Bishop Ruth asks us to ‘Fix our eyes on Jesus’ in her address to Synod

30th July 2021

In her address to Diocesan Synod (28 July), Bishop Ruth reflected on the two sides of water; a destructive force and an essential part of the stuff of life as the diocese experiences “something of the turmoil of change, the opportunities it offers, and the risks and threats that come with that.”

She said, “I’ve been reminded of late of the story of the little fishing boat which the disciples took out on to the Sea of Galilee after a time of busyness.  Jesus wanted to take some time out to pray and sent his friends on ahead of him across the water.  On the journey a storm blew up and threatened to engulf them.  Even seasoned fisher folk like themselves, took fright, especially as they saw a figure walking towards them on the water.

“Although we may feel the anxieties of those disciples in their ‘little boat’, wondering if they could withstand the power of the gathering storm, it is a moment to look out and notice the one walking on the water towards us.  The one who stretches out his hand to invite us to join him on the precarious path.  Peter so much wanted to do just that.  But in stepping out he started to doubt as he looked at what was holding him up and felt the swell of the waves.  He lost his focus on Jesus and started to see all the problems around him.  It was at that point of crying out for help that Jesus reached out his hand to hold him.

“I pray that we will find our faith grows as we too step out onto the challenging path ahead.  That we might fix our eyes upon Jesus, the one in whom all we need can be found, and the one who holds out his hand to lift us from the fear and anxiety that might seek to trap us.”

Bishop Ruth also issued grateful thanks to a number of people who have left or are leaving the diocese, including; CEO and Diocesan Secretary, Sharon Kindleysides; Diocesan Registrar, Roland Callaby and Lay Chair, Mary Masters.

Synod heard updates on the progress to reshape the Diocesan Board of Finance and the process to identify the next Bishop of Bath and Wells, as well as the diocese’s response to ‘From Lament to Action’ and ‘Living in Love and Faith’. 

Stories of chaplaincy in hospitals, hospices and the retail sector were also shared. Musgrove Park Hospital Chaplain, Julia French said it was “a privilege to be allowed to stay on site” during the Covid pandemic and gave an insight into some of the support she and her team of chaplains were able to offer patients and staff at the hospital.


Directly after Synod, the Annual General Meeting of the Diocesan Board of Finance was held, at which the Trustees’ and Directors’ Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2020 were received and Haysmacintyre were reappointed as auditors.


Bishop Ruth’s presidential address