Delegates are the officially elected individuals who attend Convention of General Synod to discuss and vote on the many issues and concerns of the LCANZ, including the ordination of women.
for General Synod 2024
The roles, requirements, and election procedures for delegates are set out in the official By-laws of the LCANZ Constitution in Section 7.1.
By-laws 7.1.1 to 7.1.4 cover the appointment of Lay Delegates
These are the duly elected representatives of a parish. Some congregations are not part of a parish and are referred to as single point parishes. Using the 2020 Year Book, we estimate that there are approximately 271 parishes (515 congregations) in the LCANZ at present. Each parish is entitled to one delegate per 400 confirmed members at Convention of General Synod.
Correct Procedures for the election of Lay Delegates
Lay Delegates are usually elected at a congregation/parish AGM or a special meeting called for this purpose.
For either an AGM or special meeting, two weeks’ notice in writing to all voting members of a congregation/parish is required.
Elected delegates serve for the synodical period (i.e. from one Convention of General Synod up until immediately prior to the next)
Delegate details will need to be added to LAMP2* using the appropriate form by end of March 2024
Even if a parish does not have anyone available at the time of the AGM or special meeting to commit to the role, a delegate must have been elected and registered in LAMP2 before an alternate can be appointed. This is very important for two reasons.
- Firstly, because an alternate can only be appointed if a delegate has already been elected and entered into LAMP2.
- Secondly, the alternate only serves for the duration of the Convention of General Synod. The elected lay delegate serves for the entire synodical term.
NOTE: Further to this, as per the nomination form for parishes, (click here to view)
“… please note that the LCA policy is that all leaders in the church should have completed the LCA Safe Church Level 1 workshops and hold a Working With Children Check. As General Synod is the highest governance body of the LCA, all delegates should hold these certifications. If you do not hold them at the time of election there are opportunities to complete the workshops prior to Convention. Please see the calendars for online and face-to-face work shops here."
Alternate Lay Delegates
By-law 7.1.4 covers the appointment of Alternate Delegates
If a delegate is unable to attend the Convention of General Synod the right to vote can be given to someone else from within the parish OR another parish. This person is known as an Alternate Delegate. The District Bishop must be consulted if an alternate lay person cannot be elected from within the Congregation/Parish.
If no-one is available from within the parish, an Alternate Delegate from another parish may be appointed.
HOWEVER, in 2018, several alternate delegates were initially disqualified for the reason outlined above: the parish had not elected a lay delegate in the first place.
The key here is to follow the relevant by-law to the letter, as set out in By-law 7.1.4:
When an elected lay delegate cannot attend a convention of the General Synod and the parish cannot find a substitute from its midst, the parish may request permission from the Bishop of the District to appoint its pastor, should the pastor not be a pastor delegate, or a member from another parish, to act as the alternate for its elected lay delegate at such convention.
NOTE: the general preference is NOT to appoint a pastor, as this may influence the 2:1 ratio of Lay Delegates to Pastor Delegates - see below
By-laws Section 7.1.2
covers the appointment of Pastor Delegates
These are the duly elected representatives of the pastors of the Church.
The pastors of each district elect the allotted number of pastor delegates for their district.
The number of pastor delegates is on the basis of one pastor for every two eligible lay delegates in each district. The number of lay delegates is based on statistics from the previous year.
Further to this, 2/3 of ordained ALC staff and all ordained Executive Officers of the Church are appointed as pastor delegates.
The Constitution (7.2.8) also states that General Synod includes all Bishops, past Bishops of the Church and 3 pastors emeriti nominated by the General Church Board.
All pastors, current and emeriti, are entitled and expected to attend General Pastors Conference and can vote on all matters except for the nomination of Bishop and Assistant Bishop.
NOTE: Retired pastors can also attend GPC, and may exert substantial influence on the overall meeting as they are able to both vote and contribute to discussion.
We would greatly encourage our retired pastors who support the ordination of women to attend the GPC in 2024. If finances are needed to attend, then please contact SDC. We may be able to assist or raise funds to assist those in need.
(If you would like to make a donation to this end, please click here for details).
Proportion of Lay & Pastor Delegates
According to the LCANZ Constitution, the number of pastor delegates is based on one pastor for every two lay delegates in each district This was established to ensure that - as well as human processes can - the views and voices of lay people, the people in the pews' are heard in the decision making of the church. (See article by former LCA Secretary, Pastor Neville Otto here.)
It is up to the 'people in the pews' - you and me - to ensure parish representation through Lay Delegates and, if necessary, Alternate Delegate attendance at Convention of General Synod.
Pastors, it is up to you to be prayerfully and diplomatically engaging your colleagues in both attendance and positive and encouraging conversation and behaviours at GPC AND when it comes to the election of parish lay delegates.