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Monday, 23 August 2010

Nothing New...

... under the sun. (Eccles 1:9)

Whilst hunting around for synod-relayed material, I came across a link to the site : newsynod.org.uk.

It appeared to have been set up in preparation for the 2000-2005 synod elections (hence nothing new under the sun, here).

Sadly, the site is no longer active - or at least I didn't think so. It now appears to link to a fancy dress outfitters. Wondering what that is trying to say...

Alastair Cutting

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Election Addresses


You're thinking of standing for General Synod? Good.

So you have made the first moves, by getting the relevant forms from your Diocesan Office, and have an appropriate proposer and seconder? Not yet? Then you have until 3 September (a little earlier in some dioceses - do check) to get the forms in - it's not too late yet!

Then there is the whole thing of the Election Address or Personal Statement, which all candidates get a chance to make on a side or two of A4. What should you put in it? And what should you leave off?!

(Image borrowed from London, Canada's 2010 election site)

This blog doesn't have definitive answers, and I hope that people will contribute suggestions and observations in comments below. However, here are some starters for 10.

Firstly, remember who your constituency are - for lay members, it is all the lay members of all the deanery synods from your diocese. For clergy, it is those who are incumbents, and those who hold a bishop's license. They are who you are writing this for.

Key things for an address - it should be:
  • personable
  • memorable (there will be a lot of others for electors to read thru!)
  • honest
What about the 'Big Issues' likely to come up in this next quinquennium Synod? The obvious ones are likely to be Women in the Episcopate, the Anglican Covenant; and perhaps gay clergy/bishops and same-sex marriage. So, should candidates declare their hand, their opinions?

In the past candidates sometimes tried to disguise their opinions, or conceal where they stood on some of the key issues likely to come up. Electors would usually just like to know what your opinions are, if they are to vote for you, so making your position clear can only help them decide.

Having said that, it is important to try to do so in a way that will not alienate too many of those who disagree with your perspective. In most dioceses, there aren't enough of any single 'constituency' of opinion to make a partisan approach alone work all the way to being elected.

What else?? Perhaps add something about what your hopes are for the next session of Synod, and maybe how that ties in with things in your home diocese too. What are your hopes for the national Church of England, and it's General Synod? How do you want to see God at work in the church? Are there any particular issues you would like to make part of your focus, things that you are in a particularly strong or unique position to be able to deliver? Make sure people understand that you are not one of those candidates to be left off their voting list by accident.

To photo or not to photo? Unless you are exceptionally well known across the whole diocese, a photo of you helps remind some of those voting who you are. It's not vital, but helps clarify they have the right person in mind! Kissing babies? Careful there, unless they are your own...

Here's hoping for everyone's electioneering to the glory of God (you hadn't forgotten God at the heart of this had you?), and your part within it. Who knows, perhaps if you don't get elected this time, it may help you in becoming more involved in supporting and working with your diocese, deanery and parish in the meantime; as well as establishing a foundation for you in future!

Lesley Fellowes has a list of top ten tips in writing synod election addresses - unfortunately I fear her post is as a result of reading people's election addresses; and it is too late for this time around. The addresses are all published and circulated. They might be useful points for hustings though...

Bishop Alan also has some observations after being at a couple of hustings.

Alastair Cutting