Next Steps

by Michael Ford last modified 03 Jul, 2019 06:16 PM

Bishop Karen and David Pain briefed Synod on the next steps in our Renewing Hope Review, and started Synod thinking about key priorities for the future.

Bishop Karen said she wanted to thank those who have fed into Bishop John Gladwin’s report on 'Renewing Hope: Pray Serve Grow'.

But she said the danger was that we could just keep on discussing it, so it was important that we used the questions posed in the report to take us further forward and help us to establish priorities.

She said Bishop John had set our 6 basic values that we could use. These were:

Deepening Spirituality; Going Local; Working Collaboratively; Travelling Light; Learning on the Road; and Widening Vision and Service.

"The basic values on page 4 give us pegs on which we can hang all our Ministry and Mission. They are scales on which we can measure our basic plans," she said.

She said Bishop John’s report "focuses us outwards" and gives "a proposed direction of travel and change."

"What we now need is to attend to our priorities."

So she asked members in the light of the questions and the values to look at finding the priorities at parish, benefice, deanery, and diocesan level.

First in 2s and then in larger groups, Synod members were encouraged to discuss their thoughts.

There was lots of conversation and enthusiasm during this session, and the ideas shared will be fed through to Bishop’s Council in drawing up a set of key priorities that can be adopted for the Diocese as a whole.

Our Diocesan Secretary David Pain then briefed Synod on the various Reviews that are taking place.

He said it was vital that we aimed to align our priorities and financial resources.

"This is important, it is about responding to Bishop Nicholas' comment in his presidential address that we are stewards of a minor miracle, and respond to God in a particular way in the particular place we are."

He said that so far he had received more than 20 responses to the invitation for feedback on the Bishop John Gladwin Review, and that these came from not just individuals, but also PCC and deanery meetings and parish staff meetings.

He said people had important things to say and encouraged more responses by the July deadline.

He added that the responses would also go to Bishop’s Council at end of July "for discussion and to discern our priorities."

"This is helping us determine our priorities as we take the next steps to Renewing Hope Phase 2."

He said this now need to be linked to our financial resources:

"We are working on a budget Framework of 2021 to 2023, which will come to the November Synod. Moving to a 3-year framework rather than just having an annual budget will enable us to lengthen our stride."

"This framework needs to be based on a balanced budget.

"As we respond to Bishop John’s report we need to establish priorities - where to deploy our resources in order to best respond to a changing context in such a way that we Renew Hope, and continue to build a thriving Christian presence in every community.

“In the papers presenting the 2020 budget plan to the Synod we have been very transparent about the money. It is important that we all need to understand where the money is being deployed now and where we have choices about the future. There is gap about a million a year and it’s my job to help you close that gap."

David told Synod they were working on six reviews, looking at Ministry and Mission, Property, Diocesan Offices, Fairer Share, IT and Comms and Engagement.

These reviews were being overseen by a Core Group of Bishop Council members, with rural deans and lay chairs and colleagues across the DBE and Church House contributing to the different areas of work.

He said at this stage the reviews were looking to generate options:

"All ideas are welcome and everything is on the table.

"In the autumn we will start to make some decisions so that we will have proposals to bring back to Synod in November, but also so we can work within a sustainable financial framework."

David said the approach to the Mission and Ministry review was "about church and school, how we can work together engaging with communities, including with children and young people.

"We are looking carefully at our main investment, which is of course the costs of being present with stipendiary clergy."

"We are looking in all areas of how we serve and resource the Parishes and Deaneries."

He said we also intend to "Listen to voices of children and young people and others who are not typically heard."

David also said that this approach would be responding to the national church programme of ‘Growing Faith’ and seeking to implement the idea of going local were key priorities already.

He said in the Property Review, the Core Group was looking at growing our surveying business as a social enterprise alongside the income and expenditure related to our housing stock and to our glebe land.

He said it would probably be 2020 before any decisions would be made on the future of the Diocesan Offices, but that the IT review was one where "more money would be needed to be spent" to enable a move to "a fit-for-purpose set of tools with both our database and website."

Finally, David commented that when it came to our communications, we needed to "build on our strengths in telling stories" and have to look at building approaches that are about "engagement as well as broadcast."

He said, looking ahead "we will continue to discuss our priorities and seek to make decisions well together."

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