The Annual General Meeting formed part of the proceedings of the recent meeting of Diocesan Synod, which was held in Lincoln on Saturday, 13th April 2019.

 

Finance – past, present and future

Mr Chris Clarke (Chair of the Lincoln Diocesan Trust and Board of Finance Ltd) presented areas of note to members of Synod regarding the Annual Report and Financial Statements. We were reminded that parish share, the money given by parishes to the diocese to fund its mission and ministry, is the main source of income for the diocese and this amounted to 36% of its total income (this represented a decrease from 40% in 2017). As is stated in the Annual Report and Financial Statements, ‘the trustees are extremely grateful to all the parishes which completed their parish share payments during the year, and especially to those parishes that make their parish share payments by monthly instalments’. Further support in this area is being provided by the appointment of two Stewardship Officers and a diocesan launch of the Parish Giving Scheme (www.parishgivingscheme.org.uk).

Parish share was the next item on the agenda, with the Revd David Dadswell (Diocesan Secretary) reporting on received feedback on the diocesan strategy of meeting the cost of ministry by increasing parish share receipts to £7m by 2023. The majority of received responses approved of the policy in principle of parish share under the revised formula, although there was concern regarding the size and speed of the increases proposed by 2023.

Some suggested solutions include further training in the areas of stewardship and fundraising, help in the setting up of ‘friends groups’ and maximising resources. This item will return to Synod for the July session and will include the proposed parish share figures for 2020 and a more detailed plan regarding ‘generous giving’ (in response to a request received from the floor, the slides for this presentation will be made available via the diocesan website so that people outside of Diocesan Synod will be able to see the feedback from the consultation).

The first of our invited speakers was Nicolas Jenni, National Procurement Officer for the Church of England. Ahead of a workshop to be held in the same venue later that day, Nicolas offered a presentation on contactless giving that showed how the use of cash (coins and notes) has declined since 2007. As is stated on the Parish Buying website, ‘In 2020, twice the value and volume of payments will be contactless, compared to cash’ (https://www.parishbuying.org.uk/categories/contactless-donations)

Resources and documents:

The Annual report and Financial statements

The Financial Summary

2018 Finance Powerpoint presentation 

Deanery Parish Share consultation feedback presentation

Appointments

Following the passing of one of our diocesan trustees, Mr Douglas Horn, there was a vacancy on the Bishop’s Council of Diocesan Trustees for a lay representative from the Lincoln archdeaconry. A single nomination for this post was received, and Mr Richard Bayes (Lay Chair of Graffoe Deanery) was duly elected.

Canon Niccy Fisher (Chair of the Search and Nominations Committee) introduced an item stating that the Cathedral Council required two members recommended by the Bishop’s Council of Diocesan Trustees (for a term to December 2021). Synod gave its consent for the appointment of Mr David Wright and Mr David Cowell as members of Cathedral Council.

 

Insurance Premium Tax

At the November 2018 meeting of Synod, consideration was given to a motion received from Lafford Deanery Synod relating to Insurance Premium Tax for listed places of worship. Following unanimous approval in November for this matter to be referred to General Synod, the following statement was agreed:

That this Synod, noting: 

  • the various public goods that are delivered by charities, including the case of churches through their care of nationally valued heritage assets and their provision of community services; and
  • the fact that the money needed by charities to meet their liabilities, including Insurance Premium Tax, has to be raised by them, including in the case of churches through fund raising in their local communities

call on Her Majesty’s Government to exempt charities, including churches, from liability for Insurance Premium Tax.

 

Safeguarding

Pat O’Brien (Chair of the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Panel) updated Synod on the work and future plans of the panel and underlined the fact that safeguarding must be at the heart of our work. It was emphasised that written statements about safeguarding must be visible throughout the diocese, that the whole church community must know how to raise and respond to concerns, and that the whistleblowing policy and system must be clear and well known.

A safeguarding ‘dashboard’, in the form of an app designed to help parishes in this critical area, is currently under trial in 12 benefices in the diocese, and the Archdeacon of Lincoln presented parishes with updated safeguarding packs, which included safeguarding-related posters and diocesan and national safeguarding handbooks.

 

Moana – Water of Life: an international conference on climate change

The Bishop of Lincoln was pleased to introduce a further two guest speakers as we look forward in anticipation to this year’s climate change conference (30th August – 1st September), which is being hosted by the diocese and the University of Lincoln. Professor Edward Hanna (Professor of Climate Change Science and Meteorology at the University Lincoln) highlighted elements of the conference programme, which will include keynote addresses offered by Professor Elisabeth Holland (a co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize), Bishop Marc Andrus (the bishop of California) and Lynnaia Main (the Episcopal Church representative to the UN), plus a conference dinner and a special service to be held in Lincoln Cathedral on the final day of the conference.

Following this introduction to the planned proceedings, a further scheduled conference speaker, Archbishop Winston Halapua, spoke with delight about the developing link between our diocese and Polynesia and also with great passion about the urgent need for each of us to grasp and to respond to this critical issue.

Bishop Christopher is hoping that as many people as possible from around the diocese will be able to take part of the conference, and more details may be found at https://www.lincoln.anglican.org



Professor Edward Hanna (Professor of Climate Change Science and Meteorology).



Archbishop Winston Halapua, one of the keynote speakers at the climate change conference.

 

Looking back at General Synod

The Revd Alyson Buxton (Rector of the Parish of Boston) reported on the February group of sessions from General Synod. Items on an agenda that featured themes of evangelism and discipleship included an emphasis on participation at a parish level in Thy Kingdom Come (30th May – 9th June 2019; https://www.thykingdomcome.global/); the House of Bishop’s paper Growing Faith, which is concerned with ministry amongst children and young people; and investment in mission and ministry within social housing estates. In addition, there was a motion calling on the Church to speak out against racism and hate crime directed against Gypsies, Irish Travellers and Roma, and to play its part in ensuring that land is provided for sites for these communities.

 

Bishop Christopher drew the meeting of Synod to a close by offering a closing prayer and blessing.


A printable version of the above digest is available here.