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26. INAUGURATION OF THE GENERAL SYNOD

The Council reported to the Corporation at the 1971 annual general meeting:

The opening session of the new Synod took place in the Assembly Hall on the afternoon of Wednesday, 4th November 1970, in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen, and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. His Grace The Archbishop of Canterbury greeted Her Majesty and invited her to address the General Synod. . . The occasion was historic. It is believed that never before has a Sovereign attended an ecclesiastical synod in this country.

HM The Queen inaugurating the first General Synod, 4 November 1970
HM The Queen inaugurating the first General Synod, 4 November 1970

Since then, Her Majesty the Queen has inaugurated each newly constituted General Synod at five-yearly intervals. These ceremonies have been held in the Assembly Hall after a service of inauguration in Westminster Abbey.

Her Majesty with the Secretary-General, Mr Derek Pattinson, at the inauguration of the fourth General Synod in 1985.
Her Majesty with the Secretary-General, Mr Derek Pattinson,
at the inauguration of the fourth General Synod in 1985.

Many important and memorable debates have take place in the Assembly and other Halls, both before and after the creation of the General Synod. Most recently, those that have received much publicity have been 'The Church and the Bomb' (televised in 1983) and in 1987 the debate on the proposals to introduce legislation to enable the ordination of women into the priesthood. In 1987 too, a great deal of interest was generated when, on successive days, the Synod debated the Church's attitude to AIDS and a call to return to Biblical standards of sexual morality.

The General Synod, February 1987, votes in favour of legislation authorising the ordination of women into the priesthood.
The General Synod, February 1987, votes in favour of legislation
authorising the ordination of women into the priesthood.

One major achievement of the Synod has been the introduction, in 1980, of the Alternative Service Book. Earlier Measures have included a proper pension scheme for the clergy, a comprehensive system of pastoral reorganisation - including the disposal of redundant churches - and the amalgamation of Queen Anne's Bounty and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners into one corporate body, the Church Commissioners.

From the Book "The Church House 1888-1988 - A Moment in the Life of the Church"
Published by the Corporation of the Church House in their Centenary Year