Diocesan Synod, June 2022
Bishop Jonathan presented his second Presidential Address as Bishop of Portsmouth. He described Live | Pray | Serve as a vocation, rather than a vision, which could lead onto a rule of life for those across our diocese. He then went on to outline his developing vision for our diocese. You can read the full text of his address here.
LIVE PRAY SERVE VISION AND FINANCE ROADMAP
Bishop Jonathan provided a verbal update to the Roadmap process that will see Synod members discussing a finance and strategy plan at their November 2022 meeting.
He apologised to those from Havant deanery synod who had put forward a motion relating to authorised lay ministry. It had been unintentionally omitted from the agenda for our June meeting. The bishop promised that it would be raised at Bishop’s Council on July 18, and then become a substantive item at the November 2022 meeting of Diocesan Synod.
DIOCESAN STAFF TEAM UPDATE
Deputy diocesan secretary Jenny Hollingsworth gave a brief update on some new staff members: safeguarding adviser Liz Hastings, school buildings officer Susan Hine (Susan and Evelyn Minkey have replaced Tracy Dawkins and Barbara Millett in this job-share role), and the bishop’s executive assistant Bev Hughes (who has replaced Clare Jones).
You can catch up with who’s who in our diocesan staff here.
GENERAL SYNOD UPDATE
The Rev Paul Chamberlain, one of our General Synod reps, gave a verbal update about the business expected at the next meeting of General Synod, in York, from July 8-12. Among the subjects to be discussed are: the war in Ukraine (albeit the briefing paper on this topic doesn’t suggest what the media say it does); wedding fees; a review of the Strategic Development Fund; safeguarding; the way in which the next Archbishop of Canterbury is to be appointed; affirming disabled people; and ministerial formation.
For more details about the July meeting of the General Synod, click here.
BISHOP’S COUNCIL UPDATE
Deputy diocesan secretary Jenny Hollingsworth updated Synod members on Bishop’s Council business, with this Paper. The review of Standing Orders was mentioned, and those with any suggestions were advised to contact the chair of the House of Clergy, Canon Bob White.
There was also discussed about the pressure of work on our diocesan safeguarding team, and parish safeguarding officers. It had prompted the recruitment of an additional safeguarding adviser to provide 21 hours a week for three months, with the option to extend this after a three-month review.
ANNUAL REPORT AND ACCOUNTS
Synod members had been given the Diocesan Board of Finance annual report for 2021, which can be read here. Financial controller Elaine Aplin presented these slides showing details of DBF income and expenditure for 2021, contrasting with DBF income and expenditure for 2020. Among the details were the fact that reduced spending on clergy renumeration and clergy housing (because of the number of clergy vacancies) had led a budgeted deficit to turn into a small actual surplus.
Bishop Jonathan told Synod members that the way in which a surplus had been achieved was unacceptable, and part of his role was to put together the right structures to create a more sustainable future. There was also some discussion about the proportion of DBF expenditure spent on clergy renumeration, and on support for parish ministry. The accounts for 2021 were approved.
DIOCESAN BOARD OF EDUCATION MEASURE
Synod members heard about a potential change to the legal structure of the Diocesan Board of Education, via this paper from our director of education Jeff Williams, and this paper from the working group. DBE member Lucy Docherty presented the paper, which said that the government had asked Boards of Education to review their legal structure by 2023, or a decision would be made for them.
Members heard why it would be helpful for the DBE to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), which would allow the benefits of incorporation without the burdens of becoming a company. Synod members approved the change.
Bishop Jonathan also spoke about Growing Faith, the C of E initiative to link together families, church schools and parishes to help to develop the faith of children. He urged parishes to see this development not as a way of getting young people to attend church services, but as a way of developing the Kingdom, which may lead to new worshipping communities in future. For more details, see portsmouth.anglican.org/growingfaith.
FROM LAMENT TO ACTION
The Church of England’s anti-racism task force published their report ‘From Lament to Action’ last year. It emphasised that racism disfigures the Body of Christ, and made a number of recommendations about how to transform the culture of the Church of England. It has five key priority areas for action, including:
- Participation (including appointments)
- Training and Mentoring
- Young People
- Structures and Governance
The Dean of Portsmouth, the Very Rev Anthony Cane, is leading a small group examining the implications for our diocese, and presented some of the task force’s recommendations – including the idea of a racial justice officer for each diocese, and representation of those from UKME/GMH backgrounds on our synods and committees. You can see his presentation here.
He also mentioned that author and broadcaster Chine McDonald would be delivering the 2023 Robert Dolling Lecture and that author and pioneer Azariah France-Williams would preach in our cathedral on Racial Justice Sunday 2023.
Read more about our diocese’s involvement in racial justice on www.portsmouth.anglican.org/racial-justice.
Bishop Jonathan read out an Act of Synod, in which our Archbishops pledged to co-ordinate and improve their approach to clergy care and wellbeing, to ensure that ordained ministers flourish in the Church. Three reflections were also presented, which you can read here:
- Reflection and action for congregations
- Reflection and action for clergy
- Reflection and action for bishops and others
The chair of our House of Clergy, Canon Bob White, suggested that these could be discussed in PCCs and deanery groups before those thoughts are brought to a future meeting of Diocesan Synod.
CARBON NET ZERO
The Church of England has committed itself to reaching carbon net zero by 2030, which involves radical change to church buildings, among other things. Giles Chapman, who chairs our Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches (DAC), is also part of the bishop’s advisory group on the environment. He spoke about this issue, advising that the decisive factor in transforming our church buildings to be carbon neutral is likely to be money. Some of this funding may come from grants, but not all of it.
The University of Portsmouth have completed four energy audits on four different types of church buildings. Parishes that are looking to reduce their carbon footprint may find it helpful to examine one of those four reports. You can read them here.
Giles also shared some statistics:
- 80 per cent of carbon and other gases emitted by church buildings come from 35 per cent of those buildings;
- 84 per cent of carbon and other gases emitted by our church buildings come from heating systems;
- 25 per cent of churches between them emit only one per cent of the carbon and other gases emitted by our church buildings;
- Seven per cent of our churches are already net zero carbon – often the smaller rural churches that are little used.
For more information about our commitment to preserving the environment, see: portsmouth.anglican.org/environment.
For practical tips to help your church reach carbon net zero, click here.
If you need any further help in this area, please contact our DAC secretary - a role shared between David Cain and Catherine Gray. Click here for details.