Reporting back from the Diocesan Synod held in July 2015

Diocesan Synod
July 2015

Bishop Anne of AstonThe meeting started with prayers followed by Bishop David’s briefing. He said that the new Bishop of Aston, Rev Anne Hollinghurst, was likely to arrive in November, although he did not have confirmed dates as yet.

Passing the batonGrowing Younger
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There was a brief update on progress given by Rev Rhiannon King. All the Mission Apprentices have been appointed. Applications are being short listed for the other posts. There will be a new Diocesan Youth Officer and also a Fund Raiser who be tasked to raise £1 million over three years to support the project. The Diocese has been awarded a grant of £10, 000 to undertake an evaluation of the project.

St Luke’s, Gas Street: the £500,000 needed for building work has been obtained and planning permission granted.

Rhiannon concluded by saying that they have a small group who pray for all the churches and chaplaincies in the Diocese each weekday morning. She asked that we all pray for all the appointments that are in the process being made.

Reform and Renewal Programme – Diocesan Consultation

One issue that was raised at General Synod in February 2015 was how to take the Great Commission to each generation when church numbers are declining and there are large numbers of clergy approaching retirement.

The Archbishops put forward proposals for Reform and Renewal with six elements of the emerging programme:

  • Developing Discipleship;
  • Resourcing Ministerial Education;
  • Resourcing the Future; proposals relating to Simplification of the Church’s rulebook;
  • New arrangements for Discerning and Nurturing Senior Leaders;
  • Paper on the possibility of some additional time-limited distributions from Church Commissioner funds to help support elements of the programme.

A useful blog with more detail can be found at:

Subsequently there have been a series of ‘conversations’ with dioceses across the country.

Synod members had already had the opportunity to read the briefing papers.

Mary Chapman, Archbishops’ appointee, told Synod what they had found so far from other dioceses. There was:

  • a universal ambition for growth;
  • a desire to keep the parish system;
  • a wish to strengthen clergy and build lay leadership.
  • an overall aim was to grow in numbers and in Spirit.

Synod then broke into small groups to discuss this further. Whilst there was general support for the proposals some anxieties were expressed.

There was uncertainty as to exactly what ‘lay leadership’ looked like. Also, as a poor diocese we can generally manage to afford to train all those going forward to for ordination however, it is more difficult to fund larger numbers of newly ordained curates going forward.

Diocesan Board of Finance Report

Highlights from the report relating to the Common Fund:

  • It has increased by £150,000 following new system
  • Common Fund is 54% of the Diocese’ income
  • Budget for 2016 – Common Fund to increase by 0.9% rather than the 2% originally indicated to church treasurers

The meeting closed with a blessing

Report compiled by St John’s Diocesan Synod Rep, Carol Dealey.






28th Jul 2015 Posted in: News by Stella Jennings 0

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