A prolocutor is a chairman of some ecclesiastical assemblies in Anglicanism. In the Church of England, the prolocutor is chairman of the lower house of the Convocations of Canterbury and York, the House of Clergy. He presides in that house and acts as representative and spokesman in the upper house. He is elected by the lower house for a period of five years at the beginning of each quinquennium of the General Synod of the Church of England. The term means one who speaks for others (Lat. pro, for, and loqui, to speak). Following the inauguration of the General Synod in 2015, Canon Simon Butler was elected as the Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury. The Venerable Cherry Vann was elected as Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of York.
Usage in the Anglican Church of Canada
In the Anglican Church of Canada, the prolocutor of the General Synod acts as the deputy to the Primate. As such, he or she ranks as the second executive officer of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada. The current prolocutor is the Ven Harry Huskins, who previously served as Deputy Prolocutor.
Each of the four Ecclesiastical Provinces also has a Prolocutor, who serves a similar function, as a deputy to the Metropolitan (Archbishop) of the Province.
The office of Prolocutor has its origins in the bi-cameral Provincial and General Synods. The relevant Archbishop (Primate or Metropolitan) acted as President of the Upper House (Bishops), and the Prolocutor was the elected President of the Lower House (Clergy and Laity). These Synods are no longer fully bi-cameral, but the office of Prolocutor is retained with different functions. The General Synod reverts to a bi-cameral structure for the election of the Primate, during which the Prolocutor chairs the meeting of the Clergy and Laity. In addition the Constitution provides for separate meetings of the three Orders (Bishops, Clergy and Laity) in which the Prolocutor and Deputy Prolocutor chair the Orders of Clergy and Laity.
The antecedents of the Canadian office are in the Convocations of the Church of England, in which the Lower House comprises clergy, laity not being members of Convocations. Only clergy and laity, not bishops, may serve as Prolocutor.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Glossary of the handbook of the Anglican Church of Canada Retrieved 24 Feb 2007
- Canon III, Handbook of the Anglican Church of Canada retrieved 8 August 2013
- Constitution of the General Synod, Section 6 retrieved 8 August 2013
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