District Synod is the medium by which we confer together, agree ways forward and deal with business, especially legal and administrative matters, but perhaps, above all we confer about the work and mission of God in our District.
Dates of the next Synods:
Ministerial Synod: Thursday 8 March 2018 from 10 a.m.
Representative Autumn Synod: 12 May in the West Durham Circuit from 10 a.m.
Further details will be sent to those involved nearer the time…
A GUIDE TO REPRESENTATIVE SYNOD BUSINESS
The business of the District Synods is laid out in section 4 of The Constitution, Practice and Discipline of the Methodist Church. For those of you who do not have access to a CPD, or who do not have the time to grapple with its use of language we hope that this will be a useful outline to some of the practicalities of Synod.
…The Synod’s business is the work of God in the District, expressed in worship, conversation, formal business, the communication of Conference matters to the Circuits and the submission of memorials to the Conference.
Frequency of Meeting
According to CPD Synod, in its representative session, need meet only once a year before the second Saturday in May. There is a very specific list of matters which synod must deal with annually, which includes appointing representatives to Conference, hearing from candidates and probationers, and receiving accounts. To put all the required matters into one synod would give us a very full agenda even before we have heard or considered any Connexional business which may have come from Conference or issues which the Circuits and Societies may want to raise. Consequently most districts meet twice a year to spread the work-load and ensure relevant deadlines are met.
Notices of Motion
Circuits or churches wishing to have specific business included in the agenda of the Synod must submit this business as a written and seconded Notice of Motion to the Chair and the Synod Secretary no later than 14 days before Synod in order that they can be printed and distributed to all members.
Only on matters of urgency can this 14 day period be waived with the permission of the Chair of District.
The business may be something which relates to the District or a matter which is to be sent on to Connexion via a Memorial or Resolution.
Memorials and Resolutions to Conference
Memorials can be sent to Conference by Synod or by Circuits, useful material about can be found on the Methodist Church website.
·Memorials and Resolutions can be on any subject of connexional interest
·They must ask the Conference to do something concrete
·The action must be something the Conference is able to do if it decides to accept the suggestion. In other words, it must be within the competence or control of the Conference
·This includes action on behalf of the Connexion in relation to public authorities, for example writing to the government.
·Memorials will be published in the Memorials booklet to Conference and will generally be dealt with en bloc with Conference approving the reply to the Memorial written and included in the booklet by the Memorials Committee. There is a process for removing the Memorial from en bloc business or a Memorial may be considered at the same time as relevant business in the Conference Agenda.
·A Resolution can only come from the District and will be published in the Conference Agenda (at the District’s expense.) It will be debated by Conference, unless the Conference Business Committee considers that there is no time to do so.
·Consequently, Resolutions should be accompanied by reasoned statements.
The Chair of District will ensure a proposer and seconder from the representatives to Conference for a Resolution.
The Synod secretary should be given a copy of any Memorial being sent by Circuits to Connexion.
Formal Debate in Synod
Once the proposer of any resolution to the Synod has spoken there will be time for debate which will be conducted through the Chair of the Synod. No member may speak more than once on any resolution without leave of the Chair.
Members of Synod may propose relevant amendments to the resolution, which must also have a seconder and should be given in writing to the Synod Secretary. (The latter need not happen in advance of Synod, but if possible the Synod Secretary would appreciate it.)
Seconders may speak after the proposer or at the end of any debate.
The final person to speak before the vote is put should be the proposer of the original resolution or the proposer of any agreed amendment, in this time they may reply to any questions raised during the debate.
During the debate there are a number of procedural motions which may be proposed from the floor of Synod:
1.That the vote on an amendment be now taken. This requires a two thirds majority; however the Chair may over-rule the call if she/he feels there has not been enough time for necessary debate.
2.That the question (either the original resolution or an amendment) be not put. This may be debated alongside the question to which it relates.
3.That the question (original or relating to an amendment) be referred to a committee.
4.That the debate (on the original resolution or an amendment) be adjourned for a specific time or a time to be decided on later.
5.That the Synod adjourn, this call must specify the time of resumption.
Resolutions are carried or otherwise on a simple majority vote, the Chair having the casting vote, unless they seek to rescind a decision of the current meeting of the Synod when a two thirds majority of the members present and voting vote is required.
The Chair will ensure that debate relates to the matter at hand and that courtesies of debate are kept. Members of Synod may also raise a point of order if they feel that rules or courtesies have been trespassed.
Interruptions to any speaker are only permissible if a member feels they have been misrepresented, but only to correct any misstatement.
Attendance at Synod
Anyone attending synod, whether a member of visitor are required to sign in to the building for health and safety reasons.
In addition some business at Synod requires the Secretary to confirm the number of people attending and entitled to vote. It is for this reason that attendance forms are included in every synod pack. We are endeavouring to make on-line registration easily accessible for those who are technologically equipped to use it.
Circuit Ministers and Circuit Lay Representatives should claim expenses for attending synod from their circuits.
Supernumeraries and ministers without appointment are entitled to receive expenses from the secretary of the Synod, in this District claims should be made through the District Treasurer.