Churchwardens, Making Jesus Known and our relationships - a day at synod

Diocesan Synod met to discuss the new Making Jesus Known vision, the introduction of a new system of Share, the work of our schools and a shortage of people in the vital role of churchwardens.

Bishop Stephen began with an address which placed thoughts and minds firmly on Jesus at the heart our new vision. He said: “The Good News in Jesus Christ is too good and too important not to be made known. Evangelism is not a formula; it is sharing the person. The gospel is not a What, it is a Who. The gospel is a person, the one who stood before us as a living person, the Word made flesh. This means the gospel has to be about encounter, not just proclamation which so easily becomes shouting, but about relationship.

“What we need, above everything else, isn’t more things, more stuff, but a relationship, a living connection, with our creator and judge, our beginning, and our end.

“This relationship is real because relationship is at the heart of God. The Trinity isn’t an ‘it’, it’s a who. Three-in-one, pure love. And if God is personal, mutual, and generous relationship by definition, then so should we be because that is what our society is missing. Here is loving-kindness, mercy, grace, understanding, judgement, patience, faithfulness, commitment, sacrificial love and solidarity, rescue and redemption, salvation, and a thousand new starts.” Read his full address.

A new booklet explaining how everyone can get involved in the Making Jesus Known vision was shared with synod. Its available online to download or read. The booklet refines some of the language shared at the beginning of our vision discernment last year, and it ensures the focus of our vision is firmly on Jesus. FInd out more

A new, easy to understand, system of Share is being introduced from 2025. There will be four events in May and June across the diocese to explain the new Share system. In order to grow through discipleship and encounter, we need to ensure there is a commitment to paying for and sustaining today’s Church. The new system is simple, realistic and rooted in mutual support: so that those who have a little more can help those who have a little less. Sharing resources and supporting each other is vital if we are to continue to Make Jesus Known. Resources explaining the new system, which was overwhelmingly endorsed by synod members, are available on the finance pages of the diocesan website.

Synod also heard from new director of the diocesan board of education, Katie Fitzsimmons, about the inspiring work of young people and teachers in our 192 schools across the diocese.

The Archdeacon of Sarum, Alan Jeans, introduced a discussion on the shortage of churchwardens. As with many other dioceses, there are a number of vacancies among churchwardens, a vital and hugely important post in the life of the local church. The role of churchwarden is one of the oldest voluntary roles still in existence.

Archdeacon Alan said: “Churchwardens are vital to the health and wellbeing of our church communities. It is an important and, at times, a demanding role.”

Synod member Rev Beth Hutton said churchwardens needed to be valued: “Some feel called to sorting out drains and roofs, rather than being leaders of mission but other churchwardens have gifts in mission who need to be freed up for mission. We need to value the individual gifts of every churchwarden.”

The motion, which was supported, asked for further support and equipping of churchwardens, to assist them in their vital role.

Finally, synod members heard of a new campaign to encourage more people to stand for synod, when nominations open on 1 May. Find out more. 



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