Firstly we express our thanks to the Salvation Army in Stowmarket for providing a super venue for our March Synod. We also thank the 103 members who attended Synod and the team of Diocesan staff who set up the event and hosted on the day.
Synod started with the Presidential discussion from Bishops Martin and Mike who reported on their Lent Pilgrimage. The 10-day, 90-mile walk enabled them to meet people and share stories, the walk highlighted that when we work in teams and share things together, we enable and encourage people to try new things and have opportunities to reach new people.
The priority of the Synod was to respond to a presentation from Suffolk environmentalist, entrepreneur and organic farmer William Kendall, who presented the 'State of Suffolk' to the October 2018 Diocesan Synod. In October Synod members discussed what they would like Synod to achieve during their three-year term of office. Responses were categorised into four broad themes, each with a set of suggested targets and roles, and all underpinned by a desire to ‘Increase Awareness of Christian Faith’.
Understand ourselves and be clear about who we are.
- Tell our story.
- Outward focussed – make Suffolk a better place.
- Be political.
- State of Suffolk
At this Synod, Mark Pendlington, Chair of the Diocesan Board of Finance, asked members to prioritise the targets and roles for each theme – He asked "How can we bring the outside in?" and "What are we going to do in Suffolk". Following discussion, members voted for their prioities and the results can be seen in pie charts here. There were some clear shared objectives identified:
- Understand local needs.
- Be at the centre of community (using church buildings to support the wider community).
- Network and work with other agencies.
- Balance of internal and external messaging
Having completed this a focus group for each theme will be formed, each convened by a member of Synod with a link member of diocesan staff. These focus groups will shape the ongoing work for their area and regularly report back to Synod
Focus Group | Priority | Convenor | Link Person
Understand Ourselves | Be at the centre of community | Ian Wigston, Sudbury Deanery | Gavin Stone, Director of Strategy and Communications
Tell our Story | Balance of internal and external messaging | Tom McKenny, Clare Deanery | Leonie Ryle, Communications Manager
Outward Focused | Network and work with other agencies | Revd Carol Mansell, Ipswich Deanery | Canon Dave Gardner, Director of Mission and Ministry
Be Political | Understand local needs | Revd Tony Redman, Ixworth Deanery | Bishop's Office - TBC
The Revd Canon Sally Barton, Diocesan Environment Officer, announced that the Diocese has been awarded the prestigious Bronze Eco Award from A Rocha UK.
Gary Peverley, Diocesan Finance Director, thanked parishes for their commitment to Parish Share with £3.53m raised for 2018. The finance and stewardship teams are supporting parishes in their stewardship offering the Parish Giving Scheme with 105 PCC’s now signed up. Gary also outlined current work in progress in reviewing Self Supporting Minister fees.
Promoting a Safer Church
Gavin Stone announced the statistics from 2018, the Safeguarding team have provided advice and support for 113 enquiries each requiring a response. The team have facilitating criminal record checks and supported the safer recruitment of 425 parish posts for those working with children and potentially vulnerable adults. And finally the team have trained 38 volunteers trainers, hosted 134 training events with approximately 6000 units of training delivered. This training provision has been quality assessed with an average score of 3.75 out of 4 by participants.
Response from the DAC Secretary in relation to a question asked at Diocesan Synod regarding Patronage. For context, see item 19.12 in the minutes, please click here.
Synod Minutes | PDF