Diocesan Synod: April 2015

A vision for Synod: Jesus at the heart of our communities

An inspiring vision was held up before the Diocesan Synod – that of the Risen Christ at the heart of all our communities and the distinctiveness of Christian disciples shining as a beacon across the country.

The vision was offered by Canon John Spence, chair of the Archbishops’ Council Finance Committee, who addressed Synod on the Church’s Reform and Renewal programme, which is examining four strands of development: resourcing the future church; resourcing ministerial education; simplifying processes and procedures; developing leaders.

The programme is, in part, a reaction to declining church attendance. Canon Spence said the arithmetic showed numbers were falling but the outcome of conversations with dioceses showed there was a “universal ambition for growth”, with a desire to keep the parish system to maintain a Church presence in every community.

Reform and Renewal was all about the “re-evangelisation” of the country, and work on discipleship was central to it all – “discipleship must exude from everything we do”.

On a personal note, Canon Spence said it was 25 years since he had been registered blind but added: “You don’t need eyesight to have a vision and I have a vision for this Church, shorn of all its frailties and lack of confidence, a Church that is relevant in every community.

“Where the distinctiveness of disciples shines as a beacon in their communities; a church where people no longer talk about decline but look forward to growth. A Church which ensures the risen Christ is restored to his rightful place.”

Watch a video clip of Canon Spence talking about Reform and Renewal at:


Synod, held at Nottingham Emmanuel School, West Bridgford, also endorsed a motion for the Diocese to join the Citizens UK national care campaign, which is pressing for a better deal for people who need care and those that provide it.

Citizens is calling for recognised training for carers; for visits to last at least 30 minutes; for carers to be paid for travelling time and to receive the Living Wage; for clients to be looked after by the same carer.

For more information on the campaign go to www.icareaboutcare.org.uk

The DAC report was presented to Synod by the Revd Keith Turner, who is retiring as chairman of the DAC in July; Education director Claire Meese presented the annual education report, and finance director Rebecca Bowes presented the annual accounts to the annual general meeting, which preceded Diocesan Synod.

Archdeacon David Picken presented a report on Transforming Churches (Building Communities of Grace), which looks to develop a strategy for church buildings across the diocese.

Synod endorsed the report which says that parishes will be asked to reflect on the needs in their area, how they are ministering to those needs, and how buildings “help and hinder them in becoming more fully the communities of grace they are called to be”.

Deanery leaders will be asked to reflect on the parish responses and then meet with their archdeacon to consider the evidence gathered.

To read the summary of the annual accounts go to