Finance and our care of the environment were just some of the subjects discussed at the recent meeting of Diocesan Synod in Lincoln (Wednesday, 10th July 2019).

 

An early piece of business was a meeting of the House of Clergy to elect one of its members to the Bishop’s Council of Diocesan Trustees. Fr Stuart Cradduck (Rector of St Wulfram’s, Grantham) was elected to serve in this role.


 

Address by the bishop of Grimsby

In an address to Synod, Bishop David spoke of our shared role in leading others to an encounter with God. Drawing on some of the areas that were to be covered elsewhere on the agenda, he referred to the work that we do in supporting the learning of the young people in our church schools, our responsibility to care for the environment, and the need for wise stewardship of our money and resources. Bishop David thanked the people of our parishes for all that they do, and offer, in support of the life of the diocese, helping to transform lives, and he drew particular attention to the important decisions that were due to be taken with regard to the 2020 budget and thereafter. Bishop David closed by expressing his gratitude for the prayers and messages of support that both he and Bishop Nicholas had received in recent weeks.

 

Search and Nominations Committee

Canon Niccy Fisher [Chair of the Search and Nominations Committee (SNC)] offered a presentation on the work of the committee since its inception two years ago. The SNC:

  • identifies and nominates suitable people to be appointed to the boards, committees and working groups of the diocese
  • aims to encourage suitable candidates to stand where there is an election process
  • monitors and tries to improve the make-up of committees – to ensure they are diverse, representative of the people they seek to serve and have the skills required to fulfil their functions.

In terms of ‘widening our pool of talent’, Niccy reported that of the appointments in 2018 and 2019 (so far) on various committees, 25% of those appointed had not had prior involvement with any of our committees (10 out of a possible 40 appointments), and she identified the following questions and an observation relating to next steps:

  • do our boards and committees properly represent those we serve? Should they be more representative of those we seek to serve better? (i.e. young people, those on a lower income or ethnic minorities)
  • what can we do to make serving on our boards and committees more accessible to people of working age or other under-represented groups?
  • we need to continue to search for talent outside the usual places, and constantly evaluate the balance and experiences our memberships bring to the mission of the diocese.

 

The Diocesan Environmental Policy

Sarah Spencer (Discipleship in the World Officer & Diocesan Environmental Officer) introduced the proposed diocesan Environmental Policy, which is due to be launched on Sunday, 1st September 2019 at the Moana – Water of Life conference (see https://www.lincoln.anglican.org/news/moana-water-of-life-navigating-climate-change-for-planetary-health)

The policy has been developed by Sarah and a subgroup of the Lincoln Diocesan Environmental Advisory Panel. It takes the diocesan vision and mission statement as central to the shape of the policy, with goals supporting each of the areas of Faithful Worship, Confident Discipleship and Joyful Service. Synod voted to adopt the policy.

In addition, Sarah offered details of a free event that would offer an introduction to EcoChurch. It is said that EcoChurch can help churches and congregations further contribute to the wellbeing of all creation, and this event will be held on Saturday, 5th October 2019 (10am–4pm) at St Giles’ Church, Lincoln (LN2 4EJ). Further details on EcoChurch may be found at https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/ and from Sarah via [email protected] (01522 50 40 75). Bookings for this free event may be made by searching for ‘A church for our planet’ at www.eventbrite.co.uk

 

The 2020 Budget

Chris Clarke (Chair of the Board of Finance) spoke with regard to the planned budget for 2020. He stated that the budget to be presented for 2020 shows a £3m deficit, which is £1m more than the total return drawdown already planned for 2020. This had been agreed at a recent meeting of the Bishop’s Council of Diocesan Trustees, but there is a requirement that some significant decisions are made between now and July 2020 to ensure that there is a balanced budget for 2021. The following resolutions were carried:

  • that Synod authorises the Bishop’s Council of Diocesan Trustees to expend £12,787,675 for the year ending 31st December 2020
  • that Synod authorises the Bishop’s Council of Diocesan Trustees to raise £5,731,647 in Parish Share for the year ending 31st December 2020.

Chris stated that the details of the ‘level of ask’ will be sent out to benefices during September 2019, and expressed gratitude to all for the efforts that are being made to close the gap between income and expenditure.

 The Diocesan Budget for 2020 can be found here

Safeguarding update

Archdeacon Gavin and Debbie Johnson (diocesan Safeguarding Adviser) introduced an open Q&A and round-table discussion on the subject of safeguarding. Members of the diocesan Safeguarding Team have been engaged with parish safeguarding audits, and they will be following up with parishes that haven’t yet been able to take part in this important piece of work. In addition, Synod was reminded that a safeguarding ‘dashboard’, in the form of an app designed to help parishes in this critical area, is currently under trial in some of our benefices, and this is set for launch at the next meeting of Synod.

 

Annual report from the Diocesan Board of Education

Bishop Nicholas and Jackie Waters-Dewhurst (Director of Education) offered a summary presentation of the work of the Diocesan Board of Education in 2018. Some of the key achievements were given:

  • Understanding Christianity training has now reached over 75% of all church schools
  • In 2018, 122 schools (87%) of all Church of England schools chose to subscribe to the diocesan Service Level Agreement
  • 787 delegates attended a total of 52 training events.

The full report is to be published online at https://lincolndiocesaneducation.com/

The Diocesan Vision for Education is: church schools serving their communities through excellence, exploration and encouragement within the love of God.

 

General Synod update

Nigel Bacon (General Synod representative) offered a verbal report [to accompany a written report circulated at the meeting by the Revd Alyson Buxton (Team Rector, Parish of Boston)] on the July group of General Synod sessions (5th–9th July 2019). Nigel drew the attention to a debate on Anna Chaplaincy, which sees parishes offer spiritual accompaniment to older people, including those living with dementia. Further news and stories relating to the July gathering of General Synod may be found at https://www.churchofengland.org/more/policy-and-thinking/work-general-synod/agendas-papers/general-synod-july-2019/general-synod

An update report from our representative at the Church of England General Synod can be found here

Bishop Nicholas drew the meeting of Synod to a close by leading us in prayer.


printable version of the above digest is available here.