Bath & Wells reps prepare for last General Synod of their term

8th July 2021

Last week Bishop Ruth and the diocese’s current General Synod members met in person for the first time since the start of the pandemic. With elections taking place this year, it was an opportunity to thank to them for their service in the role, which saw their tenure extended due to the pandemic, and to say farewell to those who are not seeking re-election.

Stephen Lynas, Tim Hind, Jenny Humphreys and James Dudley-Smith (pictured left to right above) are standing down after a combined 64 years. Tim Hind has been one of our General Synod members for 26 years, while the Revd Stephen Lynas has served for 16 years. Jenny Humphreys and the Revd James Dudley-Smith have both served for 11 years.

The last General Synod with our current representatives starts tomorrow and will be held online. Nominations open for the next term on 30 July.

Commenting on his time as a member of General Synod Tim says, “I joined a very politically motivated set of agendas. They were based on a parliamentary system so that pushed people towards being confrontational. It was the women’s bishops measure that enabled the synod to realise that it will be necessary to work collaboratively in order to get things through and I think that will stand them in good stead in the challenges to come.”

“The fact that we are now beginning to seriously discuss racism is so important. What has worried me about Synod in the past was that it was homophobic and misogynist hiding behind theology. That went wrong in all sorts of ways and as we deal with racism and same sex issues we need to be much more open and stop hiding behind theology.”

Jenny Humphreys says, “As a lay person I stood thinking that if you want to change things in the Church, like any organisation, you have to be in the system. There have been some very interesting highs and lows over my 11 years, particularly thinking of the November Synod when the first attempt of women in the episcopate failed narrowly and the anguish and the pain and the ripples of that went out throughout the church and much, much wider than the church. The highs then came when that did happen. I would encourage anyone to start, but particularly laity.”

Stephen Lynas, who writes a popular blog during Synod, said “Synod can be great fun, though not many people believe that. I really want clergy to consider standing, particularly those who rather than having strong views on one thing, have a wide range of interests from their work as parish priests. Synod has to cover everything from pastoral work to liturgy, to world development to same sex so you need those well-rounded people.

James agrees. “Parish clergy should really consider standing. The Church of England is what it best is at the parish level, so from the point of view of a normal parish vicar we really need to be represented there, and represented well by thoughtful people who are not single issue people. For me Synod has been boring (sometimes), worrying (sometimes), enlightening (sometimes) and yes, definitely fun (sometimes). It’s been really good to get a broader perspective across the Church of England and to make some new friends, meet up with old friends and I have really missed that in the last 18 months.”

Visit our General Synod reps page to find out more about our other General Synod members and how you can stand for election when nominations open on 30 July. #StandForSynod

Yu can also read an article from Tim Hind in the Open Synod Group's newsletter.