Report from Diocesan Synod held on 16 July 2016

18th July 2016

The latest Diocesan Synod was held at St Mary’s Bramall Lane on 16 July 2016.  The meeting started with opening worship led by Warden of Readers, Imogen Clout. 

Canon Ian Smith chaired the meeting.  The first item on the agenda was to welcome Bishop Peter to his first Synod as the acting Diocesan bishop.  Canon Smith then introduced Heidi Adcock, the new Diocesan Secretary, to her first Diocesan Synod.

In a break from the formal agenda, Bishop Peter then interviewed Heidi, in the relaxed ‘sofa spot’ style that he seems to be getting famous for!  This was designed to give the Synod an introduction to Heidi and a chance to find out a little more about her.

“It’s great to be working in the place that I know and love.  I feel really passionately about the region that I live in and the things that we are trying to do here.”  She continued “I’m really hopeful that our vision and our strategy can help us as we move through a period of transition. I hope to bring a strength of leadership, teamwork and focus in Church House to help with the work of the wider diocese.”

Apologies were accepted and the minutes of the last meeting were agreed.  Synod was also asked to note that the Centenary Project video shown at the last Synod meeting is now available on the diocesan website: (

Jane Patterson gave the report on General Synod which took place last weekend.  She explained that Synod finished early so that all could be involved in the shared conversations into human sexuality.  The groups were given a professional facilitator, and each group was selected to represent a range of opinion. To help the discussions, three scholars also addressed the Synod with their understanding of what the bible says about sexuality.  Papers from the July session of General Synod can be found on the Church of England website.

The Archdeacon of Doncaster then gave a report on Safeguarding.  He explained how the diocese is working very hard to maintain the service in line with new Church of England national policy.  Linda Langthorne was appointed as Diocesan Safeguarding Officer in January and she is proving to be an outstanding appointment.  Sandi Keene, as a lay external volunteer, is the chair of the safeguarding committee and has a stellar CV with lots of experience.  The Archdeacon also gave updates on the Goddard enquiry and the parish safeguarding audits.  He also explained that we are required to comply with a new national framework for training.  This has begun but it is a large task and the diocese is looking to recruit and train volunteers to help deliver the training.

Bishop Peter then gave his first Presidential Address to Synod.  The full address can be watched here.

Bishop Steven had been asked to attend in time for the coffee break so that people would have a chance to chat with him.  After coffee, Jackie Butcher, Lay Chair of Synod, and Canon Ian Smith, Chair of Synod, then both gave speeches thanking Bishop Steven for his time as Bishop of Sheffield.

Canon Smith said “I don’t think I have met anyone so self-assured and so obsessed without any air of arrogance, you have modelled for us that Jesus is the key” concluding “thank you”.  Bishop Steven was presented with a gift and the room stood to applaud him, while he patiently waited to thank everyone.  He said: “Thank you for your kind words this morning.  It has been a huge privilege in my life to be the Bishop of Sheffield.  You don’t even in a lifetime of ordainment, get to do that many jobs and this has been one of the most wonderful, rich and privileged. In many ways I am sorry to be leaving but also excited by what God is calling me to do.”

Ian Walker Chairman of the Diocesan Board of Finance then presented a review of the accounts for 2015.  The accounts will be made available on the website shortly.  Ian followed this by taking questions from the floor. 

The accounts for 2015 were received and adopted.  The auditors were also appointed for 2016.

Ian Walker then moved onto a review of the 2016 budget so far.  Some items he highlighted were as follows:

  • Full complement of the Parish Support Team.
  • Mission Partnership Development Workers.
  • Centenary Project.
  • Common Fund is currently 3% down on budget and this is having some impact on cash flow.

The budget for 2017 is currently being finalised.

The next item on saw the Archdeacon of Doncaster move “THAT the 2015 Annual Report and Accounts of the Sheffield West Riding Charitable Society be received.”  The Synod agreed.

The Synod closed with prayers led the Revd Toby Hole.

The next meeting will be held on Saturday 26 November 2016 the venue is still to be confirmed.

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