Eastern Synod is one of thirteen synods in the United Reformed Church.
The synod covers a vast area. From bustling cities, to seaside towns, to stunning countryside, we’ve got it all! Nearly 100 churches spanning from the south in Essex, covering the area north of the Thames up to the M25. Heading northbound we cover parts of Hertfordshire, and further up, covering all of Cambridgeshire, East Anglia makes up the remainder of the synod, going out to the beautiful coastal, Norfolk towns of Great Yarmouth, Southwold, then into Suffolk.
You can find where all our churches are here.
The synod is divided into Area Partnerships:
- It’s a network of United Reformed Churches (including Local Ecumenical Partnerships and ministers serving as chaplains) serving a defined geographical area within the Eastern Synod Area Partnerships are convened by a synod-appointed Pastoral Advocate (of which there may be more than one).
- To deepen relationships between local churches, particularly through mutual awareness, local issues, shared news and prayer;
- To share in discussions about mission, resources, pastoral support and mutual encouragement.
The Synod Meetings tend to begin at 10.30, with refreshments at 10.00am. Meetings finish with worship at 3.30pm, with refreshments served following worship at 4.00pm.
We do not arrange a creche as a matter of course at our meetings, but please contact us in good time to allow us to investigate setting up a creche if you would make use of the facility.
Synod minutes can be found here.
Synod Papers can be found here.
- It’s a public meeting, so anyone can attend;
- Its voting members are one representative from each church, along with all Ministers of Word and Sacraments and Church Related Community Workers, along with some co-opted members.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can attend a synod meeting?
Synod meetings are public meetings, so anyone can attend! However, only members of Synod will be permitted to speak unless the Moderator (chair) gives permission. Likewise, only members issued with a voting card are permitted to vote.
Will my travel expenses be reimbursed?
If you are a voting member of the Synod Meeting or an invited speaker or guest, your travelling expenses can be claimed back from the Synod Office by filling in an expenses claim form, which will be sent to you ahead of the day.
Observers are not permitted to claim any costs, but you may be able to organise to share transport with a member of Synod from your area.
Meeting venues (churches!) are usually chosen because of their available rooms, convenience of access, and are spread around the synod
Is lunch provided?
Please bring a packed lunch. Tea and Coffee are provided by the host church upon arrival, during lunch, and at the close of our meeting.
This is my first synod, what can I expect?
If this is your first Synod Meeting, don’t worry, you’re amongst friends. The business parts of the meeting are well explained and the Moderator and Clerk guide us through the business. You may find it all confusing at first, but we hope you’ll soon know what’s going on.
Is the venue accessible?
Every effort is made to choose a venue which is fully accessible to those with mobility issues, as well as a loop system and large text PowerPoint screens for those with hearing and sight difficulties. If you have any special requirements to further help you participate fully in our meetings, please contact the Synod Clerk well in advance of the meeting so suitable arrangements can be made, if practicable.
Do I have to vote the way my church wants me to vote?
No! Your church should not be instructing you how to vote on particular matters. As a member of Synod you are a representative of your local church, not a delegate. You should, however, share the views of your local church during the debate if they are relevant to the discussion. But your primary role in the meeting is to hear the views of others, pray, and listen for the leading of the Holy Spirit – in order to discern the best decision for the Synod as a whole, and not only the local church you represent.
How long does a meeting last?
Synod meetings usually begin at 10am with arrivals and registration. Tea and coffee will be available. The meeting usually begins at 10:30am with worship. There will be wriggle breaks between sessions and a longer lunch break in the middle to chat and socialise with others. Usually the day concludes around 4pm No later, but sometimes earlier!!