Nominations have opened for General Synod, the Church of England's decision-making and governance body, for its next five-year term 2021-2026.
The nomination period will last from 30 July to 8 September 2021, and the votes will be counted in October.
Each diocese is allocated a number of places for clergy and lay (non-ordained) people in General Synod – the number of places varies according to the size of each diocese.
Synod usually meets twice a year for five days each in London and in York.
The Diocese of Bristol is looking for both clergy and lay members to stand for General Synod; for interested, engaged people from all different backgrounds and with varied experiences, who want to help the Church of England become a better church.
Any church member over the age of 16 is eligible to stand for election, as well as all licensed clergy.
No previous experience of or knowledge about being a synod member is necessary and there will be support and guidance for new members, and time and space for them to develop their understanding.
The Church of England is looking for a leadership that is as diverse and varied as the communities it serves, to represent a wide variety of views and perspectives. As well as considering standing for election yourself, please do think about whether there is anyone in your church who you might encourage to stand.
The Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol, said: "Every organisation needs good governance and the Church of England is governed by synods. At this time of year we are beginning the process of looking for those prepared to stand for election to the General Synod of the Church of England.
"Come and join us nationally as in our synods we seek God's will. We need your energy and your commitment."
Revd Kat Campion-Spall, associate vicar at St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, and previous General Synod member, said: "When I was 25 my vicar asked me if I'd ever thought about being on General Synod and the answer was clearly no - I don't think I'd ever even heard of it. But I did stand and I got elected.
"Think about the people around you. Is there someone at your church who has that passion, that big picture vision, who might be someone you could encourage, like my vicar encouraged me?”
Sophie Mitchell, General Synod member, said: “I stood for synod because I wanted the governance structures to reflect my church and my generation. It’s so important that younger people and people of all backgrounds have their voices heard and are involved in decisions about the future of the Church of England.”
Find out about standing for General Synod here.