Diocesan synod, June 2016
Bishop Christopher gave a presidential address which reflected on the EU referendum debate, the death of Jo Cox MP, and the extent to which we have ‘control’ of our lives or are dependent on others. The full text can be read here.
EMERGING BUDGET PRESSURES
Malcolm Twigger-Ross gave a presentation to Synod on the emerging budget pressures for 2017. You can see his slides here.
The surplus in the diocesan management accounts at the end of 2015, was partly because some lump sums of parish share owing from previous years were paid, and partly because some clergy positions hadn’t been filled (because of pastoral reorganisation or a lack of suitable candidates).
Going forward, particular pressures in 2017 and following years were the need to invest in the Portsmouth Pathway training for ordinands and Readers, increases in the Isle of Wight allowance and the new post of Director of Vocations and Ordinands. The latter role has been developed in response to the national drive to increase vocations nationally by 50 per cent by the year 2020.
In 2017 reductions in grant funding from the Church Commissioners and an above expected rise of 4.4 per cent in our contribution to the work of the central church, along with our intention to offer more places to training curates, are all placing demands on our diocesan budget.
The diocese had also applied to the Church Commissioners for £900,000 to help fund its £2.4m investment in new pioneer ministers and a new church plant in Portsmouth. An outcome to this application was awaited, but if received the money must be used for new work rather than for underpinning existing expenditure commitments.
It might seem that clergy numbers are falling and the pool of suitable candidates is shrinking. In fact, the number of candidates coming forward for ordination is actually rising to record levels, but that it is still not enough to replace the number of clergy who are retiring or who will retire in the next 10 years.
DBF 2015 ANNUAL REPORT AND ACCOUNTS
Our annual reports and accounts were received, as a record of the work that had been done throughout the diocese during 2015. You can read a full copy of the 2015 annual report here, the statutory accounts here, and the Pompey Chimes summary of the 2015 annual report here.
Diocesan Synod thanked those who had produced the reports, especially the diocesan staff, and encouraged members to share the reports with their PCCs and parishes.
MISSION AND MINISTRY – EQUIPPING FOR THE FUTURE.
Revd Canon Anthony Rustell, head of Mission, Discipleship and Ministry and Revd Charlie Peer, Mission Development Officer, gave a presentation on how we might help parishes to develop in mission. They focussed on what is currently available to help parishes to deepen discipleship, grow lay leaders and encourage community engagement. Slides of the presentation are here.
Synod members then split into small groups, using some of the materials from the ‘Leading Your Church Into Growth’ initiative.
Among the comments were the need for specific training for specific needs, and the fact that training for lay leaders was more acute during interregnums.
GENERAL SYNOD REPORT
General Synod member Mark Emerton gave a report to synod on the working of the General Synod. There had not been a session since the February Diocesan Synod, so there was no past business to report on but he reminded members that the next session takes place in York from July 8.
This meeting will look at changes to church rules as a result of discussions over the Renewal and Reform agenda. It will also include shared conversations on human sexuality and how General Synod might conduct the debate in a better way, following previous difficulties over women bishops. Mark Emerton asked the synod members to pray for these discussions to take place against a background of a commitment to unity and fellowship amongst the body of Christ.