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Monday, 18 October 2010

Coping with (electoral) rejection

So, that's great for all those who were elected - what about those who weren't?

There were hundreds of candidates across the country who stood in the General Synod elections who were not elected. In some places - notably London, there were up to 5 people standing for each place. That's a large attrition rate, often with painful personal implications.

So, if you stood, but did not get in, I just wanted to say thank you.

For what it's worth, I have been there before (I stood in 2000 and wasn't elected), and so I know something of what it feels like to make yourself vulnerable by offering to stand, creating the election address, and then awaiting the results of the electorate...

Do not be too downhearted!  Don't start thinking that is the only indication of people's confidence in you. It is difficult to see (even from the detailed results) the full extent of people's support for you - only three of those I voted for in my top 6 candidates were elected in our clergy election: so be assured that others have faith even in candidates who do not get elected.

I encourage you to think about continuing to support the church, and perhaps standing again in future. See what you can learn from those who did get elected this time; from their election addresses, and how they have become known across the diocese.

And if there are things that you think could be done a little differently next time elections are held in your diocese, please do suggest them - for example some dioceses had candidates election addresses, and even sometimes video of candidates online; or held real or 'virtual' hustings. (Bishop Alan in particular was asking for a more enlightened way of trying to do our elections. And that was before the results came out. Including his not getting elected this time either.)

So thanks again for your support by standing; please continue your interest and involvement in your parish, deanery and diocese. And please support those who were elected. Come and sit in on some of the General Synod's coming sessions: in London in Nov & February, and in York in July. All sessions are always open to non-synod members too.

Alastair Cutting (Chichester Diocese)


MadPriest said...

As an unemployed priest I seem to have been disenfranchised. I received no voting form. I am not laity either. Therefore these elections were undemocratic and should be declared void.

Chelliah Laity said...

Congrats on your win. I didn't get in but am glad I stood. I learnt more about the bible and theology than I have ever know because of my preparations for the hustings. I do have a suggestion. The American President is only allowed to stand for 2 terms but people are allowed to stand for years on end for General Synod. Six out of the seven candidates in my area were already on Synod. Some will now exceed having been on Synod for 20 years. This together with the apathy among people eligible to vote (less than 50% voter returns) leads to a system with very little room for change.

Chelliah Laity said...

If the newspaper reports are to be believed the majority composition of the next General Synod will be of men and women who oppose the ordination of women Bishops. I attended a Christian Aid event yesterday in London where some truly appalling tales of global poverty were discussed. How sad then that our Christian brothers and sisters will continue wrangling over gender issues under the guise of 'Theological truth' while far greater Christian issues,like the role the Church of England plays in a global world, will not receive immediate attention.

Peter Lockyer said...


I am sad for you that you did not get elected, if that is what you wanted. But glad that your obvious enthusiasm and commitment will not be crushed by attending such a superfluous body as the General Synod. It is neither an exercise in democracy or one in Christian community. Instead it is self-absorbed, self-perpetuating, and irrelevant to the concerns of most Christian people. The sooner it is abolished the better. Your time is much better spent in getting involved in global issues such as those promoted by Christian Aid. Good luck to you!

Chelliah Laity said...

Dear Peter,
Thank you very much for your kind comments.
Jane Chelliah

Alastair Cutting said...

Whilst I understand concerns about GenSyn's introspection, voiced by Peter and others, I'm one who would rather try to effect change from within the organisation where possible. (For example, by being the General Synod formal sponsor for Christian Aid's fringe events!) And my election address actually was looking to what sort of better organisation we might have as 'Son of' General Synod.

Chelliah Laity said...

Dear Alastair,
I read your election address and was heartened by the fact that people like you will sit in the next Synod. Much of what you say struck a chord with me because I too think that more positive reporting of what Synod does is needed. The church is currently seen to be obsessed with gender and sexuality. Having never sat on Synod i can't comment on the efficiency of proceedings. I have posted comments on this blog post already about the election process.
I wish you all of God's blessings for the next 5 years.
Jane Chelliah

Charles Read said...

The problem with Peter Lockyer's view is that without GS we would be governed just by the House of Bishops. At least GS lets the rest of the Church vote in some kind of representation.

And I would not believe newspaper reports of GS being more anti-women than before - there are more women clergy on than before.

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