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Last updated 2nd May 2024

Diocesan Synod


A three-week campaign has been launched by the Diocese, calling on people of all ages from parishes across the County to become members of one of its key decision-making bodies, writes Ronnie Semley, Diocesan Communications Manager. 

The Bishops of Blackburn and Lancaster, Rt Rev. Philip North and Rt Rev. Dr Jill Duff, are fronting the multi-channel push; including videos featuring the Bishops and 12 current members of Synod; all encouraging as many as possible of all ages to consider standing.

The campaign includes external promotion via local and regional media; information here on the Diocesan website; regular content on the Diocesan social media channels every day until the closing date for nominations (Thursday, May 23) and regular articles in the ‘Parish Update’ ebulletin.

  • More about Synod below and CLICK HERE for more information about how to stand for election. 

Overview of Diocesan Synod

The Diocesan Synod (pictured in session at St Cuthbert's in Preston) is composed of three 'Houses': Bishops, Clergy and Laity. It has a number of functions ...

  • To consider matters concerning the Church of England to make provision for these matters in relation to the Diocese of Blackburn
  • To consider and express an opinion on other matters of religious or public interest
  • To advise the Bishop on any matters on which he may consult the Synod
  • To consider and express an opinion on any matters referred to it by the General Synod
  • To consider the proposals for the annual budget for the Diocese and to approve or dissapprove them
  • To consider the annual accounts of the Diocesan Board of Finance

The Diocesan Bishop has a duty to consult the Diocesan Synod on matters of general concern and importance to the Diocese.

The Diocesan Synod informs the Deanery Synods of the policies and problems of the Diocese and of the business to be dealt with by Diocesan Synod. Through Deanery Synods, Diocesan Synod should keep itself informed of events and opinions in the parishes and to give opportunities at its meetings for the discussion of matters raised by Deanery Synods and PCCs.

Blackburn Diocesan Synod meets two or three times per year usually at a venue in Preston or Blackburn. Upcoming meetings are listed below. 

Members of Diocesan Synod can be nominated for election to Bishop's Council and Board of Finance Directors and nominate people for sub-committees.

The membership of Diocesan Boards and Committees can be found here.

The 'rules' for Diocesan Synod are documented in theDiocesan Synod Standing Orders.

A Handbook for Synod Members has been created to help those interested in being members of synod and those elected to serve

Elections to Diocesan Synod are held every three years and Diocesan Synod members took up office on 1 August 2021. The next elections take place in May/June 2024. Page to come soon for more on the elections.

Each Deanery has a fixed number of spaces for clergy, as a proportion of each deanery's clergy membership and spaces for lay members based on the total electoral roll for the deanery.

Lay members of Diocesan Synod become 'ex-officio' members of their local Parochial Church Council (PCC).

Wider context for the work of Diocesan Synod

General Synod

General Synod consists of bishops, clergy and laity who meet three times a year to make decisions on the doctrine and practice of the Church of England and to make ecclesiastical law. As well as matters of worship and discipline, it also addresses wider concerns, both national and international. Elected members serve for five years.

Diocesan Synods

The Diocesan Synod considers matters sent to it from General Synod and from deaneries, formulates diocesan policy, advises the Bishop as appropriate, and votes on the funding of stipends and administration. Elected members serve for three years.

Deanery Synods

Each deanery has its own synod which reflects on issues of concern to the local church and community. Matters can be sent to deanery synods from PCCs or Diocesan or General Synods. Resolutions passed by a deanery synod can be sent for discussion at higher levels. Elected members serve for three years and are the voters in elections for Diocesan and General Synods.

Role and Purpose of Diocesan Synod

Diocesan Synod is the primary governing body of the Diocese. It is split into three houses: Bishops, Clergy and Laity.

The functions of the Diocesan Synod are set out in the Synodical Government Measure, which are to:

  • Consider matters concerning the Church of England and to make provision for such matters in relation to their diocese, and to consider and express their opinion on any other matters of religious or public interest;
  • Advise the bishop on any matters on which he may consult the Synod;
  • Consider and express their opinion on any matters referred to them by the General Synod and, in particular, to approve or disapprove provisions referred to them by General Synod;
  • Consider proposals for the annual budget and to approve or disapprove them;
  • Consider the Annual Report and Accounts of the Diocesan Board of Finance.

It is important to note that these roles are strategic; more detailed decisions fall under the responsibility of the Bishop’s Council and other diocesan committees. Members of the Diocesan Synod are also members of the Blackburn Diocesan Board of Finance, the legal charity and company that manages the affairs of the Diocese.

Diocesan Synod - more reading

There is further information available about the work of Diocesan Synods as part of the Church Representation Rules - the relevant section is here on the national CofE website

Synod Meeting Dates




Saturday 13 July 9.30am-1pm Blackburn St Bartholomew's Ewood
Saturday 19 October 9.30am-1pm Preston St Cuthbert's Fulwood

Synod Minutes










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