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Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Dramas at Synod

Arriving as a newbie at Synod can be quite frightening. So many people, procedures; standing orders, and members standing to contend with.

As part of the induction for new members, a dramatised and light-hearted example of a synod debate, with full commentary, helped members to understand synodical processes. When I first joined synod 5 years ago, I found a similar presentation very helpful, and many new members I have spoken to found this one similarly so.

Actually, it was such a useful case-study in debating procedure, that I managed to procure a copy of the script, and the permission to publish it. It may well be an aid to Diocesan Synod members too, especially the Chairs of House of Laity and Clergy.

Here are a couple of snippets:

Margery Kempe: Margery Kempe, Norwich, 1438. Mr. Chair, I am delighted to move this motion in my name. The Joint Ecumenical commission for motherhood and apple pie has spent the last two years considering both motherhood and apple pie from a variety of angles, as detailed in GS 1592…

Narrator: You will have noticed that she correctly started her speech by addressing the Chair. All speeches should be addressed to the Chair: only the person in the Chair addresses the Synod directly. After the opening speech the debate will be opened up to members... [etc.]


Narrator: Let’s hear how the first speaker gets on.

Hilda of Whitby: Hilda of Whitby, Religious Communities, 680. There are two points I want to make. First, in GS 1592 paragraph 23…

Narrator: Now this is good start – short, sharp, focused and directly to the point.

HW: … I could say more, but as the amber light has come on, I would say in conclusion that my main points are these … [etc.]

Other participants include (!):
Thomas Aquinas, Julian of Norwich, Catherine Parr, Hieronymous Bosch & Richard Hooker

Download the full sketch here, or continue reading it below the fold:

Alastair Cutting 96 Chichester


Cast in order of appearance

Registrar 1                                   
Staff member                                   
Chair 1                                   
Margery Kempe                        MK                       
Hilda of Whitby                        HW
Thomas Aquinas                        TA                       
Chair 2                                               
Julian of Norwich                        JN           
Catherine Parr                                    CP                       
Hieronymous Bosch                        HB                                   
Richard Hooker                        RH                                   
Member 1 (p.3)                       
Member 2 (pp.11-12)                       
Archbishop of Canterbury             ABC

Set in the Synod chamber.

Narrator:            I will be your guide through the wonderful world of Synod. So come with me as we examine the dos and don’ts and unravel the sacred mystery that is General Synod. The alert amongst you, sorry, a silly thing to say immediately after lunch, will have noticed how I started speaking. The first rule for the Synod orator; start with your name, diocese and Synod number. Your number will then be up, …on the electronic display so everyone can identify who is speaking

                        Let’s first get our bearings. Above us (pointing) is the Public Gallery, except for the rows of desks in the gallery to my left which is the Press Gallery, remember to smile to the camera! You may sit in the Public Gallery if you want, but this is not to be encouraged, and you certainly cannot speak or vote in a show of hands from there, for that you must be on the floor of Synod, that is the massed ranks of seats in front of me. The Archbishops, if not in the Chair, will sit here and the other Officers of the Synod, (the Prolocutors, the Chair and Vice Chair of the House of Laity and the Secretary General and Clerk to the Synod) will sit in the seats similarly placed on the opposite side of the platform. The House of Bishops usually occupies the first two circles of seats in the centre of the chamber, yes, just w
here you are sitting madam!

Staff member comes on and rings the five minute bell

Narrator:            Now that bell is to get us under starter’s orders. It’s rung with gusto five minutes before every sitting starts. So we have a few more minutes yet, so as I was saying, the seats behind the platform are reserved for staff or in the case of the tables immediately behind me, for the members and staff responsible for the business under consideration.

                        Now, papers! You should bring with you the relevant papers for the day’s debates. As you come into the chamber, you will find more to add to your collection. (Holding up each) Of most immediate use will be the dark yellow Order Paper for the sitting that is about to start. This brings together in one document all the motions and amendments that are to be debated at that sitting, very useful. There may also be pale yellow Notice Papers giving you information of various kinds, most importantly notice of amendments received relating to forthcoming debates. You may also pick up a green Financial Statement from time to time, which, if required, will give you an estimate of the likely cost of implementing something that you are about to debate.

                        I hope that sets the scene, more later, but I’d better stop now, as we are about to get underway. In a moment the platform party will come on and the sitting will start with standing, if you see what I mean. Always stand when the platform party come on, it shows them you’re awake. Jump up, here they come.

The gavel is hit on the wall. The platform party enter and sit down. ‘Marjorie Kempe’ sits in members in charge place.

Chair 1            Good afternoon Synod, I hope you had a good lunch …

Narrator:            The person speaking is in the Chair for this particular item of business. He or she will be a member of the Panel of Chairs appointed jointly by The Archbishops of Canterbury and York to take the Chair when either of them is not doing so. All Chairs are members of Synod and they oversee the conduct of the debate and call speakers from those who are standing to indicate their wish to contribute. They have a very difficult and important job to do. Let’s hear what she has to say …

Chair 1            Our first item of business is the Report of the Joint Ecumenical Commission on Motherhood and Apple Pie. This is a ‘take note’ debate and for it you will need GS1592. In a moment, I will be calling on a representative of the Commission to speak for up to ten minutes and to move the motion standing in her name, after which there will be a general debate for which the speech limit will be five minutes from the outset…

Narrator:            Let’s just break in here. What she has just said illustrates an important point: always listen to what the Chair has to say at the start of a debate, as he or she will then explain how the debate is to be structured, something that will be of great value to you in following the debate. This is a relatively straightforward debate, but as we may see later, in a potentially more complicated debate with many amendments to a main motion, it is especially important to grasp the Chair’s plan of campaign early on. What the Chair has just said also contains two other valuable general points: first, the Chair will highlight the relevant papers you will need and, secondly, will often give you advanced notice of any speech limits that he or she intends to impose. The default speech limits are ten minutes for the opening speech by the mover of a motion and five minutes for all other speeches. However, the Chair has a discretion to vary the speech limit and may choose, for instance, to reduce it during a popular debate to allow as many members as possible to contribute. The Chair has also explained what kind of debate it is – in this case a ‘take note’ which translates into “the Synod has looked at this report but has not been asked to take a decision on it, either for or against”. But back live with the Chair…

Chair 1            I call on Marjorie Kempe to move the motion on behalf of the Commission, she has up to ten minutes.

Member 1:            Point of Order…

The Chair consults with administrator and registrar

Narrator:            Now, a member has raised a point of order,: he is questioning whether something is within the Standing Orders, the rules that govern how the Synod operates. While they are sorting that out, it gives me the chance to introduce to you the other two members of the platform party. The person sitting to your right of the Chair in the wig and gown is the Registrar of the Synod or as is the case for this debate, one of his equally glamorous assistants. As lawyers, they will advise the Chair on procedural questions, as at the moment, and also they will give you instructions when a division is called. The registrar will also monitor the progress of your speech against any speech limit that has been imposed. The lights that you see at the front of the platform and those at each microphone are green for go until they are turned to orange when you have one minute left and red when time is up. The handsome beast sitting to your left of the Chair will be the Secretary General or another equally radiant member of staff. They will be whispering sweet nothings into the ear of the Chair to assist him or her in a number of practical ways and specifically by identifying members who may have indicated they wish to speak. Ah, I think the great minds have reached a conclusion …

Chair 1            Thank you, I’m advised that what you
r request is not a valid point of order, so we continue; Margery Kempe.

MK            Margery Kempe, Norwich, 1438. Mr. Chair, I am delighted to move this motion in my name. The Joint Ecumenical commission for motherhood and apple pie has spent the last two years considering both motherhood and apple pie from a variety of angles, as detailed in GS1592…

Narrator:            You will have noticed that she correctly started her speech by addressing the Chair. All speeches should be addressed to the Chair
:  only the person in the Chair addresses the Synod directly. After the opening speech the debate will be opened up to members, so I should say something now about what to do if you want to speak. First of all, you should complete a “Request to Speak” form as far in advance as possible before the debate. These are available at the Information Desk, where they should also be handed in when completed. As far as is possible, the Chair of a debate will seek to have a balanced debate, that is to say he or she will attempt to call an equal number of speakers for and against, and (subject to that) to ensure that there is a broad balance of speakers who are male and female, from each of the Houses etc. It’s obviously not an exact science but in order to do this as effectively as possible it is helpful for the Chair to know who wants to speak beforehand and to have an idea of what they want to say. Ah, it looks like she is just about to finish, so we’ll soon see what to do next.

MK            ...and I look forward to the debate.

Chair 1            Thank you very much. The motion is now before Synod, do I see anyone standing?

(Members jump up and stand, wishing to speak)

Narrator:            What a sight! But, they are acting correctly. You cannot speak unless called upon to do so by the Chair and for this to happen you must, I repeat must, stand to be called. If you have submitted a Request to Speak this does not guarantee that you will be called, but it will increase your chances. And even when you have submitted a request slip you must still stand. The Chair will not be impressed or swayed by gestures, smiles or winks. Just stand and wait for the call! If one of the Presidents stands, he will be called to speak, and
if one of the other Officer
s stands, he or she will be called to speak unless that is impossible in the time available. But the normal form is for the Chair, when faced with all those faces to say …

Chair 1            I call Hilda of Whitby. Please remember that a five minutes speech limit is in force.

Narrator:            Let’s hear how the first speaker gets on.

HW:            Hilda of Whitby, Religious Communities, 680. There are two points I want to make. First, in GS1592 paragraph 23…

Narrator:            Now this is good start – short, sharp, focused and directly to the point.

HW:            … I could say more, but as the amber light has come on, I would say in conclusion that my main points are these …

Narrator:            This again is good, the end of the speech is timed, measured, unrushed and effectively delivered. The amber light tells you that you have a minute to wind up. When the red light comes on , the time for concluding is past. You must stop speaking and resume your seat straightaway.

Chair 1            Is Thomas Cranmer standing?

Narrator:            That’s interesting! Remember that the Chair will not be able to identify all the members that he or she wants to call, so don’t take offence if the Chair doesn’t know what you look like!

Chair 1            I can’t see him, in that case I call Thomas Aquinas.

TA:            Mr Chairman, I would like to be able to say ….

All            Name?

Narrator:            Now that is not a good start, he has wasted time and lost momentum by simply not giving his name, let’s see if it gets better …

TA:            … oh… Thomas Aquinas…Diocese of Europe…… what is it now (finally gets number from pass 1274)…; Mr Chairman, what I wanted to say has been said by the previous speaker but I am very grateful to you Mr Chairman for the opportunity to speak on this matter which I have wanted to speak about in several debates but have not been called, although I am no expert by any means (microphone obscured – crackles)

Narrator:            Sorry to say this, but this is developing into an example of what not to do: don’t waste your valuable time in a long preamble, get to the point quickly and if a previous speaker has raised a point that you wanted to make, try to use your time productively by saying something new. If you haven’t got anything to say that hasn’t been said before, don’t stand! What’s worse, don’t obscure the microphone as this will reduce your oratory to a blast of crackles!

Chair 1            I see no one else standing, so I will ask a representative of the Commission to respond to the debate. She has up to five minutes.

Narrator:            This is what happens at the end of a debate on the motion
: the mover will be asked to respond to the debate before a vote is taken. While she is doing that, I should mention what to do if you are not speaking. First of all, don’t feel that you have somehow wasted your time if you have not spoken. It’s just as important to listen carefully to the debate so that you can make an informed decision at the end and also, not to be overlooked, so that you are in a position to make a full and accurate report once you return to the diocese.

MK:            … this has been an interesting debate and I would urge Synod to support the motion that this Synod do take note of this report.

Chair 1            The motion is now before Synod, those in favour please show.

Members hands go up

Narrator:            This is a vote by a show of hands, the commonest way for the Synod to decide on any issue. If a show of hands is too close to decide or the Chair decides that the numbers voting by a show of hands should be recorded, then he or she can order a division. When this happens, you will need to get out your voting card, slot it into your voting handset and follow the instructions the Registrar gives you. But in this case …

Chair 1            … and those against, that is clearly carried, and that concludes this item of business.

a new platform party come on (with a new Chair).

Narrator:            There will now be a platform alteration, as they say at Clapham Junction, before the next item. This is the normal practice. It gives me some time to mention a few more items of good manners and etiquette: if you leave the chamber during a sitting to spend a penny or get a coffee, please do not leave or come back to your seat whilst someone is speaking, rather wait for the interval between speakers. Also please do not speak to your next door neighbour in a loud voice whilst someone else is addressing the Synod and remember that the use of mobile phones or any form of camera while the Synod is in session is a strict no no! Ah, they are now sitting comfortably and are ready to resume business.

Chair 2:            Good afternoon Synod. We now come to item [3] - a Private members motion from Julian of Norwich. For this you’ll need the background paper GS1773A, the background note from the Secretary General, GS 1773B, and this afternoon’s order paper.

Narrator:            We now have an example of a debate where there are a large number of members who wish to speak and where there are a number of amendments to the main motion to be taken. The Order Paper is essential reading in these cases as it lists amendments in the order they will be taken and explains how each will impact on the main motion (for example, an amendment might say “After paragraph (b) insert something” or “in paragraph (d) after the word “it” insert the words didum, didum”). The Order Paper will also explain in what circumstances each amendment will be taken (for example, two amendments could be alternatives, one to be taken “if item 18 is carried” and another be taken “if item 18 is not carried”) and so on. Each amendment is given a separate number on the order paper, so you can tell by looking at the electronic display which exact item of business is currently being considered.Oh, now, we mustn’t miss this bit, let’s hear how this Chair is planning to handle this debate …

Chair 2            I propose that we first have a general debate on the main motion
, after which I shall call the movers of all the amendments to speak to
, and move, their amendments in turn. As I have a large number of Requests to Speak for this debate, after the mover of the motion has spoken for ten minutes I shall be imposing a three minute speech limit from the outset. About half way through our allotted time, I shall ask for each of the amendments to be moved and for each to be voted on; we shall then resume the debate on the substantive motion as amended or not as the case may be. I hope that is clear …

Narrator            …so now we know the master plan. I suspect that the Chair will be relying on the use of the motion for the closure (or just ‘the closure’, as we usually shorthand it) at various stages during the afternoon to bring the debate safely home in time. The closure requires the permission of the Chair and the ‘general consent’ of the Synod and is used sensitively to achieve a managed debate. The effect of the closure is to remove the right of those members who have not spoken on the motion or amendment to do so. Where it is carried on a debate - whether on the main motion or on an amendment
- it therefore brings the debate on that item effectively to an end.

Chair 2:            So without more ado I call on Julian of Norwich to move the motion standing in her name, ‘That this Synod call on all parishes to ensure that only the best quality filter coffee is served after church services

JN:            Julian, Norwich, 450. Mr Chairman, I bring this motion before Synod this morning on behalf of all the fine burghers of Norwich, who are infuriated by being served inferior coffee after church. I am delighted that well over 100 people in this Synod felt similarly strongly that this is a crucial issue facing today’s church…

Narrator:            Hmm! Yes, well. Any member of Synod can propose a Private Member’s Motion, and they are available in the Hoare Memorial Hall for you to read. You sign on the sheet if you’d like to support one or more of them being debated, and they are only put on the agenda, at a subsequent group of sessions, if they attract 100 or more signatures. If more than one gets past the 100 signature threshold, they are debated in order of popularity. Goodness knows why so many of you signed this one. My church has super coffee already.

 JN            … I’m sure you, like me, feel very strongly indeed that only the best is good enough for God, and that therefore only the best coffee is good enough for God’s people. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a mission imperative. We all know people who’ve gone to church once, only to come back and say the coffee was instant, the biscuits were non-existent, and the squash so watered down as to be homeopathic. There are many more arguments that I could make, and I’m sure we will have an excellent debate this afternoon. I beg to move the motion standing in my name.

Chair 2:            Thank you. This matter is now open for debate.

(people stand to speak)…. Catherine Parr, followed by Hieronymous Bosch.

Narrator:            The chair will often call two people at a time like this. The first named speaks first, while the second takes the time to get to the microphone and then awaits their turn.

CP:            Catherine Parr, London, 1548. MrChair, I am sure that most people here will agree with the spirit of this motion, but I feel that I must stand to make the point that the coffee should certainly be fair trade. I’m surprised and a little disappointed that Julian didn’t address this point herself. Having been involved with fair trade for many years now, I am aware of the huge difference it can make to people’s lives, and of course the coffee is always good quality.

(she sits and people clap and stand)

Narrator:            Two things there that are worth drawing your attention to. First, speak from your own experience. Synod always appreciates hearing from people with experience of the subject under consideration. Secondly, don’t just read out a prepared speech, but try if you can to respond to what the speakers immediately before you have just said. This makes a debate much more interesting to listen to, and works much better in getting your point across.

Chair 2:            Thank you. Hieronymous Bosch, after which I shall call on Richard Hooker to speak to and move his amendment.

HB            Hieronymous Bosch, Oxford, 666. Mr Chair, I am appalled by this motion and by what it says about this synod that we are even bothering to debate such trivialities when people are dying all over the world. This is the sort of thing that brings the Church of England into disrepute! The bible doesn’t even mention coffee! And another thing, what if I prefer tea! I don’t know, this is a silly piece of snobbery. I can’t even remember what I was going to say I’m so cross! I don’t know. Next Julian will be suggesting we open Starbucks franchises in our historic churches. Which is ridiculous when we have such a wonderful stock of medieval churches, some of the finest architecture in the world. Where was I? (shuffles notes)

Narrator:            (coughs) Ahem. Another example of what not to do, I’m afraid. Speak from your own experience, and make sure you know what you want to say. Don’t get cross! And keep your speech on the matter in hand, don’t use the fact that you are on your feet to have another go at your particular hobby horse.

Chair 2:            I’m going to have to stop you there Mr. Bosch, you are out of time.

HB:            Pah! Ridiculous! (sits down)

Narrator:            And don’t ignore the traffic light system! The amber light is on for a minute before the red light shows so he should have known he was coming to the end of his time.

Chair 2:            Richard Hooker, to speak to and move his amendment.

RH:            Hooker, London, 1600. My amendment is very simple. Whilst I support most of what Julian said, I think her analysis is a little too black and white, if you’ll pardon the pun! Ahem. As the last speaker pointed out, many people prefer tea to coffee. There are also those churches where there are significant numbers of children to think about, where the provision of squash and biscuits is of equal importance. So my amendment seeks to build on the motion before us, simply adding the words ‘recognising that the provision of tea, squash and/or biscuits is a matter for local variation and custom’. I trust this will be seen in the friendly spirit in which it is intended.

Narrator:            We are now debating the amendment, not the main motion, and you’ll see that the number on the electronic display has changed from 210, the main motion, to 211, the number on the order paper for this first amendment.Any debate now should be on this particular amendment, not the main motion, until a vote has been taken and we're back to the debate on the main motion.

Chair 2:            I call on Julian of Norwich to respond.

JN:            I am grateful to Mr. Hooker for this amendment, and I am happy to accept it.

Member 1:            Point of order Mr Chairman. Would you accept a motion for closure on item 211?

Narrator:            Ah, I told you we’d be seeing some of these! You will soon start to spot the members who assist the Chair by moving motions for closure and how the Chair’s mind might be working when he or she drops subtle hints like …

Chair 2            Thank you, I would like to hear just one more speaker, after which I would be grateful for a motion for closure

Narrator:            So after that speech is finished, the closure is likely to be put again and with the consent of the Chair and the Synod, it will bring to an end the debate on that particular amendment. The Synod will then move on to the next amendment and so on. See how it works? A few more amendments have to be taken but that’s probably as exciting as this debate is going to get and we are coming up shortly to some timed business, that is what we call items on the Agenda that are preceded by words like “not later than 3.15 p.m.”. This guarantees a minimum period of time for a debate. Well, I have been going on for so long without a closure that the Synod has reached the end of the debate …

Chair 2            We now come to vote on the main motion as amended …

Narrator:            The main, or substantive motion, was “That this Synod urges all parishes to serve only the best quality filter coffee after church” and only one amendment was carried to insert the words “‘recognising that the provision of tea, squash and/or biscuits is a matter for local variation and custom’” at the end of the motion. So having voted separately on all the amendments, the Synod is now voting on the final motion as amended…

Chair 2            …which reads “That this Synod urges all parishes to serve only the best quality filter coffee after church, recognising that the provision of tea, squash and/or biscuits is a matter for local variation and custom’ But what’s this…

HB:            Point of Order. Bosch, Oxford, 666. Please could we have a division by Houses.

(The platform party consult)

Narrator:            This is a method of voting that we have not encountered as yet. A division is when you, the members, vote using the electronic voting system rather than by a show of hands. A division of the whole synod is one in which the votes are formally counted across the Synod as a whole, and the motion is carried if more than one half of the votes overall are cast in favour, whereas in a division by houses they are counted separately in the three houses (bishops, clergy and laity) and the motion is only carried if more than half of the votes in each of the three houses are cast in favour. Sometimes a division will be announced by the Chair without a prior request from a member and at other times it may come as a result of such a request, as we seem to have here, and in such cases as the Chair is about to say …

Chair 2            … Under Standing Orders I have to order a division by Houses if 25 members stand to request one, so are there 25 members standing?

(25 members stand up)

Chair 2            There are twenty five members standing, so we will have a division by Houses, I will ask the registrar to give us our instructions.

Registrar            I am now about to ring the division bell to warn members that a division is to take place. Two minutes after it ceases the division will begin.

Division bell rings

Narrator:            If you hear this noise, wherever you are, what ever you are doing, drop it and go immediately to the chamber. It’s like running for the Tube.

Narrator:            Remember that to be able to vote in an electronic division you will need an electronic voting handset and your voting card.  The Chair is now reading out the words of the motion after which he then says…

Chair 2:            This is a division by houses.   “This is a division by Houses.  Those in favour should press ‘1’; those against should press ‘2’; those who wish to record an abstention should press ‘3’.”

Registrar:            The voting period is now open and will end in one minute.

Narrator:            Before I vote, I can tell you that once the registrar has received the votes, the Chair will announce the voting figures. In a division by Houses a motion is only carried if carried in all three Houses. If the electronic voting system were ever to break down for some reason- it happened last February- we’d go back to the old fashioned way of doing things, and vote by going through the various doors you see around the Chamber, with bodies going through being counted at each door.  So let’s assume that the voting has taken place and the result has been announced.

Chair 2            That concludes this item of business, thank you Synod.

Narrator:            When one thing finishes we don’t always have a complete change of platform party, sometimes we just move straight on to the next item. Remember the number in the agenda for each item of business will be displayed, so you can easily check what we’re doing at any particular time by looking at the electronic display.

Chair 2:            We now come to the last item of business for today, Questions. For this you will need the Questions Notice Paper. Questions one to twenty are to the Chairman of the House of Bishops, question one from []…

Narrator:            There’s always a Question time period at each session, normally on the first day. The Agendawillgive you a deadline for the submission of questions before the group of sessions begins and each member can ask up to two questions. These will be printed in the Questions Notice Paper and answered at Question Time. The purpose of Question Time is to obtain information and to monitor progress. An original question and any supplementary must not contain any argument or
imputation’ (that is, any criticism of anyone)  or ask for any expression of opinion or for the solution of any hypothetical problem. Fair enough! The other important point to remember is that your question must be directed at the work of a Synodical body. For example you cannot ask the Archbishop of Canterbury what is his favourite colour, but you can ask him as Chairman of the House of Bishops, “Has the House considered issuing guidelines to bishops on how to choose their favourite colour?”

Chair            Questions one to twenty are to the Chairman of the House of Bishops, question one from []…

ABC :             The House has considered this report on numerous occasions.

Narrator:             The questions aren’t read out, so we only get to hear the answer and you’ll need to be following the questions printed on the order paper to work out what is being referred to. Some questions will be skipped altogether in the session, because they have asked for a written answer. A written answer is much more helpful when information such as statistics are being asked for, and the written answers are displayed in the Hoare Memorial Hall after Question Time has finished, for you to peruse at your leisure.

Member 2            Supplementary.

Chair            Supplementary.

Narrator:            Any member can ask a supplementary question, but priority is given to the original questioner, and no more than two supplementaries to any question will be taken unless the Chair decides otherwise.

Member 2            Anne Boleyn, London, 27:  Has the House considered the related report that has just been published?

ABC:            It has not.

Narrator:            Well, they are moving towards the end of question time, so back to the Chair, wait a minute, what’s this, I suspect that the Chair may, yes, I thought so, …

Chair 2            … we are making good progress but I would like to suggest an extension of the sitting so we can take the remaining questions on the Notice Paper. Under Standing Order 14(e) I may, with the general consent of the Synod, extend this sitting by not more than fifteen minutes …

Narrator:            We have another procedural device here, which can be used at the end of a sitting to ensure that business is given enough time to be properly completed.

Chair 2            … I proposed an extension of the sitting of ten minutes. Does that have the consent of Synod?

Members            Aye.

Narrator:            A few more answers given and we are now moving towards the end of the sitting and, right on cue, here it comes…

Chair 2            That concludes today’s business and I call upon the Archbishop to dismiss us… .

Narrator:            So that’s it! Fun isn’t it? You may find the workings of the General Synod rather formal at first, but don’t be put off by the formalities, they are only there to enable thorough and ordered debate. I would urge you
to attend as many of the debates as you can, get to know as many of your fellow members as you can and read, listen, speak and vote carefully and prayerfully. And remember the mentors at this group of sessions who are here to help you. I’m sure that you will all play your part, now I’m off to the tearoom!


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