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]
Deadline for signatures is 27th November 2019. Signatures will not be counted after this date.
Current Private Members' Motions
Biblical understanding of marriage and sexual relationships
Mr Edward Shaw (Bristol) to move:
'That this Synod, convinced that all people without exception are loved by God and made in His image and are invited to fullness of life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, affirm:
(a) its rejection of the fear or dislike of anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation.
(b) the radically inclusive nature of Jesus's ministry and message to all people: "The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"
(c) that marriage, as defined by Jesus, is the lifelong sexual union of a man and a woman.
(d) that both those who marry and those who are single, as Jesus Himself was, can enjoy Christ-like relationships and the fullness of life which He offers all.
(e) that all Christians should repent of any sexual activity outside marriage, in the assurance of God's loving forgiveness in Christ.
(f) that all God's holy people are called to live out this calling, for their own good and for the life of the world they are called to serve.'
Review of the 'Five Guiding Principles'
Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury and Ipswich) to move:
That this Synod:
(a) share the sadness and regret of the Rt Revd Philip North in his decision, announced on 9 March 2017, to withdraw acceptance of his nomination to the See of Sheffield;
(b) note the substantial support for Bishop North's nomination from many women and men, lay and ordained, in the dioceses of both Sheffield and Blackburn, and in the wider Church of England;
(c) express its full support for Bishop North in his future ministry, whether in the Blackburn diocese or elsewhere;
(d) note, with concern, the implications of Bishop North's decision, and the public debate that preceded it, for the 'mutual flourishing' of the Church of England; and
(e) request the House of Bishops urgently to review the 'Five Guiding Principles' and to consider whether they need to be amended or amplified in order to ensure that there is an equal place at all levels in the Church for men and women of different theological convictions on the issue of women's ordination, and to report to the Synod by February 2018.
*Note that the Business Committee has decided that if any PMM achieves 100 or more signatures, it will remain on Special Agenda III until it is either debated or until the current quinquennium is dissolved (as per SO 6(6)). Review of the Five Guiding Principles previously reached a total of 101 signatures and will therefore remain on Special Agenda III as outlined.
Liturgies for same-sex couples
Ms Christina Baron (Bath & Wells) 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 a 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.'
End to Paupers' Funerals
Mr Sam Margrave (Coventry) to move:
That this Synod, noting:
(a) the substantial rise in the number of ‘pauper funerals’ in England and the pain and hurt arising from them; and
(b) the call of the Gospel to meet people as Jesus does, in their time of need, as well as the duty of Christians to the poor as set out in Proverbs 31.8-9 and Deuteronomy 15.7-8;
call upon the Archbishops’ Council to establish a Task Force including representatives of the Houses of Bishops, Clergy and Laity to:
(i) undertake the formation of plans at national, diocesan and parish levels to utilise Church resources (whether in the form of finance, volunteers or buildings) to tackle the issues relating to and, where possible, end ‘pauper funerals’; and
(ii) work with other stakeholders to find ways, at an affordable price, to deliver a more compassionate send off for the departed and to meet the spiritual and emotional needs of those left behind.
Windrush Commitment and Legacy
The Revd Andrew Moughtin-Mumby (Southwark) to move:
‘That this Synod, commemorating in 2018 the martyrdom of the Revd Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., noting with joy the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush liner in the United Kingdom in June 1948 bringing nearly 500 Commonwealth citizens, mainly from the Caribbean, to mainland UK; and the eventual arrival of approximately half a million people from the West Indies, who were called to Britain as British subjects to help rebuild the post-war United Kingdom:
(a) lament, on behalf of Christ's Church, the conscious and unconscious racism experienced by countless Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) Anglicans in 1948 and subsequent years, when seeking to find a spiritual home in their local Church of England parish churches, the memory of which is still painful to committed Anglicans who in spite of this racism from clergy and others, have remained faithful to the Church of England and their Anglican heritage;
(b)express gratitude to God for the indispensable contribution to the mission, ministry, prayer and worship of Christ's Church in this nation made by people of BAME descent in the Church of England;
(c) acknowledge and give joyful thanks for the wider contribution of the 'Windrush generation' and their descendants to UK life and culture in every field of human activity, including service across the Armed Forces and other services during and after the Second World War; and
(d) resolve to continue, with great effort and urgency, to stamp out all forms of conscious or unconscious racism, and to commit the Church of England to increase the participation and representation of lay and ordained BAME Anglicans throughout Church life;
to the greater glory of the God in whose image every human being is made.
Legal Aid Reform
Mr Carl Fender (Lincoln) to move:
That this Synod, mindful that a justice system should be open and free from barriers of any kind, and also provide easy access to enable the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in our society to seek professional help in bringing their claims before our courts and tribunals:
(a) recognise our legal aid system as an essential public service and fully endorse its preservation for the benefit of the nation;
(b) welcome the reports by Amnesty International and the Bach Commission about the impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and note both their findings about its impact on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in our society and their recommendations for reform of the current system; and
(c) call on Her Majesty's Government to respond positively to these reports and explore ways of alleviating the impact that the 2012 Act has had on these groups.
Mr Sam Margrave (Coventry) to move:
‘That this Synod:
(a) call on the national church institutions to establish a task force to examine whether an enterprise fund to support parishes, dioceses and church members to develop entrepreneurial activities that generate income to fund mission and ministry, can be set up, and
(b) outline other support the church will give to support the vocation of Christian entrepreneurship.
Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury and Ipswich) to move:
That this Synod, having regard in particular to:
(a) changes in thinking on the role of the laity in leadership in the Church over the past 25 years, and
(b) the lack of any Scriptural basis for the Church’s current practice restricting the administration of the sacrament at Holy Communion to ordained priests,
request the House of Bishops to reconsider its position (as set out in its April 1997 report Eucharistic Presidency, GS 1248) that the Church should maintain its inherited position that the person who presides at the Eucharist must be an ordained priest.
The Further use of Churchyards
Revd Andrew Dotchin (St Edmundsbury and Ipswich) to move:
‘That this Synod call on the Archbishops' Council to:
(a) consider the position in relation to further burials in churchyards which have been closed by Order in Council; and
(b) 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.'
Safeguarding & Tendering for Professional Services
The Revd Canon Simon Butler (Southwark) to move:
‘That this Synod, recognising that the use of tendering for professional services is widely regarded as good practice in the charitable and commercial sectors, and noting the need for high levels confidence that must exist regarding commercial relationships between the Church and its service providers in the field of safeguarding:
invite the Archbishops’ Council to bring forward legislation and associated guidance which require the use of regular tendering processes in the provision of legal, financial and insurance services by parishes, dioceses and the National Church Institutions.’
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)