Review of Diocesan Synod - 22 November

24th November 2014

After the worship, proceedings began with a notice from the Diocesan Secretary that 2015 will see both elections to General Synod and to Diocesan Synod.

Fr Jeffrey Stokoe gave a report from the recently held General Synod. (Click here for audio from General Synod.)

The Diocesan Secretary then spoke about the Promulgation of Canons.

The Parish Support Team, led by Mark Cockayne updated the synod on the launch of the Mission Action Planning tool and the Centenary Fund work.

Mark said “the team will shortly be joined by Fr Grant Naylor who will bring a Catholic view of mission” he continued “the main aim of the team simply is to help and support parishes and deaneries move forward with the strategic vision of the diocese”.

Mark went on to talk about the launch of the Mission Action Planning tool.  A video was shown which is now available to view that explains the tool (click here for video).  

The Mission Action Planning tool was handed out at the Synod, copies will be making their way to every parish over the coming weeks. The tool can easily be carried out at a PCC meeting, the timescale for carrying out the activity is January to March 2015.

Mike North then spoke about the Centenary Fund, which supports children, young people and/or families.  The fund was from released diocesan historic reserves.  The plan is to release the funding over 10 years initially and a project manager will be recruited to oversee the fund and its activities.  Still in development but more  will be released in the New Year.

Graham Miller, Project Manager for the Strategic Development Fund then spoke about his new role and the next stage of the initiative. A key part of the project is to free up the time of clergy to carry out mission and to engage in mission partnerships.

A report was given from Huw Thomas, Director of Education, with an update on changes in education and a proposal to alter the composition of the Board of Education.

Bishop Steven gave the first of part of his presidential address on the situation in Rotherham in light of the Jay report into Child Exploitation in the town.  Watch Part One of the Presidential Address or Read the address here.

The second part of the presidential address was gave a review of the Diocese in its centenary year. Read the address here.

After a period of questions and answers, the Synod turned to the potential endorsement of the composition of Synod for the next triennium.  The motion was clearly carried.

The financials of the diocese was next to be discussed, starting with the outturn for 2014.  Sandra Newton presented and said we are fairly certain now of a positive outcome by the end of the year.  Parish Share is level with the end of 2013 and stipendiary clergy levels are on target.

Moving on to the 2015 draft budget the Common Fund pledges are currently level with 2013 and 2014.  There is an increase on ingoing works, and slight increase for clergy and lay pay awards and pension increases.  Sandra summed up by saying there are reasons for encouragement but also with caution.

The budget for 2015 was approved.

The penultimate part of the meeting was from a representative of Christian Aid, Alex Jones.  Christian Aid is 70 years old in 2015, and was originally set up in response to the refugee crisis in Europe at the end of the Second World War.  Alex spoke about the work of Christian Aid in Bolivia and about the challenges of selecting what causes to support, with a limited amount of funding.

The Synod closed with prayers led by Canon Ian Smith.

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