While many across the country were tuning into England’s semi-final victory in the rugby world cup, our Diocesan Synod members engaged in a full morning reviewing some of the activities and challenges facing our diocese.
Synod received their first challenge from the mini Mothers Union (pictured) who talked about our responsibility for their future when it comes to our stewardship of the planet. The powerful voice of the young people was matched by them handing a blue marble to members in a representation of God holding the world in his hands. Read more about the Blue Marbles Project in the link box to the right.
The mini MU’s message was echoed later in the meeting as Annie Merry for Faiths4Change highlighted our diocesan push to become an Eco Diocese. Annie was able to state that we have the bronze status with 42 registered churches, 10 awarded churches, Bishop’s Lodge and St James House all gaining Bronze status. Whilst celebrating our successes Annie rightly challenged members and the diocese to maintain our efforts and go for gold.
Achieving growth was also on the agenda as Joshua Centre Director Dan Rogers explained how this nationally supported project can provide financial and other support to local initiatives that are looking to grow new congregations. Outlining how the centre, which is overseen by both diocese and cathedral, works Dan quoted Bishop Paul saying that multiplying congregations is the royal road to growth.
Synod also heard chair of the Board of Finance, David Greensmith, who outlined our financial position and our budget position for 2020. David highlighted the disappointing news that we are likely to have a £300,000 deficit explaining that this was a result of challenging performance areas in Parish Share, the Clergy Housing budget, fees and our missional leadership budget. David outlined in brief plans for tackling these areas whilst conceding that these are difficult times for all dioceses.
Diocesan Secretary, Mike Eastwood, also highlighted the mission statistics which show the decline in church attendance stating it was a crunch time for our diocese with an ability to turn this around if we take the challenge seriously.
Finally, in his presidential address which you can read here
Bishop Paul highlighted the diversity in the country at this moment and the role that the church and Christians can have in bringing healing and reconciliation.
You can read the papers for synod here