The Diocesan Synod met on 6 December 2014 at Holy Trinity Bradley Stoke and was challenged by Bishop Mike to bridge the gap between what we do in our churches and those living and working in our wider communities, approved the proposal to enlarge the membership of Diocesan Synod, and approved the budget for 2015.
In his address, Bishop Mike talked about the need to think differently about mission in our various localities, challenging parishes to bridge the gap between what we do and those among whom we dwell. He also spoke of the need for a recommitment to truly incarnational local mission expressed by people who live a life of countercultural discipleship.
Following his Address, the Bishop led a commissioning liturgy for Revd Charles Sutton as Adviser for Self-Supporting Ministry and Charles spoke briefly about his role
Bishops Council & Board of Directors Report
Canon Michael Johnson reported on the September and November meetings, highlighting the diocesan strategy work, the diocesan support services review and the church buildings working group. The report was received.
Canon Johnson also explained the proposal to enlarge the membership of the Diocesan Synod in the new triennium beginning 1 August 2015 and the need for Synod to agree formulae for the calculation of membership of the new Diocesan Synod.
With 1 abstention, Synod approved formulae in the ratio of 1 to every 3.6 members of the House of Clergy of the Deanery Synod and 1 to every 230 names on the Electoral Rolls of the parishes within the Deanery.
Mr Andrew Lucas gave a presentation of the recommendation to Synod to approve a balanced budget for 2015. He reminded Synod of consultations on the draft budget during the year, as well as discussions at the last meeting of Synod, stressing that a balanced budget would depend on the challenge to parishes to increase their pledges by 350k.
Synod unanimously approved expenditure of 8,160,000 in respect of items in the budget for 2015.
General Synod Report
Mr Ian Yemm reported on Novembers General Synod and encouraged members to look at the content available online. In particular, he commended to Synod the Archbishop of Canterburys Presidential Address.
Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee
Strategy and Mission Officer, Janey Hiller, gave a presentation, after which the Archdeacon moved, and Synod agreed, a minor alteration to the DMPC Constitution and to accept a report in the second half of 2015 with a more comprehensive update of the Constitution in preparation for the Committee elections.
Parish Share Consultation
Diocesan Secretary, Oliver Home, introduced this item. Synod discussed the circulated paper in small groups and guiding principles for the way ahead were invited to be fed back in plenary. There was general consensus that:
generosity increases as faith increases;
the offer system was worth continuing and developing;
there would be value in providing further information to parishes about the costs of ministry, plus offering some guidance on what generosity looks like.
The Bishop thanked Synod for its contributions and the subject would be returned to future meetings.
The Bishop closed Synod with the blessing.