Diocesan Synod gathers in Weston-super-Mare

18th March 2024

Diocesan Synod, at St Paul’s Church in Weston-super-Mare, opened with a moving testimony from James, who shared how he came to Weston in recovery from alcohol problems and, through his local church, found faith in Jesus and a community that loved him. 

In his address to Diocesan Synod Bishop Michael shared Mary's Song of Praise: The Magnificat, Luke 1:46-55. He spoke of how Mary, “…sings of a God who’s powerfully involved in every detail of our lives. Mary’s God positively invites Mary’s contribution. ‘My soul magnifies the Lord’ she sings. Such words would make no sense if they related to a God who in infinity and perfection had no need of us. Our God is involved. Supremely in Jesus who through the cooperation of Mary became one of us." Bishop Michael asked, "Are we expecting God to turn up here? To inform our conversation? Needing our contribution? Inviting us to bring about God’s preferred future?”

Bishop Michael also talked about how Mary tells us to expect “disturbance that leads to change, discomfort, alteration – the radical inbreaking of the life of God’s kingdom into our lives and into the world we inhabit.” And asked those gathered at Synod to consider, “Are we ready for God’s disturbance today – be we the humble and meek, or the mighty in our seats? Or are we strapped into our harnesses, wired into our chairs, determined that nothing and no one is going to shift us from what we think and where we are? 

“I hope that all of us will be ready for the wave of God’s spirit to lift us us, turn us upside down, fling us into receiving the promises of God that Mary tells us will be ours.”

You can download Bishop Michael’s Presidential Address in full from the bottom of this page.

Revd Cannon Sharon Prentis, Deputy Director of The Racial Justice Unit, joined Synod. Speaking about the work of the group she asked those gathered to consider, “What does it mean to be a diverse church made up of diverse people?" And encouraged that together, “We can become the church that God intended us to be.”

You can see more from Sharon in the video below. 

Synod also had the opportunity to hear from Archdeacon Adrian and Head of Finance, Matthew Pinnock, who spoke about the first round of the Common Fund consultations which have taken place. More than 500 people have taken part in the process so far. A second round of the consultation is due to begin in April. Archdeacon Adrian and Matthew shared the proposals and Synod members discussed the proposals.

Bishop Michael discussed with synod the Diocesan Strategy next steps, and spoke about developing a common direction and what that should be.

Following Sharon’s talk, Mike Haslam Chaplaincy Development Adviser / Acting Mission Development Team Leader, gave Synod an update on the racial justice and equality strategy in Bath and Wells. Synod members were invited to discuss the next steps for their churches, schools and chaplaincies and for the diocese.

Bishop Michael also took the opportunity to thank Archdeacon Adrian, who was attending his last Diocesan Synod before he leaves in June to take up a new post in the charity sector. 


Bishop Michael's Presidential Address

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