Diocesan Synod met at Manor Church of England Academy, York, on a warm Saturday, 22nd June 2019.

In his Presidential Address to Synod, ’Living a Jesus Christ-Shaped life’, based on Philippians 2:1-11, Archbishop Sentamu told us that “A true minister of the gospel must be one who can say to others, follow me as I am following Jesus.”
“This is discipleship… Living a Jesus Christ-shaped life. Knowing one another as Jesus Christ knows us: a mixture of goodness and failure, hope and despair, love and hatred… And he still loves us to bits.”

The Archbishop commissioned and anointed a team of four representing the Church of St Michael-le-Belfrey, York, who will be playing a crucial part in our diocesan plans for reaching those in their 20s, 30s and 40s by taking on the training of additional curates, with the remit to become planters of new worshipping communities with a focus on this age group.

The Revd Richard Carew outlined the emerging programme for the Archbishop’s Mission in the Diocese of York 12-15 March 2020 and explained some of the opportunities for every parish and church to be involved, including the chance to ‘bid’ for a visiting bishop and team from another diocese to get behind a local initiative.
He showed Synod a preview of the ‘Come And See’ mission prayer featured on newly-launched website www.comeandsee.uk; a growing range of resources will be available there to encourage and support parishes in their own plans to join in. “Who would you like to reach?” he asked, “And how would you like to reach them?”

Bishop of Whitby Paul Ferguson introduced a progress report on some aspects of our programme of transformation and strategy.

  • Reaching those in their 20s to 40s

    Implementation of plans now funded by the £3m grant from the Church of England’s Strategic Development Fund is now well under way under the banner ‘Multiply’. The 14 full-time pioneer ministers are coming into post, and the first grant to a parish to support local plans has been made. The central team is complete with the arrival of Dan Doran in a half-time role focused on the ‘Toolbox’ website which is now live at www.multiplyreach.org.
  • Reaching People in Poverty

    The process of refining our vision prior to an application for C of E Strategic Development Funding is well under way, and the application is expected to be submitted in October. While we pray and trust that the bid is unlikely to fail, the plans would be worth pursuing on a reduced scale without external funding (see below for more information).
  • Achieving Sustainable Giving

    The Generous Giving & Stewardship Team has made a great impact in visiting nearly every Deanery since last September in order to meet the need expressed in the 2016 consultations for practical support in developing giving to local churches. However, many of these encouraging contacts have yet to ‘convert’ into parish giving programmes, and Synod was asked to consider how this rate might be improved.

Director of Making & Nurturing Disciples the Revd Richard White introduced the strategy which will form the basis of our application to the Church of England’s Strategic Development Fund this autumn, in support of our plans to reach those living in poverty.
More than a quarter of the people of our Diocese live in the 49 parishes facing very high deprivation. Church membership is low, although there is outstanding ministry in many of these places.
The three principal strands of the ‘Mustard Seed’ strategy are:
Investing in groups of courageous local disciples through a twin track ‘Stepping Up’ programme to identify, equip and mobilise witnesses, leaders, pastors and planters amongst people in poverty.
Changing the culture of the diocese through a network of ‘Ambassadors’ to catalyse a flow of partnership and generosity between parishes in prayer, energy and financial giving.
As local people are developed, and a spreading network of support across the diocese established, we expect to see vibrant mission flourish. The Mustard Tree will grow many more 'branches' in which the birds of the air will find a new home. We are referring to those branches as ‘Community Hubs’ – places where we will see revitalised existing church groups and new worshipping communities develop, not necessarily meeting on a Sunday, many of which may be radically different to ‘inherited church’ but all of which will be an integral part of parish life.
Synod agreed enthusiastically with the approach to an autumn funding bid.


Diocesan Director of Education Andrew Smith and Children's & Young People's Adviser Carolyn Edwards presented work to date on discerning a vision for children and young people in the Diocese with an emerging focus on the relationship between church, family and school.
"Children and Young People should be seen as equals within our churches; not a group of people we do things to," said Carolyn. "We want households that are supported and resourced in their discipleship by both churches and schools."
Synod was invited to discuss opportunities that might exist for our work with Children and Youth, what specific resources will be required to support that work, and what training will help equip those who work with Children and Youth?

Diocesan Secretary Canon Peter Warry introduced the 2018 report of the York Diocesan Board of Finance Ltd. The overall picture was of stability and soundly-managed investments, with costs below those anticipated principally due to delays in filling posts. This was not necessarily good news since it indicates plans not implemented or work not done.
Free Will Offer receipts in 2018 were slightly below those in 2017. Whilst the majority of churches increased their contribution, some were unable to pledge as much this year as in previous years. It had been anticipated that receipts would be overall at a similar level to 2017 but two significant contributors were unable to fulfil their full offer due to unforeseen circumstances – these two alone account for the £40,000 reduction over the previous year.
Newly-arrived Director of Finance Kathryn Rose updated Synod on the financial outlook for 2019 and the factors beginning to shape the 2020 Diocesan budget.
The Synod also received reports from the Audit Committee, the Property Sub-Committee, the Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Sub-Committee, the Diocesan Board of Education, the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches (DAC) and the Strategic Safeguarding Board.

Saturday 23rd November 2019

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