From the earliest days of Christianity, Christians gathered together in order to identify God’s will for them as individuals and as a community. These early assemblies became known as Synods (from the Greek preposition meaning “together”) and are an important part of the heritage of the Christian Church. The Synods of the modern Anglican Church have grown from this tradition. This represents the belief of the early Church that God gave gifts to each and guided the whole community. In these times rather than the whole community meeting together; the Synod is made up of representatives of the wider Church.
Synodical government, of the Church, as we know it in Australia developed in with the growing independence of the Church in the Colonies and with the election of Bishops. The first Synod of the diocese of Canberra and Goulburn was held in 1866.
Our Synod, like all others in NSW, is established by an Act of the NSW Parliament, namely the Anglican Church of Australia Constitutions Act 1902. This Act requires us to determine the Constitution, membership and operation of the Synod. The Governance of the Diocese Ordinance 2000, particularly Part 7 determines these matters.
We need to note the importance of our Diocesan Synod in the government of the Church. Unless a matter falls within the sole province of the Bishop the Synod is the ultimate authority.
Each Diocesan Synod is elected for 3 years with an annual session lasting three days and generally held in September; these sessions are known as “Ordinary Sessions”. The Bishop determines the time and place for a session of Synod and issues a summons to the members to attend.
The fourth session of the 46th Synod, which is the Episcopal Electoral Synod, will be held from Thursday 8 – Saturday 10 November 2018 in Goulburn.