Private Members' Motions explained
Private Members' Motions (PMMs) are one of a number of ways debates can be brought to the attention of the General Synod.
Any member of the General Synod can write and submit a PMM. In order to decide whether a PMM should be put on the General Synod's agenda the Business Committee requires a minimum of 100 expressions of interest in support for the motion to be debated in the form of signatures. By putting their name to particular motions, members are signalling that they think they should be debated. Information on how Synod members can sign PMMs can be found on the Members' Resources page.
When putting together the agenda for the next meeting of the Synod, the Business Committee thinks about the number of signatures each motion has received. Generally there is only space for one or two PMMs to be debated in each meeting of the General Synod (group of sessions). While the motion with the most signatures is often the one selected there can be reasons for selecting another that has also attracted considerable support (it might, for example, be more time-critical).
Once a motion has been open for signature for three groups of sessions, if it has not attracted 100 signatures, it expires.
Below are the current Private Members' Motions. They can be signed electronically by emailing to [email protected].
Current Private Members' Motions
The Ven Mark Ireland (Blackburn) to move:
‘That this Synod, recognising:
- that bullying is unacceptable behaviour within the Church of God, whether by clergy or lay people, and where it exists needs to be addressed; and
- the serious pastoral problems and unfairness that arise while clergy can be subject to penalties for bullying that include prohibition and removal from office but there is no means of disqualifying a churchwarden, PCC member or other lay officer who is guilty of bullying from holding office;
request the Archbishops’ Council to bring forward legislative proposals which would enable a churchwarden, PCC member or other lay officer who was found to have conducted him- or her-self in such a manner to be disqualified from holding office.’
75 signatures as at 21 February 2023
Tim Norwood (Oxford) to move:
'That this Synod:
- acknowledge the national strategy to 'grow younger and more diverse'
- take note of the report 'Rooted in the Church' (2016) which observes that young adults feel a sense of belonging if they i) are included within the whole church family, ii) are treated as equal members of the church, iii) are supported by leaders who act as bridges or mentors, and iv) are given a safe space to ask questions;
- re-affirm the importance of having young adults directly involved in decision-making and strategy;
- recognise the valuable contributions made by members of the Church of England Youth Council (CEYC);
and therefore call on the Archbishops' Council to:
- establish the Church of England Youth Synod (CEYS) or similar, to replace the recently disbanded Church of England Youth Council (CEYC), as a meeting of young Anglicans between the ages of 18 and 25 who meet prior to each meeting of General Synod to discuss and debate the motions of General Synod;
- invite each Diocesan Synod to nominate two young adults as members of both their local Diocesan Synod and the Church of England Youth Synod;
- arrange for the co-option of 5 young adults elected by the Youth Synod as members of General Synod with the right to speak and vote;
- appoint a part-time post with responsibility for democratic engagement with young people;
- ensure that a sufficient budget is made available to support the work of the Youth Synod; and
- ensure that the Youth Synod has representation on the Archbishops' Council by co-opting a member of the Youth Synod as a member of Archbishops’ Council.
42 signatures as at 21 February 2023
Revd Dr Ian Paul (Southwell & Notts) to move:
‘That this Synod request the Archbishops’ Council, the Pensions Board, and the Church Commissioners to work together to find a way to make use of the whole range of assets and resources across the Church to enable the restoration of the clergy pension to its pre-2011 benefit level as soon as possible.’
53 signatures as at 21 February 2023
Mr Sam Margrave (Coventry) to move:
'That this Synod:
affirming that God loves all people, nevertheless consider that the "Pride" rainbow flag, activity and events, and what it represents in terms of the ordering of lives and relationships is contrary to the word of God (2 Timothy 4:3, Genesis 5:2, Mark 10:6-9, Matthew 19:3-12, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:24-27, Genesis 2:24, 1 John 2:15-17, Romans 6, 1 Corinthians 4:6, Jeremiah 23:16-17, Luke 17:1-2, Matthew 18:6-9, Ezekiel 3:18-19, 2 Timothy 3:1-4, 2 Corinthians 5:17, 1 Corinthians 13:4, 1 John 2:3-6);
- call on the House of Bishops to state that support for Pride (including use of the rainbow flag; and blessing, participation in, publicising, resourcing and endorsement of Pride events or flags) is incompatible with the Christian faith, its agenda being contrary to scriptural teaching, Church doctrine and Canons of the Church of England and;
- request the Archbishops' Council to introduce legislation to enforce the Earl Marshall's warrant of 9th February 1938, and to prohibit the display of any political or other campaigning flags or banners in or on church buildings.'
10 signatures as at 17 August 2022
Dr Cathy Rhodes (Sheffield) to move:
‘That this Synod, recognising our responsibility to care for God’s creation, the urgency of the climate crisis and the International Energy Agency statements that (i) there can be no new fossil fuel developments if the world is to limit global heating to 1.5°C and (ii) investment in renewable energy needs to more than treble by 2030:
- acknowledge the important work of the Transition Pathway Initiative;
- note that the Archbishop of Cape Town and over 20 Southern African Anglican bishops have called for the immediate cessation of fossil fuel exploration across Africa, and 500+ UK Church leaders including 49 Church of England bishops have called for no new fossil fuel developments;
- therefore call on the National Investing Bodies to:
- disinvest by the end of 2023 from any oil and gas companies that are planning to explore for and/or develop new fossil fuel resources and/or reserves and;
- scale up investment in renewable energy and other climate solutions year-on-year to at least 10% of assets under management by 2030.’
33 signatures as at 21 February 2023
The Revd Andrew Dotchin (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to move:
'That this Synod call on the Archbishops' Council to:
- consider the position in relation to further burials in churchyards which have been closed by Order in Council; and
- make representations to Her Majesty's Government on the matter with a view to primary legislation being brought forward (whether by way of Measure or Act of Parliament) to facilitate such burials in appropriate cases.'
11 signatures as at 21 February 2023
Mr Luke Appleton (Exeter) to move:
'That this Synod call on the Archbishops' Council and the Church Commissioners:
- to stop the implementation of the recommendations contained in the in the report of the Governance Review Group (GS 2239); and
- to consult each parochial church council on the future of central church institutions and what they should look like.'
3 signatures as at 21 February 2023
Mr Sam Margrave (Coventry) to move:
‘That this Synod believes the sexualisation and grooming of Children on our streets and in the media is abhorrent to the nature of God, contrary to the Christian faith, and that no member of the Church of England, Parish or Cathedral should endorse, support, resource or be associated with any activity that exposes children to sexualisation or grooming.’
7 signatures as at 21 February 2023
Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester) to move:
‘That this Synod, deeply concerned at the lack of functional accountability permeating the culture and institutions of the Church of England:
- call upon the Archbishops, House of Bishops and Archbishops’ Council to urgently establish an Independent Commission, to include significant external and professional representation, to receive representations and bring forward specific recommendations to improve accountability and transparency throughout the Church;
- instruct the Business Committee to arrange for the terms of reference for the Independent Commission to be subject to a debate by this Synod with substantial time for consideration to be allocated.”
45 signatures as at 21st February 2023
The Revd Robert Thompson (London) to move:
‘That this Synod, being deeply disquieted at the continued controversies over the actual independence of Safeguarding structures within the Church of England, does not accept that an internal Church inquiry into the allegations of abuse and cover-up within the Soul Survivor network is either sufficient or right in principle.
It accordingly calls upon the Archbishop’s Council to commission, on agreed terms of reference with survivors, a report into those allegations from an independent King’s Counsel without delay.’
22 May 2023
Mr Sam Wilson (Chester) to move:
‘That this Synod:
- recognise the importance of including age-appropriate LGBTQIA+ content in relationship education
- commend the use of 'Valuing All God's People' to all Church of England schools in order to help combat anti-LGBTQIA+ bullying
- thank the teachers and staff who help to create welcoming and inclusive environments for all pupils, especially those who do so with personal sacrifice as LGBTQIA+ role models.’
26 May 2023
Revd Tom Woolford (Blackburn) to move:
‘That this Synod call on the Archbishops' Council to introduce an order to amend the Parochial Fees and Scheduled Matters Amending Order 2019 so that the fees for funeral services in church are set at nil.’
7 signatures as at 21 February 2023
Professor Roy Faulkner (Leicester) to move:
‘That this Synod request a working group be set up to consider Diocesan reform with a view to reporting back to the next group of sessions with firm proposals for more efficient Diocesan working practices, driven by mission statements.’
26 May 2023
Revd Mark Bennet (Oxford) to move:
‘That this Synod request that the Archbishops’ Council introduce the necessary legislation to remove the canonical impediment to ordination in respect of a person who has remarried and, the other party to that marriage being alive, has a former spouse still living; or who is married to a person who has been previously married and whose former spouse is still living.’
119 signatures as at 21 February 2023
Mr Ian Johnston (Portsmouth) to move:
‘That this Synod, noting that the central church, taken as a whole, should set an example of good governance to our dioceses and parishes, and recognising the nature of the intended reorganisation of the NCIs, call on the Archbishops’ Council to introduce draft legislation to the earliest possible Group of Sessions that would:
- require synodical approval of the Church Commissioners’ spending plans, the Archbishops’ Council’s annual budget and all other substantial expenditure of the Church of England;
- should the motions in paragraph (a) not be passed unamended, require amended proposals from those bodies in response to those motions; and,
- require those bodies to make summary bi-annual progress reports to Synod on the implementation of said matters; all being subject to amendable motions of acceptance.’
5 signatures as at 17 August 2022
Revd Mae Christie (Southwark) to move:
'That this Synod request that the House of Bishops remove any requirements relating to Issues in Human Sexuality from the Vocations (Shared Discernment) Process.'
114 signatures as at 21st February 2023
By filling in and submitting the following form, Synod members are including his or her name on the list of members who support a debate on the selected PMM.
Private Members Motions fall under Special Agenda III. The other Special Agendas are: Legislative Business (Special Agenda I); Liturgical Business (Special Agenda II); and Diocesan Synod Motions (Special Agenda IV)