The primary purpose of the Synod is to enact legislation for the whole Church of Ireland. Bills, which are proposals for legislation, are considered and become Acts or Statutes if approved. Less formal proposals are submitted as motions which, if approved, become resolutions. The Synod also receives reports from various Committees and Boards, which are debated by the members. Committees of the Synod are normally elected by the Synod for a three–year term of office.
The General Synod consists of three Orders: the Bishops, the Clergy and the Laity. The three Orders sit together as two Houses: the House of Bishops and the House of Representatives. The Archbishops and Bishops sit as the House of Bishops. The House of Representatives numbers 216 clerical and 432 lay members who are elected by the Diocesan Synods and who hold office for a three–year period.
The President (or Chairman) of the General Synod is the Archbishop of Armagh. At the start of the triennium, the Synod elects four Honorary Secretaries, two clerical and two lay, to oversee the running of the Synod and its Standing Committee. There is normally one clerical and one lay Honorary Secretary from each of the Provinces of Armagh and Dublin.
The Standing Committee carries out the work of the General Synod during the year. It meets six times during the year and totals 71 members representing the three Orders.
The day–to–day work of servicing the Synod and its numerous Committees is carried out by the Synod Services and Communications Department of the Representative Church Body, based in Church of Ireland House in Dublin. The Head of the Department and Assistant Secretary of the General Synod is Janet Maxwell, assisted by Catherine Smith as Synod Officer.
All communications should be addressed to:
The Assistant Secretary of the General Synod of the Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland House
Tel: +353 (0)1 497 8422
Fax: +353 (0)1 497 8821