Diocese of Portsmouth

Diocesan synod, June 2018


Bishop Christopher gave his presidential address, in which he challenged synod members to think of their personal calling as disciples of Jesus. Read the whole text here.


The Ven Gavin Collins gave a report on the last General Synod meeting in February. Among the topics addressed were the theology behind the role of a bishop, a debate against the scandal of food waste, a debate taking forward the Anglican Methodist Covenant, a presentation about digital evangelism, and a debate affirming the dignity and value of people with Down’s Syndrome. Details can be found here.

The July sessions will include a debate about safeguarding, discussions on mission and evangelism, climate change, ethical investments and the ethics of nuclear weapons, a diocesan synod motion on the long-term sustainability of the NHS, and a presentation and debate on the Cathedrals Working Group Report.


Acting Diocesan Secretary Jenny Hollingsworth explained the proposed change to the budget timetable. She said that setting an interim budget for 2018-19 would allow for full and frank consultation, involving a newly-appointed Diocesan Secretary and Finance Director, before the triennial budget from November 2019-22.


Acting finance director Mary Makin explained that our diocese had been given a clean bill of health by the auditors, and said there had been a 2.3% increase in assets in 2017. The full annual report and accounts for 2017 can be downloaded here.


Synod members received a copy of the summary of deanery responses to our diocese’s Live: Pray: Serve strategy. It can be downloaded here. This paper can be used as a resource to see what the activities are at parish level and to encourage the process of moving forward.

Canon Karina Green, joint area dean for Havant, reflected on the process of collating responses in her deanery, which involved the area deans and one incumbent completing the forms based on conversations in each parish. They discovered many innovative activities already taking place in parishes.

The Rev Paul Gully, assistant area dean for Portsmouth, reflected on how the diocese can improve in the four main areas of our strategy: Making Disciples, Growing Churches, Lifelong Learning and Transforming Society.He asked synod members to look at the responses of their own deanery and at least one other deanery, and encouraged them to share resources across the diocese and between deaneries.He highlighted issues for consideration that included:

  • Support for building issues and development.
  • Responding to the needs of new housing developments.
  • Streamlining administration and governance to release people to serve, rather than simply maintaining structures.
  • Deanery-based ‘Messy Church’ networks or days of prayer to explore different ways of praying
  • How can we better avoid perceptions that only one style and model of growth is valued?
  • And how can we do all of the above in an ecumenical context?

The discussion after this report reflected the desire for parishes to liaise with other parishes to share good practice and learn from each other


‘Setting God’s People Free; is a report that was first presented at General Synod in 2017 about the role of lay people in the Church, It can be read here. Our diocese is one of the pilot dioceses for this initiative.

Synod members heard a presentation that illustrated the report’s aims towards widening the role of vocation and mission for lay ministry and highlighted:

The difference between the ‘gathered’ and the ‘sent’ Church. The need to nurture those who walk with Christ so they can walk with confidence with others. The suggestion that churches should not just be friendly but should offer friendship. The value of expressing an interest in people’s lives outside the Sunday church service

That presentation can be seen here.