The Synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD)
The synod has the responsibility for discussing and taking decisions on issues which concern the EKD. These include church legal matters (e.g. budget, employment regulations, data protection, etc.) as well as documents submitted by the Council and the Church Conference, and, under certain conditions, motions and petitions. In their discussion of them synod members are not bound by instructions and are free to vote as they think fit. According to the constitution of the EKD, the synod has 120 members. Of these, 100 members are elected by the synods of the 20 member churches, while 20 members are appointed by the Council having special regard for persons of particular importance for the life of the church as a whole and for the work of the church's agencies. Two substitutes are elected or appointed for each synod member.
The synod is elected for a term of six years. It is presided over by a seven-member presidium elected by synod members from among their own number at their first constitutive session, as are the standing committees.
Since 1991, the synod has had nine standing committees ("Scripture and proclamation", "Diakonia, mission and ecumenism", "Legal matters", "Church, society and state", "Education, training and youth", "Budget", "Europe", "Protecting creation (environment and development)" and "Nominations"). In addition, at its first constitutive session the synod elects ten members who - together with three representatives of the Church Conference - form the "Council Election Committee".
The committees do a major part of the work of the synod in specific areas. Each committee does preparatory work for the synod debates on its own area. During the meetings of the synod, all the items on the agenda, including motions and petitions to the synod, after being introduced and an initial debate in plenary, are referred to the relevant committees for discussion.
The outcome of the work of the committees is normally draft resolutions for discussion and ultimate decision by the synod. These may also take the form of a public declaration, of which the commonest form is a statement.
As a rule, the EKD Synod meets once a year in a different place for several days. The meetings are open to the public. The synod almost always has a so-called "main issue". To prepare input for the issue, the presidium appoints a so-called preparatory committee, composed half of synod members and half of specialists from public life.
A book of reports of each meeting of the synod is published, containing the proceedings of the plenary sessions and the resolutions.