Below are some tabs outlining the structure of the synod. Do have a browse around to find out who is involved and what functions they carry out. If you need to get in touch with a particular group, committee, or individual, please do contact us.

Synod Officers

  • to take urgent action as necessary between meetings of Synod or its committees;
  • to make arrangements for meetings of Synod, developing detailed agendas;
  • to manage the process for Synod appointments, both paid and unpaid;
  • to manage office arrangements and administration work - including establishment numbers within budget - for the Moderator and the Training Team, and for liaison between Synod and the local churches;
  • to manage staff relations within employment legislation, including setting office staff salaries;
  • to monitor performance against the Administration Fund Budget;
  • in every case asking what the ecumenical implications are.

The Synod officers comprise of three role-holders, the Synod Moderator, the Synod Clerk and the Synod Treasurer. You can find out more about them here.

Officers and Conveners

  • to meet after each Synod meeting, and for an extended period once per year;
  • to develop proposals for Synod strategy, for approval by Synod;
  • monitor that responsibility for actions that support Synod-approved policy or that respond to General Assembly assignments, is allocated comprehensively and appropriately;
  • in every case asking what the ecumenical implications are.

Membership: Synod Moderator, Synod Clerk, Synod Treasurer, Convenor, Mission and Discipleship Committee, Convenor, Pastoral Committee

In attendance: Chair of the Trust

United Reformed Church (Eastern Province) Trust

Charity Number: 248796 - Company Number: 101685

The Charity is Limited by Guarantee and is registered at Companies House within the legal jurisdiction of England and Wales.

The Trust companies act as Corporate Trustees for property and investments on behalf of the Synod and those local churches who have appointed one of the four Trust Companies so to act.

Previously known as The Essex Incorporated Congregational Union.

Registered Office: Eastern Synod Office United Reformed Church 36 Duxford Road, Whittlesford, Cambridge, CB22 4ND.

The Chair of the Trust is Mr Andrew East.

There are six other members, also in attendance are the Synod Moderator, Synod Clerk and the Resources Officer.

Resources Committee

  • there will be four meetings a year.
  • to create task groups, with well-defined parameters, to deal with specific issues, as required.
  • to sustain, develop and deploy the financial and property resources of the Synod in accordance with the Synod's Finance and Property Policies and under the general oversight of the Trust Directors, in a way which best furthers the advancement of Christian worship and witness in this and future generations (bearing in mind the ecumenical context and implications of URC actions);
  • to manage pursuant to any delegated authority from the Synod Trust Company the financial affairs of the Synod, setting budgets and reporting thereon for the approval of the Synod Trust.
  • to give or withhold approval on behalf of the Synod under the terms of URC Acts (that is, for all acquisitions, disposals, leases, rentals and major alterations to property);
  • to advise the Trust Directors about financial and investment issues, contributions in Inter-Synod Resource Sharing, setting budgets and producing financial statements;
  • to ensure that accurate current information about available grants and loans, the criteria applying to each type and the relevant application process is accessible to constituent churches;
  • to make decisions about applications from local churches for Synod grants and loans within the constraints laid down in the Finance Policy and subject to budgetary provision;
  • to oversee the system for setting and monitoring constituent churches' contributions to the Assembly Ministry and Mission Fund;
  • to oversee the proper implementation of the Synod Manse Policy and Manse Fund Scheme;
  • to consider Listed Buildings Advisory Committee recommendations (reconstituting as the Property Committee when doing so.)


  • Convener (and Synod Treasurer)
  • Secretary: The Resources Officer
  • Synod Moderator
  • Synod Clerk
  • Synod Ministry & Mission Advocate
  • Up to 6 other members

In Attendance: Finance Officer, Resources Officer

Listed Buildings Advisory Committee

  • advises Resources Committee, when acting as Property Committee;
  • reviews listed buildings applications from local churches;
  • makes recommendations in line with the URC Procedure for Listed Buildings.


  • Convener - Mr Simon Plater
  • Secretary - Mr Keir Hounsome
  • Three other members.

Area Partnership Ministry and Mission Advocates

The Area Partnership M&M Advocates are the interface with local churches regarding the Ministry and Mission Fund. They help to explain the FairShare System that is used by the Eastern Synod in calculating church gifts to central funds, collect the necessary information needed from church treasurers and agree the amount of gifts that are pledged by the churches. They are the first point of call if a church has any questions or concerns regarding giving to the Ministry and Mission Fund.

You can find out who your local M&M Advocate is here.

Mission and Discipleship Committee

  • to resource local churches for mission, helping the Synod to engage in God's mission in the world around through outreach and development, always asking what the ecumenical implications are
  • to review Mission Grant applications (to authorise if under £10k in a single year, or make recommendations to Resources);
  • advocates the use of Synod resources for mission purposes;
  • to co-ordinate and enable initiatives that support growth, evangelism and social engagement;
  • co-ordinates and reviews the work with and contribution of children and young people within the Synod;
  • to encourage church planting and local church development;
  • to review reports from the Mission and Training Officer (MTO) and Children's and Youth Development Officer on development issues.


  • Convener: Revd Trevor Hahn
  • Secretary: Mrs Margaret Smith
  • Synod Moderator
  • Synod Clerk
  • Synod Treasurer
  • Church Growth & Evangelism Advocate: Revd Chris Kemshall
  • Faith in Action Advocate: Mr Robert Ogden
  • Children's and Youth Work Advocate: Mrs Margaret Smith
  • Revd Gillian Thomson
  • Staff in Attendance: CYDO, MTO, Finance Officer

Mission and Discipleship Committee

The Forum relates closely to the GA Mission Committee and the Joint Public Issues Team.

It endeavours to relate national and global issues to the local and provide a network for local issues to be shared within the Synod.

It seeks to present matters of concern to the Synod, arrange events, organise campaigns, and give links to websites which can provide further information.

To do this they may invite other relevant parties to attend to offer particular expertise for specific events, projects or pieces of work, on a temporary basis as the need arises.

  • to produce a rolling 3-year development plan for review and adoption by the Synod meeting;
  • to encourage initiatives in rural, suburban and urban settings that support growth, evangelism and social engagement;
  • to encourage Child Friendly Church Awards, or similar denomination initiatives;
  • to raise awareness and encourage reflection on matters of peace and justice for the whole of creation, and healing and reconciliation;
  • to encourage awareness of international and World Church issues;
  • to set the agenda for Church in Society matters and advise the Synod Officers accordingly.


  • Convener - Mr Robert Ogden (Faith in Action Advocate)
  • Synod Moderator
  • Synod Clerk
  • C+Y Work Advocate - Mrs Margaret Smith
  • Synod Representative to GA Mission Committee - Revd Alex Clare-Young
  • Green Advocate
  • Rural Life & Ministry Advocate
  • Spirituality Advocate
  • Synod Youth Representative
  • Commitment for Life Advocate
  • Global Partnership Coordinator
  • Interfaith Advocate
  • Link person for Safeguarding
  • Racial Justice and Multicultural Coordinator
  • Staff in attendance: CYDO, MTO

Pastoral Committee

  • There will be four meetings a year: 3 of the Core Group and one full annual meeting, at which the annual report will be received from each Area Partnership (AP). A further meeting will take place of the Convener; Secretary and APPAs, inviting those appropriate to the agenda to attend. Area Partnership Pastoral Advocates (APPA) will be encouraged to raise items on the Core Group agenda and will be invited to attend where appropriate.
  • Sustain and develop an overall vision for the way the ministry of the church serves the cause of the gospel in the Synod, and in particular always asking what the ecumenical implications are:
    • to co-ordinate the work of those responsible for specific aspects of ministry in the Synod, including lay preaching, other lay leadership, training and care of retired ministers, their spouses or widows/widowers;
    • to oversee Ministerial Accompanied Self-Appraisals (MASA);
    • to oversee the process and to receive Local Ministry and Mission Reviews (LMMR);
    • to approve on behalf of Synod of candidates and ordinands for the Ministry of Word and Sacraments and of candidates for CRCW ministry;
    • to arrange Enquirers’ Conferences;
    • to make strategic decisions in consultation with pastorates, and give advice on constitutional and/or resource aspects of local situations, including commendation of Special Ministries, LEPs and Ecumenical Areas;
    • to encourage a strong Synod relationship to the whole ecumenical scene;
    • to handle related matters that are passed for comment or action by an Area Partnership/Area of Ecumenical Cooperation, Synod or General Assembly;
    • to consider special category ministers, CRCWs and deployment aspects of new church developments;
    • to provide Stepwise support;
    • to decide ministerial deployment within the target agreed with Assembly in consultation with Area Partnerships; and to manage the ministerial vacancy process, including giving (or where pastorally necessary withholding) concurrence to a call.
    • to exercise oversight and care of local churches by: (a) establishing Area Partnerships and Areas of Ecumenical Cooperation; and (b) giving concurrence to proposed church groupings
    • overseeing of the implications of safeguarding and good practice with children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Core Membership:

  • Convener - Revd Anne Sardeson
  • Secretary - Mr Andy Fleming
  • Synod Moderator
  • Synod Clerk
  • Synod Treasurer
  • Ecumenical Officer: Revd Dr Janet Tollington
  • Advocate for Health & Healing
  • Advocate for Lay Preachers - Mrs Faith Paulding
  • APPA Representative - Revd Phil Nevard
  • Staff in attendance: MTO, Safeguarding Officer

Extended membership: Area Partnership Pastoral Advocates, County Ecumenical Officers