Synod Elections

  • Do you want your voice and that of your Church and community to be heard?
  • Would you like to make a difference in the decision-making across your Diocese? 
  • Are you able to give around 25 hours a year to have your say in the church?

Consider nominating yourself for Diocesan Synod.

A Synod is an assembly of elected representatives at either a local (Diocesan) level or national (General) level. It includes both clergy and lay members. The current three-year term of Bristol Diocesan Synod ends in July 2024, so a new Synod will be elected.

Hear from past and present Synod members about why your voice matters and why they stood, to represent their parishes in the video below.

Next Steps: Nomination

If you or somebody you know seem like a good fit or feel called to stand in the Diocesan Synod Elections, please contact the Governance Support Team at or call the Diocesan Office on 0117 906 0100 for an informal conversation.

You will need to be nominated or seconded by someone in your Deanery Synod. If you are not sure who currently sits on your Deanery Synod, please get in touch with Governance Support for a list of names.

We are holding an online Diocesan Synod Elections Q&A on Thursday May 9, 11:30am - 12:30 pm for both lay and clergy members where current members will share their experiences of what it's like to be on Diocesan Synod and how to be nominated.

Register for the online Q&A session here

Guidance and the nomination forms are available below.

Nomination forms and election guidance

Election guidance and timetable

Important dates

  • 22 April - Nominations Open
  • 13 May - Nominations Close
  • 7 June - Elections Start
  • 24 June - Elections End
  • 1 August - New Synod Members take office

Downloadable resources

We would really appreciate if you could help us spread the word about Diocesan Synod Elections taking place, particularly as we want to ensure that the next Synod is even more diverse and inclusive. Please find below assets for posters and social media posts that you can share in your churches or on your social media pages.

Posters and Leaflets Social Media Posts

Frequently asked questions

What is Diocesan Synod?

The Diocesan Synod is the largest and most representative governing body in a diocese, and operates at the highest level of overview. It contributes to setting direction by acting as a sounding board and forum for debate and giving higher level approval.

Who can stand?

Clergy and lay people stand separately for Houses of Clergy and Laity. The House of Laity is made up of lay people - church members who are not bishops, priests, or deacons. The House of Clergy is made up of clergy members who hold a license in the Diocese.

Any member of the church (a member of the Church of England who is confirmed or is ready to be confirmed and who has received Holy Communion according to the use of the Church of England at least three times during the last 12 months) who is over the age of 16 and is on the electoral roll can stand for election. This includes all licensed clergy and Licensed Lay Ministers. Lay people do not need to be PCC or Deanery Synod members already.

What is an electoral roll and how do I get on it?

An electoral roll is the list of electors at a church. In the same way that being on the civic electoral roll allows you to vote in parliamentary and local elections and referenda, joining a church electoral roll means that you can vote on church matters, attend the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) and stand for election to the PCC and Deanery Synod.

You can speak to your PCC Secretary, churchwardens or vicar about how to get on the electoral roll.

Who can nominate and elect members?

Deanery Synod members. This includes current Diocesan and General Synod members who are ex-officio Deanery Synod members. 

A deanery is a collection of parishes across a wider area. In the Diocese of Bristol, there are seven deaneries. The Deanery Synod is the part of the synodical system between the PCC and Diocesan Synod, elected to represent parishes. 

You can contact Governance Support for a list of your Deanery Synod members. You can also find out this information by visiting

What Deanery am I in?

You can see a map of deaneries and find out who leads each deanery here. You can also find out which deanery your parish is in and who the Deanery Synod members are in your and other parishes by searching the Bristol Diocese Directory.

How many members can be elected?

Elected places for Diocesan Synod are in proportion to the number of clergy and church members in that deanery. If a larger number stand than there are places for, an election is required. Additionally, the synod has bishop’s nominees, ex-officio and co-opted members.

Deanery No. of clergy No. of laity
Bristol South 6 7
Bristol West 9 11
City 12 9
Chippenham 4 7
Kingswood & South Gloucestershire 14 12
North Wiltshire 4 7
Swindon 9 10
Total 58 63
Election timetable
  • Nomination forms and notices distributed - 22 April
  • Nominations close - 13 May
  • Ballot papers issued - 7 June
  • Closing date for return of ballot papers - 24 June
  • Election count results - by 5 July
  • New Synod Members take office - 1 August
  • Induction meeting - evening of 9 October

Term of office 

1 August 2024 to 31 July 2027

What is the time commitment?

Normally, three in-person meetings a year. These have generally happened on Saturday mornings in accessible locations in Bristol and Swindon.

We also ask attendees to read the papers ahead of each Synod, so that they digest and think, and pray.  In between synods we also encourage people to engage and keep discussions going with other members, and Dicesan Support Services via

What's expected from members?

Members participate in small group discussions, provide feedback, can speak in debates and vote on decisions. They are supported in reporting back to Deanery Synod and PCCs. Members have the opportunity to join other key committees and working groups, including Bishop’s Council.

What gets discussed?

The Diocesan Synod considers matters relating to the work and mission of the Church of England. It formulates diocesan policy on a wide range of issues, advises the bishop and is consulted by them, and  contributes to and approves the diocese’s plans and budget. 

For example, over the last few years, the Bristol Diocesan Synod became the first Diocesan Synod in the Church of England to declare a climate emergency and commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2030. It also called upon bodies in the diocese to become Living Wage employers. In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the diocesan synod dedicated one of its meetings fully to prayer and another to engaging with Transforming Church. Together. 

The Bishop gives an address at every meeting. Reports, business and motions are brought from boards and teams in the diocese (e.g. Education, Ministry Development) and from Deanery Synods. Matters are also referred from the General Synod. 

Find out more about Diocesan Synod and read previous Synod reports here.

Will I understand the meeting procedures?

Although there are set procedures involved in parts of meetings to help manage participation, we work hard to ensure meetings are informal, participatory and accessible. We make sure that rules and processes are explained – in writing and on the day – and that members are inducted  and supported effectively. 

What about my accessibility needs and expenses?

We continue to develop measures in relation to papers and resources, venues, audio-visual elements and worship to ensure that the Diocesan Synod is inclusive as possible. We are keen to support individual needs and receive further recommendations. Please contact the Diocesan Disability Adviser, Alice Kemp if you would like to discuss further. Travel expenses and childcare arrangements will be supported for meetings.

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