Telling the stories of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia

The processes of change

Here's the seventh chapter of the WFWG report:

Way Forward Working Group  |  22 Feb 2016

This section of the report describes the processes by which a change can be made. 


The working group has recommended that the process be made over at least two General Synods / Hīnota Whanui.  The group recognises that some believe that even if the Church decides to make a change, it should take longer than this to do so.  The group has drafted this section in order for General Synod / te Hīnota Whanui to see what will be involved in a change which is made as quickly as possible.  However, it is entirely for General Synod / te Hīnota Whānui to determine the pace at which any change should be considered.  If General Synod / te Hīnota Whānui wishes to pause to consider the proposal, then it can defer consideration of this report.

There are two parallel processes that would follow if General Synod / te Hīnota Whānui were to adopt the proposals set out in this report.  These are: changes to the canons, and the adoption of formularies (commonly called liturgies).  Ordinarily, changes to canons do not require a multi-stage process, whereas changes to formularies do.  However, the group recommends the canonical changes proposed in this report follow the same path as the consideration of the formularies offered.  This would enable diocesan synods / amorangi to consider all the proposals as a whole: both canonical and liturgical.

These processes are described below, and summarised in a flow chart on page 23.

Changes to the Canons

Several changes to canons are required.  Te Pouhere allows for canonical changes to be made by motion to General Synod / te Hīnota Whānui, and are passed by a simple majority.  The working group suggests all the proposed canonical changes are best confirmed by  General Synod / te Hīnota Whānui in 2018, concurrent with final approval of the proposed rites of blessing, assuming these have been approved by a majority of the dioceses / amorangi in the intervening period.  The canonical changes proposed would have no application or meaning were the formularies not to be adopted, in which case neither set of proposals would proceed; each set of changes is dependent on the other.

Adoption of new liturgies

As already discussed, the adoption of a new rite or liturgy is a change to the formularies, and the procedure to effect such alterations is set out in section four of the Church of England Empowering Act 1928.  A change to the formularies of the Church of this province requires a “two-round” process of General Synod / te Hīnota Whānui. 

The first step is for the proposed changes to be considered by General Synod / te Hīnota Whānui in 2016, and if passed by simple majority, referred to diocesan synods / amorangi for consultation and approval during the period before General Synod / te Hīnota Whānui meets again.  In order to proceed to final approval at the meeting of Te Hīnota Whānui / General Synod in 2018, they must have been formally approved by a majority of the diocesan synods / amorangi.  Finally, in order to be passed at General Synod / te Hīnota Whānui 2018, a two thirds majority in each house (bishops, clergy, and laity) is required.

If General Synod / te Hīnota Whānui meeting in 2016 wishes to pursue the proposal contained in this report, it is suggested the meeting consider the motion indicated in section 11 of this report, which is an agreement in principle and indication of intent to refer the proposed rites of blessing to dioceses / amorangi for their approval, and to make the proposed canonical changes in 2018, depending on the proposed formularies having been approved according to the process described above.

It is important to note that both processes depicted on the following page are necessary, and they would be simultaneous. 

NB Flow chart of P23 of the original report cannot be reproduced on this website.