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.’

138 signatures as at 17 August 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.’

34 signatures as at 17 August 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.’

46 signatures as at 17 August 2022

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.’

112 signatures as at 17 August 2022

Declaration of Christian Incompatibility of Pride

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); 

and therefore:

a) 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; 


b) 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

Future of Central Church Institutions

Mr Luke Appleton (Exeter) to move: 

'That this Synod call on the Archbishops' Council and the Church Commissioners- 

a) to stop the implementation of the recommendations contained in the in the report of the Governance Review Group (GS 2239); and 

b) to consult each parochial church council on the future of central church institutions and what they should look like.' 

1 signature as at 17 August 2022

Vocations process and issues in human sexuality

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.'

110 signatures as at 17 August 2022

Support for churches and clergy 

‘That this Synod call on the Presidents and Business Committee to hold an extraordinary meeting of General Synod specifically to consider support for churches and clergy facing a sustained period of reduced giving and inflation, and how this is affecting churches, clergy and their service to the community’.

Mr Sam Margrave (Coventry) 

2 signatures as at 17 August 2022


Parochial fees and scheduled matters amending order 2019

‘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.’

Revd Tom Woolford (Blackburn)                                                       

3 signatures as at 17 August 2022


Independent Commission on accountability

‘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.”

Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester)                                                            

31 signatures as at 17 August 2022


Synodical approval of budgets and spending plans

‘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:

  1. 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;
  2. should the motions in paragraph (a) not be passed unamended, require amended proposals from those bodies in response to those motions; and,
  3. 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.’

Mr Ian Johnston (Portsmouth)                                                           

5 signatures as at 17 August 2022

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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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)