Have Your Say in the Life of the Dioceses – Represent Your Parish on Diocesan Synod
Elections take place in the coming weeks. Ask your Rector for details. Help ensure our Diocesan Synod reflects the diversity of our parishes.
Have you ever wondered who makes decisions for the Church? The Church of Ireland is a synodical Church, meaning that its members, clerical and lay, meet and decide on various aspects of Church life at Synod. At diocesan level, parish clergy are automatically members of diocesan synod. The lay people, who make up the majority of the membership, are elected by the parishes of the dioceses every three years at their Easter Vestries. The lay members are the ‘ordinary parishioners’.
However, the ordinary parishioners are far from ordinary. They come to church and their parishes with widely varying skills and experiences from different backgrounds, both personally and professionally. They are parents, professionals and have diverse interests. They are young or more senior. They have roots in their parishes that go back through the centuries or they are new to the parish. They are commuters or people who work at home.
At a conference called Rubicon which took place in the Sugar Club in Dublin last October, one of the compelling contributors, Dr Rosaleen MacDonagh, spoke about inclusion and exclusion. She urged participants to look around their circles, whether it be friendship circles, acquaintances, work, the school gate, wherever they gather in groups, and see who is not there. Then, she said, they would see who is not there – who is excluded.
In Dublin & Glendalough we would like to ensure that the diversity which is found in our parishes is represented at Diocesan Synod. We are asking parishioners to consider if their voices are represented in the make–up of our Diocesan Synod. We often hear people say that what happens at synod is not relevant to society in general or that some aspect of church or secular life was ignored at synod. However, if they were members of synod they could take the opportunity to raise the issues relevant to them and ask the dioceses to consider it.
If you would like to represent your parish and become a member of Diocesan Synod, the next elections take place at the Easter Vestries of parishes throughout Dublin & Glendalough between March 16 and May 2 2020. So now would be a good time to approach your rector and express an interest in serving.
Once elected, members serve for three years. They represent their parish and contribute to the work and decision making process of the Church in the dioceses.
Diocesan Synod generally meets once a year, for one evening in early October. Members hear and contribute to debates on reports presented to synod. They debate and vote on any motions or resolutions that have been proposed. Members are encouraged to engage in the debates, and through hearing the varied and different voices of members of Synod, new ideas can be planted and nurtured for the benefit of the entire dioceses. There is also a social element to attending Synod as members meet new people from far flung parts of the dioceses and hear about developments in other parishes.
Any member of the Church of Ireland is eligible for election to Diocesan Synod once they are over 18 and a communicant. In Dublin & Glendalough there are three lay members to every one clerical member.
Also at the up–coming Easter Vestry meetings, parishes will also elect Parochial Nominators. Parochial Nominators have a very important role in that if their parish becomes vacant they are part of the decision making process in selecting a new rector. Again the dioceses would like to see the diversity of the members of the parish being represented among them.