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Church of England inaugurates new General Synod

November 22, 2010 - LONDON

Every five years the entire General Synod of the Church of England is re-elected, giving 378 people the chance to help govern the worldwide Anglican Communion. The 8th General Synod was dissolved shortly after its gathering in York in July. The new Assembly, the 9th Synod, made up of the House of Clergy and House of Laity, could be grappling with defections to the Catholic Church over reforms traditionalists regard as too liberal.Queen Elizabeth II opened the 8th General Synod in Nov 2005, and, as titular head of the Church of England, is expected to open the 9th Synod.

Every five years the entire General Synod of the Church of England is re-elected, giving 378 people the chance to help govern the worldwide Anglican Communion. The 8th General Synod was dissolved shortly after its gathering in York in July. The new Assembly, the 9th Synod, made up of the House of Clergy and House of Laity, could be grappling with defections to the Catholic Church over reforms traditionalists regard as too liberal. Queen Elizabeth II opened the 8th General Synod in Nov 2005, and, as titular head of the Church of England, is expected to open the 9th Synod. The new synod is likely to be grappling with gender and sexuality issues that have caused turmoil in the English church. The ordination of women as bishops and the ordination of openly homosexual bishops are among issues causing disaffection among traditionalists in the Church. The gathering could reveal how seriously Anglicans, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, take a threatened exodus of clergy to the Catholic Church. The Episcopal Church in the United States was recently suspended for ordaining a lesbian bishop in defiance of a ban from Canterbury. The disciplinary action by the worldwide leadership of the Anglican Communion in June came after the Episcopal diocese of Los Angeles ordained a lesbian bishop, Mary Glasspool, in defiance of Canterbury's moratorium on ordaining openly homosexual bishops. Dr. Williams warned that the ordination would deepen an already bitter dispute on sexuality in the Anglican Church. Gene Robinson became the first openly gay US bishop in November 2003. 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 continues a tradition of synodical government which, in England, has its origins in the medieval period. It is enabled to pass measures that, if approved by resolution of each House of Parliament, receive Royal Assent and thereby become part of the law of England.

8th Synod

Anglican congregation plans to convert to Catholicism (BBC 16 Oct 2010)

Anglican bishop 'will convert to Catholicism' (AFP 17 Oct 2010)

UK: Anglican bishops in secret Vatican summit (Telegraph 1 May 2010)

US Church ordains lesbian bishop Mary Glasspool (BBC 15 May 2010)

Church of England

The Anglican Communion Official Website

Date written/update: 2010-11-22