning Committee
Agenda Planning is a non-statutory sub-committee of the Bishop's Council (provided for by Standing Orders). Agenda Planning is therefore accountable to Bishop's Council. Its role is to ensure a smooth flow of business to the Bishops Council and to the Diocesan Synod by:
- Preparing the agenda for diocesan synod on behalf of Bishops Council
- Planning the agenda of Bishops Council.
- Reviewing Synods Standing Orders when required
Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee
The Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee (DMPC) is a statutory committee and shares a common membership with the Bishop's Council. It takes responsibility for ensuring that the policies of the Diocesan Synod are carried out with respect to the deployment of ministry resources, in particular stipendiary clergy, available to the Diocese. This provides for a structured and holistic approach to the provision of ministry, its deployment and resourcing, as well as the development of new areas of ministry, with clear intent to further the mission of the church.
It is possible for the Bishop to restrict the Patrons right of presentation to a benefice for 1 year under the Mission and Pastoral Measure and a paper explaining when this is considered and the process involved is available from here.
Lichfield Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC)
A statutory committee established by earlier legislation and currently formed under the provisions of the Care of Churches and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1991.
Role/Terms of Reference of the DAC:
- to act as an advisory body on matters affecting places of worship in the diocese and, in particular, to give advice when requested by any of the persons specified in paragraph 2 below on matters relating to:
a. the grant of faculties;
b. the architecture, archaeology, art and history of places of worship;
c. the use, care, planning, design and redundancy of places of worship;
d. the use and care of the contents of such places;
e. the use and care of churchyards and burial grounds;
- to review and assess the degree of risk to materials, or of loss to archaeological or historic remains or records, arising from any proposals relating to the conservation, repair or alteration of places of worship, churchyards and burial grounds and the contents of such places;
- to develop and maintain a repository of records relating to the conservation, repair and alteration of places of worship, churchyards and burial grounds and other material (including inspection reports, inventories, technical information and photographs) relating to the work of the committee
- to issue guidance for the preparation and storage of such records;
- to make recommendations as to the circumstances when the preparation of such a record should be made a condition of a faculty
- to take action to encourage the care and appreciation of places of worship, churchyards and burial grounds and the contents of such places, and for that purpose to publicise methods of conservation, repair, construction, adaptation and re-development;.
- to perform such other functions as may be assigned to the committee by any enactment, by any Canon of the Church of England or by resolution of the diocesan synod or as the committee may be requested to perform by the bishop or chancellor of the diocese
Vacancy in See Committee (VIS)
A committee established under the Vacancy in See Committees Regulation 1993 (as amended)
A Vacancy in See Committee is required to be in existence at all times in every diocese. The Committee only meets when there is a vacancy in the See. In other words, in the case of the Diocese of Lichfield, when the post of Bishop of Lichfield has become vacant. The Committee holds at least two meetings, the first of which is held as soon as practicable after the vacancy has been announced. At its second meeting the Committee discusses the needs of the Diocese. It then prepares a statement setting out those needs and sends it to the Crown Nominations Commission of the General Synod, together with such factual information about the Diocese and its organisation as the Commission may have requested. The Committee elects by ballot from among its members, persons to be members of the Crown Nominations Commission. Such election is normally taken as the final business of the second meeting of the Committee, and is conducted by the method of the single transferable vote in accordance with the Regulations of the General Synod currently in force. Not less than half of the members elected must be lay members of the Committee.
Finance and Central Services Committee (FACS )
A non-statutory sub-committee of Bishops Council. Established 2003/4.
Role/Terms of Reference of FACS:
To oversee the management of diocesan finances on behalf of the members of Bishops Council (in their role as directors of the Diocesan Board of Finance) by:
- Reviewing the draft annual Budget for presentation to the Council ensuring that it has been prepared in accordance with the policy guidelines set down by the Council and by Synod
- Monitoring on a regular basis the current years income and expenditure drawing to the attention of the Council any significant variances
- Reviewing the draft annual DBF Report and Accounts prior to their approval by the Council and Synod
- Monitoring the receipt of parish shares, to deal with issues arising from the Share process, to approve applications for arrears write-offs and, as necessary, to develop changes in the Family Purse formula and administration for approval by the Council.
- Receiving reports from the following sub-committees:
a. Housing (BBC)
b. Budget Review Group (BRG)
c. Investments (DIG)
d. Land (Glebe)
e. Diocesan Growth Fund (Growth Fund)
f. Parish Assessors (PASC)
g. Parish Projects Grants and Loans (PPGL)
h. Pay and conditions (PACS)
i. Risk Management (Risk Group)
- Preparing and keeping under constant review the five year financial forecast including the management of diocesan reserves.
- Overseeing, on behalf of the Council the investments of the diocese
- Undertaking regular reviews of major risks facing the Council and to develop appropriate risk policies
- Looking for ways of improving the communication of financial information to parishes
- Carrying out such other financial tasks in relation to diocesan finances as the Bishops Council shall direct by the Council.
Budget Review Group (BRG)
A committee which reports to FACS
Role/Terms of Reference of BRG:
- To oversee the construction of the Diocesan Budget and ensure that there is synergy between Diocesan Strategy and Finance
- Specifically address:
- recommending the increase in Parish Share
- increase in stipends and salaries
- ensuring the diocese remains financially sustainable
- setting budgets for each area of work
- To oversee the Mission Development Fund.
- To oversee the Resourcing The Future Budget and making recommendations to FACS and Council.
- To consider any applications for additional work and expenditure
Diocesan Investments Group (DIG)
The Investments Group is a working group of the Finance and Central Services Committee (FACS), from which it derives its authority.
Role/Terms of Reference of DIG:
The role of the Diocesan investment group is to look after the Investments and Assets of the Board of Finance on behalf of FACS. The need for such a group was identified by the Future Planning Working Party who met through out 2003 to give an overview of the Diocesan finances and identify weaknesses in managing assets and decision making on financial issues. In accordance with the Bishops Council review of terms of reference the objectives for DIG are as follows below:
- To set up and regulate the Diocesan Investment Policy
- To agree the asset allocation to maximise the Total Annual Return
- To manage the Pastoral and Diocesan Stipend Fund and capital asset expenditure
- To carry out investment proposal b. recommend on acquisitions and disposals of houses and developments
- To appraise investment proposals from Glebe Committee and make recommendations on Glebe Developments
- To draw up and manage a policy on the appropriate level and portfolio of reserves the Diocese should hold in order to ensure its long-term viability
- To draw up a set of simple Financial Regulations for the management of Diocesan assets which will enable the Bishops Council to monitor key financial trends and for the Boards Senior Officers to manage with confidence within clearly defined boundaries of authority
Glebe Committee (Glebe)
Under the Endowments and Glebe Measure 1976, powers to manage diocesan glebe was assigned to the Lichfield Diocesan Board of Finance. Provision was made for a Scheme to be made under the Measure to set up an appropriate committee to carry out these functions. Role/Terms of Reference of Glebe:
- To maximise Glebe Land Rental
- To keep up to date the Glebe Land Register
- To identify potential Glebe Land Development and prepare reports to the Investment Group
- To maintain the Glebe Land and maximise the overall potential
Growth Fund Committee (Growth Fund)
The Committee was established by Bishops Council to administer and distribute the Church Commissioners Mission Development Funding. It is a small grant-making body appointed by the Bishops Council with reasonable representation from each Area. The group meets about four times a year to consider applications, to make grants and to monitor initiatives. It is accountable via the Finance and Central Services Committee (FACS) to Bishops Council. It is felt that members of the Group should be experienced themselves in the areas of church growth, fresh expressions of church and evangelism, especially among younger people (under 40s).
NOTE: with the Church Commissioners discontinuing national mission development funding at the end of 2016, the role and purpose of this committee is likely to be reviewed during 2016.
Parish Assessors Sub-Committee (PASC)
PASC is a sub-committee of FACS, which itself is a committee reporting through Bishops Council to the Diocesan Board of Finance. PASC lies within the Parish Resources section of the Diocese. PASC is accountable to FACS which is its immediate reporting line.
Role/Terms of Reference of PASC:
- To ensure that money and mission are mutually supportive
- To see that the total share is levied in a fair way
- To maximise the income from Parish Share in a fair way
- To help Parishes meet the challenge of responding to their Share commitment
- To monitor the working of the Parish Share formula and provide feedback, including suggestions for change, to FACS via the STG
- To assist in promoting the Diocesan objectives/vision/strategy
Parish Projects Loans and Grants Committee (PLG)
The Parish Project Loans and Grants Committee is a working group of the Finance and Central Services Committee (FACS), with delegated authority as set by FACS.
Its role is to review all existing parish and associated loans approved by the Board of Finance. In addition the group will review, assist and identify all parishes with existing and proposed projects taking into consideration financial constraints, Mission and Ministry opportunities and other resources available. It will therefore work closely with the Area Archdeacon, Director of Mission and Director of Transforming Communities. The Committee will also consider potential use of Church Buildings in consultation with the Archdeacons and DAC especially during the period of time where a building is considered surplus to requirements and before it is made Redundant. Finally the Committee will look at possible grants that may be available to a particular project and consider small support grants to enable projects to access larger grants.
Pay and Conditions Committee (PACS)
A committee which reports to FACS
Role/Terms of Reference of PACS:
- To oversee the pay and conditions of all lay staff, ensuring consistency and fairness in both St Marys House and the satellite offices by:
(a) approving annual cost of living awards
(b) considering individual merit awards
- To consider annual stipend rates set by the national church and to decide Lichfields response.
- To oversee Stipend Payment Policies for the clergy across the Diocese
- To administer central sector ministry staff salaries and housing allowances
Risk Assessment Working Group (Risk Group)
A committee which reports to FACS
Role/Terms of Reference of Risk Group:
- To identify and manage the Diocesan Risk Register
- To make recommendations to FACS and other bodies on High Risk areas
- To recommend to FACS appropriate procedures and controls to minimise risk to the Board
Safeguarding Management Group (Safeguarding Group)
A group approved by Synod
Terms of Reference of Safeguarding Group:
- The development of policy, procedures and good practice guidelines which includes:
- keeping well informed and up to date with the development of government policy, church policy and good practice;
- developing and regularly reviewing the diocesan safeguarding children policy, ensuring that it is easily accessible and understandable to licensed and paid workers and to volunteers.
- ensuring each parish has adopted and implemented the diocesan policy and procedures;
- monitoring and checking parish policies and providing advice and guidance on these;
- briefing the national adviser on all cases which go to public court or tribunal or which draw media attention.
- Receiving regular reports from the Bishop's Safeguarding Adviser, the Diocesan Adviser for the Safeguarding of children and for the Safeguarding of vulnerable Adults
- Overseeing the development of parish training
- Having a strategy for dealing with specific crisis incidents in place
- Ensuring all appropriate statutory relationships are in place
- Overseeing arrangements for DBS
- Ensuring arrangements are in place for risk assessment and risk management
- Ensuring Archdeacons include monitoring the implementation of parish safeguarding policies, procedures and good practice in their visitations.
St Chads Retreat Centres
A company limited by guarantee. The objects and powers are detailed in the Memorandum and Articles of Association; company registered as number 8922281 on 4 March 2014.
The trusts role is to utilise the two Lichfield diocesan centres, Shallowford house and Dovedale house, in order to provide places of retreat and reflection to fulfil the diocesan aims of reaching new generations, growing disciples and discovering the heart of god as well as providing the general public the use of the centre for breaks and conferences.
Diocesan Board of Education (DBE)
Governed by Memorandum and Articles of Association incorporated 23 November 1948 as amended by special resolution dated 30 April 1992 and Certificate of Incorporation on change of name granted 13 May 1992. It is also subject to the provisions of the Diocesan Boards of Education Measure 1991.
Role/Terms of Reference of DBE:
- To consider and determine broad matters of policy and strategy arising from the Board's responsibilities stated in the Diocesan Boards of Education Measure 1991 and other charges allocated by the Diocesan Synod, including the current initiative 'Going for Growth!'
- To advise the Bishop, the Synod and the Diocese on relevant education matters.
- To approve the annual budget.
- In observation of its incorporated company status, to hold an annual general meeting to receive the annual accounts of the Board and of the Barchester Fund and to appoint auditors.
- To approve the annual report to Synod.
- To receive for ratification the minutes of the Executive Committee, Barchester Committee and Schools Committee.