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The General Synod of the Church of England is its elective legislative body. Measures of Synod, once endorsed by the United Kingdom Parliament, become part of the Statute Law of England.
It is representative of the Anglican notion of dispersed authority whereby such authority as lies within the Synod is held between all three houses. The two Archbishops are ex officio Presidents and a number of Vice-Presidents, all of who can and do take the chair at major sessions are elected from both the lay and clerical houses.
Synod appoints a number of Boards, e.g. of Education, to oversee and co-ordinate the national work of the Church: these correspond to the major Divisions in the Church House administration.
Synod has three Houses:
The House of Bishops consists of the Diocesan bishops of the English Dioceses and the Diocese of Europe but not the Suffragan bishops .
Bold textThe House of Clergy consists of the Proctors in Convocation elected by the ordinary licensed clergy of the two provinces together with some special representatives - the Suffragans elect a limited number from amongst themselves for instance as do Cathedral Deans. Archdeacons are no longer directly represented but must stand for election as Proctors
The House of Laity consists of representatives elected from Dioceses in proportion to their size by the lay members of the Deanery Synods with some special representatives from the Universities and the Relgious Orders for example.
Significant Legislation requires a majority in all three houses to be adopted, sometimes a minimum figure will also be set in advance so that the scheme to re-unite with the Methodist Church failed because of an insufficient magority in the House of Clergy even though it passed in the other two houses.