DIOCESAN SYNOD, November 2018
Bishop Christopher spoke about safeguarding, which is often described in terms of being a duty. In fact, our motivation to keep vulnerable people safe should come from our desire to become more Christ-like. Instead of asking what we must do to comply, we should be seeking to make the Church a place of refuge and safety for all. Safeguarding is not some kind of add-on, but a vital component in building the kingdom of God. To read the full address, click here.
General Synod rep Lucy Docherty spoke about the topics covered at July’s meeting, which included hearing from the survivors of clerical sexual abuse. Other topics covered included an evangelistic resource called Talking Jesus, the environment and the Church’s policy of active investment, nuclear weapons, the NHS and the Cathedrals Working Group. To read the full report, click here.
Bishop Christopher explained that there were a number of changes to the national Church of England’s safeguarding policies, which should be adopted by our diocese. His motion to adopt and recommit ourselves to those national policies was carried unanimously.
Diocesan Synod members then watched a play highlighting the experiences of four survivors of sexual abuse. ‘Finishing Touches’ by Brian Daniels was performed in our cathedral by four professional actors, and gave an insight into the difficulties of disclosing abuse, and its ongoing impact on the lives of survivors and their loved ones. After the play, our diocesan safeguarding team and the creative team who came up with the play answered questions about the issues it raised. To see photos of the play being performed, click here.
The Ven Joanne Grenfell, the Ven Gavin Collins, Victoria James and Jenny Hollingsworth gave a presentation to synod members about the progress of our diocese’s five-year plan to resource growth. The £9.65m plan, which involves investing new resources in certain areas of our diocese to create brand new congregations, had been unveiled three weeks beforehand as part of our live | pray | serve strategy. Informal consultation on the plans was still ongoing, and a bid was being prepared for a £4.9m grant from the Church Commissioners to help fund the initiative. To see the full presentation, click here.
In response, synod members asked questions about the future of existing clergy posts, how to involve lay people effectively in the initiative, what qualities any new staff would need ,where they might be recruited from and how long term sustainability could be achieved once the five year SDF funding had ended. To read more about the initiative, click here.
Acting director of finance Mary Makin presented details of the 2019 budget. You can read her full report to synod here. She told synod members that this was a one-year holding budget which had become necessary partly because several key senior staff weren’t in place to oversee a full three-year budget linking that to the development of the live | pray | serve strategy. It assumed that spending would be the same as in 2018, with an increase of 2.3% to account for inflation. She showed synod members figures showing that 62 per cent of the diocese’s income comes from parish share, and 67 per cent of our budget is spent on parish ministry.
In response, synod members asked questions about whether our governance procedures were strong enough to cope with key personnel being missing, whether inflation-linked increases were sustainable and what the crossover was between this budget and the £9.65m five-year plan. Synod members then voted to approve the budget for 2019 and the motion to seek the sum of £5,119,475 in parish share for 2019.