Function and Purpose

Function and Purpose of the Deanery Synod

Function and Purpose of Deanery Synods

Section 5 of the Synodical Government Measure 1969 provides:

    1. Deanery Synods shall be constituted for all deaneries in accordance with Part III of the Church Representation Rules contained in Schedule 3 to this Measure and the transitional provisions contained in Schedule 4.
    2. Deanery Synods shall, as soon as they are constituted, take the place of ruri-decanal conferences where they exist, and those conferences shall be dissolved, and any references in any measure to ruri-decanal conferences shall be construed as references to deanery synods.
    3. The functions of a deanery synod shall be:
      1. to consider matters concerning the Church of England and to make provision for such matters in relation to their deanery and to consider and express their opinion on any other matters of religious or public interest;
      2. to bring together the views of the parishes of the deanery on common problems, to discuss and formulate common policies on those problems, to foster a sense of community and interdependence among those parishes, and generally to promote in the deanery the whole mission of the Church: pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical;
      3. to make known, and so far as appropriate put into effect, any provision made by the diocesan synod;
      4. to consider the business of the diocesan synod, and particularly any matter referred to that synod by the General Synod, and to sound parochial opinion whenever they are required or consider it appropriate to do so;
      5. to raise such matters as the deanery synod consider appropriate with the diocesan synod:
      • Provided that the functions referred to in paragraph (a) hereof shall not include the issue of any statement purporting to declare the doctrine of the Church on any question.
    4. If the diocesan synod delegate to deanery synods functions in relation to the parishes of their deaneries, and in particular the determination of parochial shares in quotas allocated to the deaneries, the deanery synod shall exercise those functions.

In this subsection ?quota? means an amount to be subscribed to the expenditure authorized by diocesan synods.

  1. The General Synod may by Canon or Regulation extend, amend or further define the functions of deanery synods.



  1. Roll of Members. The secretary shall keep a roll of the members of the synod constantly up to date, including the name, address and parish of any person notified to him/her by the secretary of the diocesan synod and qualified as an ex officio member.
  2. Variation of membership by resolution of diocesan synod. A resolution of the diocesan synod under Rule 19 (2) (d) or (3).(c) of the Church Representation Rules shall, unless otherwise provided, take effect at the conclusion of the term of office of the members appointed under any previous resolution in force.
  3. Procedure for co-options. The co-option of additional members shall be by resolution of the respective house passed on a motion moved either on behalf or by. permission of the standing committee of the deanery synod.
  4. Participation by non-members. The following shall have the right to attend and speak but not to move any motion or amendment or to vote in the synod:?
    1. the bishop or a duly appointed commissary;
    2. the archdeacon;
    3. the registrar of the diocese;
    4. the diocesan secretary;
    5. visitors invited by either of the joint chairmen or the standing committee;
    6. persons appointed by the standing committee of the diocesan synod under the next succeeding rule.
  5. Members of General Synod appointed to attend meetings. If there is no member of the deanery synod who is a member of the General Synod, the standing committee of the diocesan synod shall, if it thinks fit, appoint for the purposes of this rule one or more members of the General Synod who represent the diocese. Such persons shall be entitled to receive copies of notices and other documents circulated to full members of the deanery synod, and to attend, and speak at, its meetings but not to move any motion or amendment or to vote.


  1. Co-opted members. Unless the house concerned fixes a shorter period of office, co-opted members shall retire on the 31st day of May in the year of the triennial elections.


  1. General. There shall be joint chairmen of the deanery synod, being the rural dean and a member of the house of laity elected triennially by that house, provided that, during the absence or incapacity of one, the functions exercisable jointly may be performed by the other alone. The lay chairman, unless he resigns or ceases to be qualified, shall continue in office until the commencement of the meeting at which his successor is elected.
  2. Election of lay joint chairmen. Before the first meeting of the synod after any triennial election, or in the event of a vacancy in the office, the House of Laity shall hold a special meeting to elect the lay joint chairman. A member of the house appointed by the rural dean shall act as chairman for such meeting. Whoever so presides shall have a vote but no casting vote in the election, and in the case of an equality of votes the decision shall be taken by lot.


  1. Meetings of synod. At a meeting of the deanery synod the rural dean shall preside if he so desires and, if he is absent or being present so elects, the other joint chairman shall preside. If both are absent, the meeting shall elect a chairman.
  2. Separate meetings of the Houses. The joint chairmen shall preside over any separate meetings of their respective Houses, but if either is absent a member of the House chosen by the members present shall take the chair.


  1. Membership. There shall be a standing committee of the synod, consisting of the joint chairman, the secretary and assistant secretary (if members of the synod), treasurer, and not less than six persons elected by the members of each House in equal numbers from among their members. This committee shall have no power to co-opt additional members. The secretary of the deanery synod shall be secretary of the standing committee.
  2. Elected members. Elected members shall retire on the election of their successors or on ceasing to be qualified. Elections shall be triennial and immediately after elections to the synod. Voting shall be by houses and procedure otherwise the same, with essential modifications, as for elections at an annual parochial church meeting but so that the outgoing standing committee shall make no nominations.
  3. Functions of committee. The functions of the standing committee shall be to initiate and advise on. proposals; to ensure that members are adequately informed on questions raised, and other matters of importance to the deanery, to prepare the agenda, to transact the business of the synod between meetings, and to make such appointments and do such other things as the synod may delegate to it.


  1. Constitution. The synod may constitute additional committees with such chairmen, membership, term of office, functions, mode of appointment and other procedure as it thinks fit.


  1. By whom determined. Subject to these rules and any resolution of the synod, the chairmanship and other procedure of a committee, including the standing committee, shall be determined by itself.


  1. Meetings required annually. The synod shall hold two meetings at least , in every year at such times and places as the joint chairmen shall decide after consulting with the standing committee and taking account of the dates fixed for meetings of the diocesan synod.
  2. Other meetings. The joint chairmen may summon a meeting of the synod at any time. If they refuse, or neglect to do so within 28 days after a requisition for that purpose signed by not less than 20 members of the synod, such members may forthwith summon a meeting.
  3. Notice of ordinary meetings. The date, time and place of ordinary meetings of the synod, when fixed, shall be announced to members as soon as possible in such manner as the joint chairmen may approve, provided that not less than six weeks before each meeting a notice signed by the secretary, specifying any business proposed to be transacted thereat ,and inviting other business, shall be posted or delivered to every member.
  4. Special meetings. In the case of sudden emergency or other special circumstances, the joint chairmen may summon a special meeting at not less than one week’s notice, but the quorum required for business at such meeting shall be a majority of the members of each house and only business specified on the agenda may be transacted.
  5. Separate Houses. The Houses meet separately as follows.
    1. Either house shall sit and vote separately if the deanery synod so resolves, the house itself so decides, or these rules or the rules of the house so provide.
    2. The procedure of each house shall be governed mutatis mutandis by the Rules of the Deanery Synod, subject to such further Rules not inconsistent therewith as each house may from time to time decide.


  1. Content. Subject to these rules and any resolution of the synod, and without prejudice to the rights of individual members to a reasonable opportunity within the time available of bringing matters before the synod, the standing committee shall settle the agenda for each of its meetings, specifying therein all business:?
    1. of which due notice has been received and which is in order;
    2. of an earlier meeting not disposed of or withdrawn;
    3. of the diocesan synod which is of concern to the deanery synod, and particularly any matters referred to the diocesan synod by the General Synod;
  • and shall determine the order in which the business on the agenda shall be considered.
  1. Circulation. The secretary shall post or deliver an agenda paper to every member two weeks at least before a meeting; or in the case of a meeting called at less than two weeks’ notice at the same time as the notice.
  2. Report on proceedings. Every agenda shall include the approval, as a correct record, not only of the minutes of the last meeting but also, unless it consists of those minutes, of a report by the standing committee of the proceedings of that meeting for circulation to parochial church councils.
  3. Addresses, papers and discussions. Either of the joint chairmen, or, with the consent of the standing committee, any other member, may give notice for the agenda of a subject for an address, paper or general discussion without the moving of a formal motion. An address or paper may be given by the member signing the notice or by a visiting speaker, and then be followed by a general discussion, if the standing committee so decide.
  4. Business permitted to be considered. Nothing shall be considered at a meeting of the synod except business on or arising from the agenda; provided that at the request or by consent of both joint chairmen urgent matters may be considered but not decided by the synod.
  5. Varying the order of business. The order of business may be varied by the chairman at his discretion, or by a resolution of the synod to be seconded but put without debate.


  1. General. Notice of any business for a meeting of the synod shall be in writing, signed and delivered to the secretary not later than the period before the meeting which is required by these rules.
  2. Length of notice. Subject to rule 20, the following periods of notice are required:?
    • New business for the agenda: 4 weeks
    • Motions and amendments arising from the agenda: 7 days
  3. Dispensing powers. Notice of a motion arising from the agenda or of an amendment may be dispensed with by permission of the chairman or by resolution of the synod, but a copy shall, if the chairman so requests, be signed and delivered to the secretary.
  4. Procedural motions. A procedural motion mentioned in these rules may be moved without notice, unless-express provision is made to the contrary.


  1. Procedure. Subject to these rules, the procedure at any meeting of the synod or either house shall be regulated by the person who presides.


  1. Circulation. The secretary shall prepare minutes of every meeting which shall be circulated to members and shall record the names of those attending.


  1. One-third of each house. Except as provided in rule 20, a quorum shall be one-third of the members of each house of the synod. Unless at least a quorum is present no business shall be considered at a meeting except a motion to adjourn a debate or the meeting.
  2. If quorum not present. The chairman shall, if requested by any member, take a count of the members present and shall adjourn the meeting if a quorum is wanting. No decision of the synod shall be invalidated by the absence of a quorum unless the chairman’s attention is called thereto immediately upon the vote being taken.


  1. Seconding. Every motion and amendment shall require a seconder, but a seconder may reserve his speech until later.
  2. Moving instead of another member. If the member who gave notice of a motion or amendment, on his name being called, chooses not to move it another member may do so in his stead.
  3. Opportunity for questions. Immediately after a motion has been moved and seconded, the chairman may give members an opportunity to ask questions of the mover or speaker, solely for the purpose of elucidating facts.
  4. One motion at a time. During the debate on a motion or amendment no other motion shall be moved except a procedural motion under rule 49, and no other amendment may be moved on the same motion before the prior amendment is decided; provided that the chairman may permit two or more motions or amendments to be discussed – but not voted on – if circumstances suggest to him that this course would facilitate the proper conduct of the synod’s business.
  5. Reconsideration and rescission. No motion or amendment to the same effect as, or dependent on, one which has been rejected within the preceding twelve months, and no motion to rescind a resolution passed within the same period, shall be proposed without the agreement of the standing committee or the consent of the synod.
  6. Speaking more than once. Subject to rule 42, no member shall speak more than once on a motion or amendment under debate except that:
    1. the mover of a motion shall have a right of reply to the debate on his motion;
    2. a speech on an amendment shall not be deemed a speech on the main motion;
    3. a point of order or a personal explanation may be made at any time whether or not another member is interrupted.
  7. General discussion. The chairman may at any time suspend the last preceding rule for so long as he thinks the purposes of the synod would be more usefully served by a general discussion and he may direct that such discussion shall be held in informal groups. A general discussion under this rule shall be conducted in accordance with procedure to be determined by the chairman under rule 68, but no motion or amendment shall be moved or put to the vote during such discussion, and the number of speeches made by any member while it continues shall be disregarded for the purpose of rule 41 when that rule is declared by the chairman to be again in force.
  8. Speaking. Every speech shall be addressed to the chair and be succinct and relevant to the matter under debate.
  9. Length of speeches. The chairman may at any time impose a limit of not less than five minutes on the length of speeches and may vary or revoke such limit; provided that he shall inform members of each ruling which shall not be open to question.
  10. Withdrawal. A motion or amendment which has been moved may be withdrawn by the mover with the consent of the synod.


  1. Content. An amendment shall be relevant to and shall not have the effect of negating the motion.
  2. No amendment. No amendment shall be moved to:
    1. a motion to receive the report of a committee;
    2. a motion, under rule 63 (a), on a question referred by the diocesan synod;
    3. another amendment..
  3. Order of consideration. Unless the chairman rules otherwise, amendments shall be moved in the order in which they affect the motion.


  1. Content. With the consent of the chairman the following procedural motions may be moved with or without notice, but so as not to interrupt the speech of any member:?
    1. that the synod be now adjourned;
    2. that the debate be now adjourned;
    3. that the synod do now pass to the next business;
    4. that the debate be closed;
    5. that the matter under discussion be referred back.
  2. Seconding. The seconding of procedural motions shall be formal and without speech.
  3. Motions under rule 49 (iii) – (v). In the case of the motions mentioned in rule 49 (iii) – (v):?
    1. such motion shall not be moved on any question referred by the General Synod;
    2. the debate shall be limited to a brief speech by the proposer of not more than two minutes and, unless the chairman permits further speeches, a brief reply by the mover of the original motion or, failing him, one other member.
  4. Amendments and other procedural motions. The adjournment or closure may be moved on an amendment or another procedural motion but a motion to pass to the next business or to refer back shall not be so moved.
  5. Effect of procedural resolutions. In the event of any procedural motion being passed, the debate to which it relates shall be closed or stand adjourned, as the case may be, except that in the case of a motion that the debate on a motion be closed the mover thereof shall have a right to reply before the matter is put to the vote.
  6. Adjourning amendments. The adjournment of an amendment shall be deemed to adjourn the debate on the original motion.
  7. Resumption of business interrupted. Unless otherwise resolved, business interrupted by an adjournment of the synod shall be resumed at the next meeting, and on an adjournment of debate, if and when the standing committee so decides.
  8. Reference back. If a motion to remit specifies no one to whom the matter is to be referred, this question shall be decided by the standing committee.


  1. Votes by Houses. Voting shall be by Houses in the following cases:?
    1. if the chairman so rules;
    2. if not fewer than five members so request;
    3. on any matter referred by the diocesan synod.
  2. Decisions of Houses. On a vote by Houses, decisions of the synod shall be taken by a majority of the members of each House present and voting.
  3. Mode of voting. Unless otherwise provided in these rules, voting shall be by show of hands without a count, except ?
    1. that the chairman shall order a count on a vote by Houses or if a member so requests either before or immediately after the result is announced;
    2. that the chairman may at his discretion order a count on any other vote.
  4. Recording votes. The voting on a vote by Houses shall be recorded in the minutes.


  1. When considered. References by the diocesan synod shall be included in the agenda of such meeting as the standing committee shall consider appropriate.
  2. Prior notice and documents required. Unless the standing committee otherwise decides:?
    1. at least 28 days’ notice of any matter referred shall be given to every member;
    2. a report or other document prepared by or on behalf of the General Synod, diocesan synod or standing committee shall be circulated.
    3. Procedure of debate
      1. When the reference by the diocesan synod is in the form of a question requiring the answer Yes or No, the question shall be put to the deanery synod as a formal motion in the affirmative sense. No amendment shall be in order and the vote shall be taken by separate Houses under rule 57. If the motion is defeated, the question shall be decided in the negative.
      2. When the reference invites a fuller statement of opinion a motion containing a draft of such statement shall be moved on behalf of the standing committee and amendments to such a motion shall be in order.
      3. When all motions under the foregoing paragraphs (a) and (b) have been decided, other motions arising therefrom may, if other rise in order, be moved by any member.
    4. Report on result. The decisions (together with the number of votes in each House) on every matter referred and on every additional motion shall be reported by the secretary of the deanery synod to the secretary of the diocesan synod.
    5. Consultations within the deanery. Subject to any timetable laid down by the diocesan synod, the deanery synod before voting on a reference may refer any question to the parochial church councils in the deanery.


  1. Report of proceedings. Within six weeks after a meeting of the deanery synod the secretary shall prepare and circulate to the secretaries of the parochial church councils in the deanery a report approved by the standing committee of the proceedings of that meeting. Such report may be in the form of the minutes.


  1. Mode of representation. Any parochial church council in the deanery may, on a motion moved by a member representing that parish, bring before the deanery synod any matter either of general Church interest or affecting that parish and may move that a representative of the deanery synod on the diocesan synod be instructed to bring such matter before that synod on behalf of the deanery synod. Subject to any direction by the deanery synod, the standing committee shall appoint such representative.


  1. Procedure determinable by chairman. The chairman presiding shall determine the procedure for any part of a meeting during which the item under consideration is not a motion or amendment but is:?
    1. an address or the presentation of a paper, whether a report or other document, by a member or a visiting speaker;
    2. a general discussion, whether or not introduced by such address or paper, including a discussion permitted by the chairman under rule 42.


  1. Annual review. The standing committee shall not later than 1st May in each year submit to the synod:?
    1. a report and audited accounts for the preceding financial year;
    2. a statement showing the estimated expenditure of the synod during the next financial year;
    3. proposals for raising the income required to meet such expenditure.


  1. Admission of Press and public. Subject to any directions by the synod or the standing committee, any member of the synod may move that the representatives of the Press and members of the public shall withdraw during the whole or part of the business before the synod. If the motion is seconded and carried, the chairman shall request the representatives of the Press and members of the public to withdraw.
  2. Periods of notice. Any period of notice required by these rules shall be deemed to consist of clear days or weeks, not including the date of despatch and the date of the event before which the notice must be delivered.
  3. Procedural defects. A meeting of the synod or any of its committees of which the minutes have been approved and signed, shall be deemed to have been duly summoned and held notwithstanding any defect in the procedure for summoning or conducting such meeting, and no proceedings thereat shall be invalidated by the accidental omission to give the required notice of the meeting to any member.
  4. Variation of rules made by diocesan synod. Any of these rules which have been made by the diocesan synod shall not be varied, revoked or suspended except by a further resolution of that synod.

History of the Rickmansworth Deanery Synod