Diocesan Synod Digest

The Diocesan Synod took place on Saturday 19 November 2022 at The Showroom, Tritton Road, Lincoln. The Chair of the meeting was the Revd Cameron Watt, Chair of the House of Clergy, who was elected at the last meeting in July. He asked Ruth Brewin, Trustee and Lay co-lead for NE Lincolnshire, and Kate Hutchinson, Lay chair for Grimsby and Cleethorpes to start the meeting with Dwelling in the Word. The Dwelling in the Word passage was Hebrews 12:1-3 & 12-14. A quiet reflection followed, and then feedback was invited about what the reading meant to members. Linda French (Haverstoe), Revd Canon Sonia Barron, Mark Suthern (Graffoe), and The Ven Dr Justine Allain Chapman all shared their responses from their groups. The conversations had included navigating each day with the help of God, seeking peace with everyone, showing respect, togetherness with images of Moses’ hands being held up, and perusing a straight path on a park run. Ruth Brewin drew the reflections to a close with prayer.

The Rt Revd Stephen Conway, Acting Bishop of Lincoln then officially opened the meeting with his presidential address which can be found here

The Minutes of the meeting which was held on the 16th July were approved.

The next agenda item was Questions under Standing Order No 72. Grantham Deanery had sent in the following question for the Warden of the College of St Hugh:

Grantham Deanery Synod welcomes and supports the Diocesan strategy of Time to Change Together and the inclusion of an emphasis on the ministry of all the people of God in the Diocese of Lincoln.  However, we are concerned that this emphasis is not being matched by an equivalent focus on the recruitment and training of both LLMs and ALMs, and that this will compromise the success of TTCT.

to detail the following: 

  • The net change in the numbers of serving ALMs and LLMs within the diocese over the past 5 years; 
  • The projected change in the number of ALMs and LLMs within the diocese over the next 5 years; 
  • What measures are being taken by the Diocese of Lincoln to nurture and encourage existing lay ministers to continue and develop their ministry; and 
  • What measures are being taken by the Diocese of Lincoln to identify, train and nurture new lay ministers.

The Rev’d Canon Dr Hugh Jones, Warden of the College of St Hugh, responded and the response can be found here

The next item was a Vacancy in See update by The Venerable Gavin Kirk, Archdeacon of Lincoln. Archdeacon Gavin confirmed that, following the resignation of Bishop Christopher Lowson in December 2021, the Vacancy in See committee of the diocese has been meeting to consult on and prepare a statement of needs to describe the diocese, and what it is looking for in the next bishop. As part of its work, the committee also elected by ballot from amongst its members representatives to be members of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC). The CNC shortlists and interviews candidates. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are also members, alongside six elected members from General Synod. The election was held at its recent meeting, and the CNC members chosen are: Canon Nigel Bacon, The Revd Sonia Barron, Canon Professor Muriel Robinson, Mrs Sue Slater, The Revd Cameron Watt and The Ven Gavin Kirk.

The Archdeacon of Lincoln expressed his thanks to everyone who helped with the committee, the voting, the appointments set up for the appointments’ secretaries, and the design of the Statement of Needs.

The Venerable Alyson Buxton, Archdeacon of Stow and Lindsey shared with Synod how far the “Time to Change Together” programme had come. She explained that there was still much work to be done, and that, without the support of the whole Diocese, it would be an uphill struggle. The November report had been sent out with the papers and can be found here. Archdeacon Aly highlighted what had been achieved and what was still being discussed and organised. Each table was then given a sheet for Table talk. Members were asked to discuss and write down their thoughts on the following three points:

  1. What does it mean for you that you do not walk or run alone but are surrounded by a "great cloud of witnesses"? How are they our supporters?
  2. What could we improve so that our shared TTCT journey could be better/more fruitful in 2023?
  3. What are your reflections on the work and progress so far?

After the discussion feedback was given from Penny Green (Lawres) that this is a difficult period of transition and to cope with the change, communication from everyone is important.

Paul Davie (Grantham) commented that we need to reach people in ministry of all forms and be encouraging people to discern ministry.

Paul Arnold (Elloe East) mentioned that type 3 churches have a lot of work to do, and was concerned that 25% of covenants still need to be done, and encouraged parishes to complete them.

Jennifer McLane (Beltisloe) suggested some improvements to the questionnaire, including a deadline.

These papers were collected at the end of the meeting for reflection.

Canon Nigel Bacon introduced the next item on Synodical matters for review:  


  1. For Synod to approve the recommended method of calculating the parochial representation of the laity onto Deanery Synods for the 2023 elections, as being based on electoral roll numbers.
  2. For Synod to approve the new version of the Standing Orders, to be published along with recent updates made by BCDT to various committee terms of reference, as soon as possible.


Both recommendations were approved.


The Revd Cameron Watt announced that the election to the Search and Nominations Committee had taken place, and that Mrs Ruth Brewin and Canon Niccy Fisher had been elected to the Committee.

After a short refreshment break, the 2023 Budget was presented by Canon Prof Muriel Robinson and Mrs Ann Treacy. The Budget booklet can be found here. Muriel and Ann presented some slides to show the key messages, and the good news that expenditure is more than the five-year TTCT plan by £792,890, and better than 2022 expenditure budget by £388,834. However, there is still more work to be done. The slides for the presentation can be found here

Synod was asked if there were any questions about the budget.

Derek Sidman (Lawres) asked about the email that was sent from the Diocesan Secretary, Canon David Dadswell, regarding the costs of faculties being sent directly for Parishes to pay, rather than the LDTBF paying for them. These costs had been centrally paid for parishes for the last two years, at a cost of around £50k. Each faculty costs £317. There is no fee for those applications on lists A & B, and we still offer free services from our DAC and Church Buildings officers and the online faculty system. This was part of the continuing drive to bear down on expenditure.

Paul Arnold (Elloe East) supported David Dadswell, and said it is right for the parishes to bear this cost.

Henrietta Reeve (Loveden) asked if it was compulsory for Parishes to sign up to the Parish Giving Scheme. It is not compulsory; however, it is encouraged.

Michael Galey (Manlake) asked about the pledge levels, as they are not as high as 2019. The pledge details were explained, and we are £200k above the planned budget because of parish pledges.

Ben Topham (Stamford) asked about Schools and Children and Youth work. Only 1% is being spent for school’s work. However, the Board of Education has their own budget and trusts income for this. They can be contacted to find out more details.

Mr Jack Redeyoff, Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor, gave an update on safeguarding, and shared with Synod that a new Diocesan Safeguarding advisory Panel chair had been appointed. Sally Hodges has a vast knowledge of safeguarding with vulnerable children and adults. Jack continued his update with a reminder that it was Safeguarding Sunday the following day, and there are lots of resources to be had on the 31:8 website for this. Jack finished his presentation with Pathfinders. Pathfinders is a pilot scheme the Diocese has signed up to. It is a programme that focuses on the IICSA report points 1 & 8: Supervision and Quality Assurance.

Safeguarding slides can be found here.

The Environmental Policy Review saw Mrs Sarah Spencer, Discipleship in the World Officer, and the Diocesan Surveyor, Mr Andrew Drummond-Hunt, making a presentation to update Synod on the Diocese’s progress with the net zero policy for 2030.

These slides can be found Here.

The Closing Prayer and Blessing was given by The Rt Revd Stephen Conway, Acting Bishop of Lincoln.