Synod is important because it has the power to make the rules (although major pieces of legislation still have to go before Parliament). So I suppose that if it didn't exist, it would be necessary to invent it. But would it look the same? I can think of some good things about synod:
1. Making decisions at national level gives coherence to church policy
2. Having an elected body makes decision-making democratic and saves us from being at the mercy of Bishops' bright ideas.
3. Meeting 3 times a year focuses attention on Synod and means debates are held in the glare of publicity - some people don't like this but generally, more scrutiny leads to better decision making.
All very good. But I can also think of some things that aren't so good.
1. The house system. Not Gryffindor, Slytherin, et al, but something equally arcane: the houses of Bishops, Clergy, and Laity. The three houses are elected separately but comprise the synod together. Sometimes they all vote together and sometimes separately. The House of Bishops meets independently but the others rarely do. I can see the need to balance out the numbers of clergy against the rest, but do we really need this Byzantine level of complexity? It just adds to the air of Barchester that still surrounds the C of E and makes it hard for the ordinary churchgoer to relate to the process.
2. There's a problem with the representation of the laity. This is partly due to circumstances: having to go to three residential synods a year rules out the majority of people of working age, and results in a slightly aged membership. But it's also because of the unfortunate electoral system which means that the only people who can vote for the House of Laity are those who are members of Deanery Synods. This really isn't a good thing.
3. It's a bit .. well .. dull. This summer I followed the synod in real time, thanks to the new live feed and because of the crucial debate on women bishops. It was a painful experience which left me feeling only sympathy for the delegates who gather three times a year for this hot-air fest. Apart from the incomprehensible procedures which accompanied the showpiece motion (three hours of debate on whether to have the debate, what was that about?), there were the other debates on points of liturgy and such like, topics which don't lend themselves to the cut and thrust of the debating chamber. I can understand why we need to gather 378 people together to decide on major changes like women bishops, but do they all need their say on every minor change? It wouldn't be too difficult to make the whole thing slicker and less cumbersome, for example by delegating minor business to committees.
Maybe the new Synod could have a debate about this? Good luck to all standing, you have my prayers. You'll need them if you win.