The Convocation of the English Clergy
is a synodical
assembly of the Church of England
consisting of bishops and clergy.
Background and introduction
Since the church is divided into two provinces
, there are properly speaking two convocations, the Convocation of Canterbury
and the Convocation of York
. These assemblies have a history stretching back to mediaeval times; but their status, composition, and powers have changed greatly over the years. Today, the Church of England is indeed governed synodically; but by a new assembly called General Synod
, which includes lay members in additional to clerical and meets as a single body for both provinces. Some types of General Synod legislation, however, require separate approval from each of the provincial convocations, and so they still exist and continue to meet.
Each convocation has an upper house
, for bishops
, and a lower house
, for other clergy
. All diocesan bishops
have a seat in their province's convocation; the suffragan bishops
of a province elect a few from among themselves to join them. Most of the "proctors"
(members) of the lower house are elected to represent a diocese
from among the clergy of that diocese, although a handful serve ex officio
or are elected by special constituencies (such as universities or cathedral dean
). Bishops and clergy are members of General Synod by virtue of their membership in one convocation or the other; thus the convocations form a subset of General Synod and can always... Read More