Governance and a report on modern day slavery were some of the subjects under discussion at the meeting of Diocesan Synod held in Lincoln on Saturday, 24th March 2018.

An early piece of business on the agenda was the nomination of Mr Chris Clarke as the new Chair of the Lincoln Diocesan Trust & Board of Finance Ltd. An Authorised Lay Minister, Chris has also served as a parish treasurer and planned giving secretary for over 25 years and as a deanery treasurer for 12 years, and he was duly appointed to this role by Synod.

With regard to governance, Canon Niccy Fisher offered a verbal report on the work being done by the Search and Nominations Committee, and specifically the Talent Survey, which seeks to identify individuals’ giftings with regard to serving the diocese. Synod then considered and later endorsed presented proposals for the restructuring of diocesan governance. The intention here is that this will result in clarity, efficiency and ‘joined-up thinking’, and the necessary new and revised governance documents will be presented for approval at the next meeting.

Following the hosting of a Modern Slavery Summit in Lincoln Cathedral in February (see here), the Dean of Lincoln provided a thought-provoking report on this important issue. The Dean highlighted the role of the Church in supporting people, standing up for justice and working to strengthen social cohesion and neighbourliness, and shared the number for the Modern Slavery Helpline. If there are ever any concerns regarding the perceived exploitation of a person or persons, the number to call is 08000 121 700. A further source of information is The Clewer Initiative, which enables Church of England dioceses and wider church networks to develop strategies for detecting modern slavery in their communities and help provide victim support and care’.

Elsewhere on the agenda, the Revd Canon Martyn Taylor (St Georges Stamford) offered a summary report from the February 2018 group of sessions of General Synod, and Diocesan Synod noted the management accounts to 31st December 2017 and a Parish Share report. This latter report included a note of thanks for the amount that has been collected to date and referenced the ongoing work to address some of the issues in this area.

The Bishop of Grimsby later offered an update on the diocesan approach to chaplaincy, which includes the main aim of working to encourage and equip the whole people of God, clergy and lay, to take opportunities to engage in “joyful service” in active workplace ministry and chaplaincy within the areas they are given to serve.

The final piece of business was an update on Learning Communities. The Revd David Dadswell reflected on the launch service in Lincoln Cathedral in early February, and noted that there has been a good response in terms of the move to form Learning Communities. Information was provided regarding some of the proposed communities for the character areas, and enquiries should be directed to David by email or by calling 01522 50 40 62.

The meeting was drawn to a close and in prayer by Bishop Christopher.