Governance and serving children and young people were some of the subjects under discussion at the meeting of Diocesan Synod held in Lincoln on Wednesday, 11th July 2018.

The meeting was opened in prayer by the Revd David Dadswell, the new Diocesan Secretary, and finance was an early piece of business on the agenda. Four items were presented: the Lincoln Diocesan Trust & Board of Finance Ltd (LDTBF) Annual Accounts 2017; the LDTBF Management Accounts 31st May 2017; the Parish Share Report; and the Budget Outline 2019.

The Annual Accounts 2017: Financial Summary documents some of the activities and achievements during the year and also includes a record of the provision of resources for diocesan activities, a note of thanks relating to the receipt of parish share and an outline of future plans around the strategic focus on learning communities. This document, together with the Annual Report and Consolidated Accounts (for the year ended 31st December 2017), is available on the diocesan website.

In terms of parish share, it was stated that for the period up to 31st May 2018, £1,267,817 had been collected, which is £71k ahead of budget but slightly short (by £25k) of what was collected at the same time last year. Efforts to help address this will include the recruitment of three new stewardship advisers (one per archdeaconry) and work to identify what further support can be given to parochial church councils (PCCs) with regard to building projects. Work relating to the budget for 2019 is underway, and this budget is due to be presented to the November meeting of Diocesan Synod.

Prior to the meeting, a series of documents relating to governance design had been put to Synod for consideration. The result of an extensive and detailed programme of work, the intention here is to achieve closer alignment between LDTBF and Bishop’s Council. As Chair of the Governance Design Group, Mr Nigel Bacon thanked those who had served alongside him in drafting the papers as part of the approval process, and, when put to the vote, an amended motion was carried.

The Revd David Dadswell spoke to a proposal relating to the conduct of PCC business by email. It was proposed that, subject to certain conditions, a PCC could make a limited number of urgent decisions by email, ‘but with careful safeguards to ensure that the majority of business continues to be discussed at meetings, and therefore with the opportunity for full and frank debate’. The proposal was debated and was carried. This will apply until the end of the new triennium (31st July 2021), and the Diocesan Secretary must be provided with a copy of a specified PCC resolution (to authorise the business of the PCC to be conducted by electronic means) within 28 days of it being passed.

Jonny Bell (Rising Generations Leader at Swithin’s Lincoln and a member of the diocesan Children & Youth Team) offered a presentation relating to mission among children and young people. Jonny posed questions for table discussion, offered some practical advice and took questions from the floor. A copy of the presentation may be found here, and the Children & Youth Team are available to help parishes in this area of ministry and mission (click here for their contact details).

As the new Chairman of the Diocesan Board of Education, the Bishop of Grantham provided a presentation relating to the annual report for the year ended 31st December 2017. There are currently 141 Church schools in the diocese (137 primary schools and 4 secondary schools), serving 27,028 children and young people. It was stated that 731 delegates had attended a total of 53 training events during 2017, an increase on the previous year, and that the three-year strategic plan was nearing its end, with the majority of objectives met and risks reduced accordingly. A new three-year plan is to follow, and Synod was reminded that there is a need for more Bishop’s Visitors to serve our schools (an article on this subject was published in the July/August 2018 issue of Crosslincs).

The final piece of business was a verbal report from the Archdeacon of Lincoln on the most recent meeting of General Synod (6–10th July 2018). Areas discussed by General Synod included ecumenical relations, safeguarding, climate change, nuclear weapons, the National Health Service and a report from the Evangelism Task Force. Further information may be found on the Church of England website.

Bishop Christopher drew the meeting to a close by thanking members of Synod for their contribution during the triennium and then offering a closing prayer and blessing.

A printable version of the above digest is available here.