Diocese of Portsmouth

Diocesan Synod, November 2022


As part of his welcome to Synod members, Bishop Jonathan indicated his hope that Philip Poulter, who is currently working for the diocese in a consultative capacity, would become interim Diocesan Secretary after due process has been carried out.


Bishop Jonathan’s presidential address made reference to the work of our Council for Social Responsibility in helping churches to combat the cost-of-living crisis; and the work of our education team as they cope with a government-led transformation of the education landscape. He also gave an update on the Living in Love and Faith process, which is looking at issues relating to marriage, sexuality, identity and relationships, and is just entering the discernment and decision phase. He gave his own personal views, but stressed that his primary aim was to nurture and preserve our unity as the Body of Christ, even if we disagree. Click here to read the whole address.


Bishop Jonathan had mapped out a ‘Roadmap’ process to take us from March 2022-November 2022 and to provide us with a Plan for Ministry, Mission and Finance to be debated by Diocesan Synod. After many conversations, the Plan had been collated from all seven deanery plans, alongside plans from diocesan leaders. The bishop described the 341-page document as a working tool for our Bishop’s Staff Team, which reflects collaboration with our deaneries, and would keep changing as dialogue continued. The bishop suggested that the existence of the Plan should build confidence, that our ministry, mission and finance was being co-ordinated. Synod members voted to take note of the Plan and asked for feedback in March 2023. Read more about it here.


Synod members heard a motion from Havant deanery regarding the authorising of lay ministry. You can read their paper here. Synod members agree to take note of the paper and asked the bishop and senior leadership to explore how to affirm lay ministry across a range of ministries within the developing Diocesan Plan.


Acting Diocesan Secretary Jenny Hollingsworth introduced Synod members to a handful of new appointments in the central diocesan team. You can see them here.


Acting Diocesan Secretary Jenny Hollingsworth had prepared a paper detailing discussions in Bishop’s Council since the last Diocesan Synod. You can read it here.


A small group had been formed to look again at Standing Orders at Diocesan Synod, Bishop’s Council and deanery synods. The initial report of the group, which you can read here, detailed two Standing Orders that Diocesan Synod was recommended to change. Chair of the House of Clergy Canon Bob White explained the need for these changes, and promised that the group would prepare a review of Standing Orders for each group by November 2023.


Acting Diocesan Secretary Jenny Hollingsworth reported on recent developments in the area of safeguarding. Among those areas was:

  • The Past Cases Review 2 (PCR2) process, which culminated in national and diocesan reports being published on October 5. An executive summary of the report submitted by our diocese is available here, and a news story about our PCR2 process is here.
  • A survivor strategy had also been created, which can be read here. This is an ongoing document that will continue to evolve.
  • A safeguarding conference had been held in our cathedral on September 20. You can read about it here.
  • The Bishop’s Council had given permission for a temporary adviser to be appointed for six months, to help deal with ongoing casework. This had been approved.


General Synod representative Ian Johnston reported on the July 2022 session in York. Among other items, he reported:

  • a commitment for the Archbishops’ Council to fund Diocesan Plans;
  • a strong commitment to rural ministry by the Archbishop of York;
  • repeated concern about the effectiveness of the Clergy Discipline Measure;
  • the review of Strategic Development Funding, which had shown church planting initiatives weren’t always as successful as expected;
  • reductions in the numbers of parish clergy aren’t unique to our diocese.


Synod members were reminded that they had voted in July 2022 for our joint Diocesan Board of Education (shared with Winchester diocese) to become a joint incorporated body as a Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIO). Synod members passed a resolution that would allow this to happen on 1 January 2023. You can read a report on this here.


Synod members were presented with a diocesan budget for 2023, which took into account current economic uncertainty, and new priorities as identified by Bishop Jonathan. It also confirms a new number of stipendiary clergy posts (74.5), anticipates the need to cover a deficit in 2023 from reserves, and commits to a continuing review of all areas of expenditure in the preparation of 2024 and 2025 budgets. You can read the entire budget paper here.

Synod members were presented with a budget that reflected a 100% collection rate of parish share, as well as alternative scenarios in which collection rates were at 98%, 92% and 87%. They approved the budget and plans to raise £5,122,000 in parish share in 2023, which would mean no increase in parish share payments. They were told that a recommendation to Bishop’s Council would suggest no change in the parish share payments made by individual parishes in 2023.