Diocesan Synod November 2023: reflecting on the past and planning for the future

28th November 2023

From Lament to Action, domestic violence, care for creation and financial matters were just some of the items on the agenda for members of Diocesan Synod gathered at Canalside in Bridgwater on Saturday, 25 November.

Opening worship was led by the Revd Stephen Girling, Bath Abbey Missioner who reflected on the Church of England’s Lament to Action campaign, the Abbey’s work on addressing its historic links to slavery and reminded Synod that ‘none of us is immune to this legacy’. This was followed by Bishop Michael’s Presidential Address, after which Synod returned to Lament to Action, with a video message from the Revd Canon Dr Sharon Prentis, Deputy Director of the Church of England’s Racial Justice Group, ahead of her visit to the diocese next year.

Attendees were able to view a sample of the Mothers' Union's 'Souls of my Shoes' exhibition, on display in Wells Cathedral until 9 December, which illustrates the devastating impact of domestic abuse. President of the Mothers’ Union in Bath and Wells, Madeline Hellier, gave a presentation on the exhibition and the work of MU, explaining that it is “more than just offering cups of tea.” Madeline reminded attendees that the Mothers’ Union is always ready to be a Prayer Bank for incumbents and their work, and that they offer families support through their Away From It All initiative, Child Contact Centres and more.

The Archdeacon of Bath, Adrian Youings introduced the proposed new Benefice Share Model and the plan to have period of consultation on the proposal in the first half of 2024. Synod members were invited to discuss the proposal, ask questions and share any concerns. Synod agreed the direction of travel and details of the consultation process will be shared in due course.

A video update from the Environment Group followed, which shared the progress the diocese is making in its bid to be net zero by 2030, including efforts to improve the energy efficiency of the Flourish House, clergy housing audits, and also the work being undertaken in our church schools, including the planting of a ‘green’ safeguarding hedge in one school. Synod then voted in favour of the motion for Bath and Wells to follow the Church of England’s lead and no longer consider investing in fossil fuel companies (no such investments are held currently).

The Chair of the Diocesan Board of Finance (DBF), Ian Theodoreson and diocesan Head of Finance, Matthew Pinnock presented the 2024 DBF budget, which was approved by Synod.


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