While this was the first Synodical appearance of new
Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, it was also necessary to devote
much of the available time to clearing a backlog of ‘business’ and
technical items that had not been agreed in June or March, and to
enabling the working of diocesan structures in unforeseen circumstances
in the coming months.
The Archbishop was invited to make his first
Presidential Address to the Synod at the end of the agenda rather than
at the beginning, so that business items could be resolved before
turning to the more uplifting and inspiring work of welcoming him and
sharing his vision for his first months in post.
THE CLERGY COVENANT FOR WELLBEING
Stephen’s first act was formally to proclaim the Clergy Covenant for
Wellbeing as an Act of Syod, having been formally passed by the Church
of England’s General Synod in February 2020.
The Covenant is the
fruit of several years’ work and much debate in General Synod; it is the
expressed view of the mind of the Church of England on issues relating
to clergy care and wellbeing.
The Working Party who devised it
“Hope that the work of supporting clergy in their ministry will thus
become an integral part of the life of the Church of England at all
levels, something that is part of the DNA of every aspect of our mission
REPRESENTATION ON DEANERY SYNODS
approved proposals to enable two non-parochial congregations in Hull,
at Kingswood and Longhill, to elect representatives to serve on their
Deanery Synod. Both are established under ‘Bishop’s Mission Orders’
which are outside parish structures and hence need this measure to
participate in the life of the Deanery.
TRANSFORMATION & STRATEGY; GENEROUS CHURCHES MAKING & NURTURING DISCIPLES
Bishop of Whitby Paul Ferguson introduced a brief update on some aspects of our programme of transformation and strategy.
Achieving Sustainable Giving
Generous Giving Team is forging ahead with the introduction of the
Parish Giving Scheme (PGS) and a re-cast of its plans to accommodate the
new realities of the pandemic, in which its previous attendance at PCC
and other meetings is no longer practical. In spite of two of its
members having been furloughed and the decision of one of the two
Advisers to retire at the end of his initial two years in post, coupled
with technical difficulties experienced by PGS, the team’s online
workshops and resources are proving very popular as parishes recognise
the value of the support offered in promoting generous giving.
Multiply: Reaching those in their 20s to 40s
of Making & Nurturing Disciples the Revd Richard White reported
that the thirteen full-time ‘Multiply’ ministers original planned are
all now in post and beginning to see the emergence of the new
worshipping communities that were the opening aspiration for the
project; while the first Growth Fund grants begin to boost the work of
local parishes, conversations continue about creative opportunities to
seed work amongst those from their 20s to their 40s in more contexts,
formats and locations.
Mustard Seed: Reaching People in Poverty
Seed has progressed rapidly from an aspirational plan last time Synod
met to a reality, with Heather Black coming into post as Team Leader
early in 2020. Heather has moved rapidly in spite of both the pandemic
restrictions and her own family move from Middlesbrough to Hull; she is a
diligent user of social media to great effect in raising the profile of
the project within the Diocese, and has succeeded in getting the first
two ’Stepping Up’ programmes going in Hull and Middlesbrough in spite
of everything (other will follow soon in Bridlington, Scarborough and
Redcar & Cleveland).
FINANCE UPDATE AND REPORT
Synod formally Received the Annual Report and Accounts of The York
Diocesan Board of Finance Ltd for 2019 (YDBF is the statutory body that
manages the finances and other legal responsibilities on behalf of the
Diocesan Director of Finance Kathryn Rose presented went
on to present a complex picture of the current financial situation in
the Diocese, in which income to both parishes and the Diocese has been
affected by the pandemic but to an extent that is difficult to
calculate: the current year’s Free Will Offering payments from parishes
to our Diocesan Common Fund appear to have fallen by about 10% in
comparison with the previous year, but anecdotally it seems likely that
this situation will deteriorate further in the coming months.
the pandemic has brought some incidental reductions or delays in
expenditure (eg on property maintenance) this is expected to be of
short-term benefit, if any, and has to be seen in the context of pledged
Free Will Offers having actually fallen from 2019 to 2020 before the
In order to relieve pressure on parishes,
Diocesan communication about Free Will Offer this autumn will not
request a full FWO process but rather assume that the aspiration for
2021 in each parish will remain the same as that for 2020 unless the
parish positively states otherwise; this will however be accompanied by
advice that as Diocesan income falls, there will inevitably be
consequences including a reduction in the number of paid posts both for
Diocesan staff and for clergy.
The Synod formally received a number of annual reports for 2019 from statutory and other bodies within the Diocese, including:
- Strategic Safeguarding Board
- Property Committee
- Mission and Pastoral Committee
- Diocesan Board of Education
- Diocesan Advisory Committee
These reports will shortly be available on the Diocesan website, www.dioceseofyork.org.uk.
INSTRUMENTS OF DELEGATION
Stephen sought and won Synod’s approval for the legal documents which
enable the Suffragan Bishops of Selby, Whitby and Hull to carry out some
of the duties and responsibilities that are his as Archbishop of York.
He noted that the Deanery of York is returned to the care of the Bishop
of Selby, and that he generally wishes the Suffragan Bishops to hold
more responsibility than hitherto, for reasons he set out in his
Presidential Address (see below).
Archbishop Stephen’s full address is available at bit.ly/synodaddress200929.
Here are some key extracts:
am delighted and humbled to be the 98th Archbishop of York, but I know I
begin my ministry at such a time of hardship and challenge. Many of the
familiarities of our life are being stripped away and this, of course,
affects the church as well. Many, many people in our diocese and our
nation have not been able to gather for worship, not received the
comfort of the sacraments, have had to have weddings, baptisms,
confirmations and ordinations postponed; even funerals have been
affected and sometimes bereaved families have had to sit in separation
from each other or not even be able to attend the funeral at all.
this is enormously hard and the church itself has had to make painfully
difficult decisions about how we order our life and respond to both the
coronavirus itself and the regulations imposed by government. We have
not always got it right. But I would like to make my first act as
president of this Synod to thank the bishops archdeacons, Peter Warry,
the diocesan secretary and his staff at the Diocesan Offices, and the
clergy and people of this great diocese for their resilience and
creativity in sustaining the life of the church in these most difficult
circumstances, and particularly for the hundreds and hundreds of
initiatives, large and small, where the church has reached out to its
local community to alleviate suffering, be alongside people in
isolation, and offer the healing medicine of the gospel.
my instincts as a minister of the gospel is to want to get stuck in by
getting out and about in local communities, meeting people, getting to
know them and sharing the good news of Christ as best I can. This is
hard to do in these constrained times, and I’m doing the best that I can
on zoom conferences and in whatever actual meetings are safe and
possible. But also, as Archbishop of York, I have responsibilities for
the northern province and for the nation that mean I cannot be bishop to
the diocese of York in the same way that I have been bishop to other
dioceses. That is why I am delegating and sharing episcopal
responsibilities with my colleagues.
“This, I hope, will itself
be a sign that ministry is shared and should always be collaborative.
But it also means change for the diocese as you get used to more things
being led by the other bishops. I believe my role will be much more
about casting an expanded vision, reminding us of our core vocation as
disciples of Jesus, and then giving my time and energy to very specific
projects and initiatives within the diocese. Its day-to-day running will
be in the hands of my trusted colleagues.”
Read more at bit.ly/synodaddress200929.
NEXT MEETING: Saturday 28th November 2020
Go to Diocesan Synod pages