Private Members' Motions

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

Service of prayer and dedication

Christina Baron (Bath and Wells) and Neil Patterson (Hereford) to move:

‘That this Synod request the House of Bishops to commend an order of Prayer and Dedication after the registration of a civil partnership or same sex marriage, for use by ministers in exercise of their discretion under Canon B5, being a form of service neither contrary to, nor indicative of any departure from, the doctrine of the Church of England in any essential matter, together with guidance that no parish should be obliged to host, nor minister conduct, such a service.’

124 signatures as at 8 March 2022


Scrutiny of diocesan safeguarding

Gavin Drake (Southwell and Nottingham) to move:          

‘That this Synod requests the Archbishops’ Council to bring draft legislation to the earliest possible Group of Sessions, the purpose of which is to create statutory powers for a new or existing national body, giving them the authority to investigate, intervene, and if necessary to direct a particular course of action in cases where bishops or dioceses are not managing safeguarding cases appropriately, effectively, safely, or in line with the House of Bishops’ safeguarding guidance.’

49 signatures as at 8 March 2022


Assisted suicide

Dr Simon Eyre (Chichester) to move:

‘That this Synod

appreciate the enormous and untiring efforts of health professionals, including healthcare chaplains, in constantly developing and maintaining the excellence of palliative and end of life care provision in this country;
call on Her Majesty’s Government to guarantee and expedite the adequate funding and resourcing of palliative care services within the NHS to ensure that the highest possible standards of care are achieved and made universally accessible; and
affirm that the current legislation in relation to Assisted Suicide referenced in Section 2 of the Suicide Act 1961 (and its application through the DPP guidelines) should remain unchanged.’

93 signatures as at 8 March 2022


Safeguarding audit

Gavin Drake (Southwell and Nottingham) to move:

  ‘That this Synod:

(a) acknowledging with shame and lament that church-related abuse of children, vulnerable adults, and others is not just a problem of the past, but is something that continues today; offer a real, deep and sincere apology to victims and survivors for the abuse that they have suffered;

(b) acknowledge that the Church nationally and locally is still not offering a proper, safe and consistent approach in supporting victims and survivors, and therefore:

(c) endorse the 8th recommendation in the report of IICSA’s investigation into the Anglican Church, in its call for regular external audits of the “effectiveness of safeguarding practice in dioceses, cathedrals and other Church organisations” and for the reports from those audits to be published;

(d) while endorsing IICSA’s call for external audit, acknowledge that the primary responsibility for ensuring effective safeguarding in the Church remains the responsibility of the Church itself; 

(e)therefore call on the Archbishop’s Council to produce a report at the conclusion of the PCR2 process containing anonymised statistical analysis showing, for each diocese, the number of cases referred by the independent reviewers as showing cause for concern, and whether or not – prior to the PCR2 referral – those cases had been considered

by the diocese following a complaint,
by an archbishop in response to a CDM complaint about the bishop’s handling of the case, and/or
by an NST Core Group;
and specify the outcome of those considerations so that we can assess for ourselves whether the Church of England’s increasing national investment in safeguarding is effective.’

28 signatures as at 8 March 2022


Clergy pensions

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.’


Remove divorce impediment to ordination

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.’

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.

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Read our full privacy notice here.

The Archbishops' Council, Church Commissioners and Church of England Pensions Board are the three main operating bodies of the Church of England. The other National Church Institutions can be found on our website.

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)