Latest News from Diocesan Synod

The March Synod took place on Saturday 23 March at Bishop Stopford School in Kettering. After an initial opportunity to meet and chat over a cup of coffee, the Synod started with Opening Worship, led on behalf of the Kettering Deanery, by Rural Dean, Nicki Hobbs.

Bishop Debbie then addressed her first Synod in Peterborough, reflecting on the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. Bishop Debbie thanked the Diocese for its warm welcome and encouraged us to think about how our churches can become places of welcome and acceptance.

The main presentation was given by Peter Cantley, Diocesan Director of Education, on the work of the Board of Education. This informative presentation shared how the work done in our church schools is a battle for the hearts, souls and minds of our children, reflecting the mission statement of the DBE which is ‘education for life, deeply Christian, serving the common good’. Prayer and spiritual reflection must be the heartbeat of all the activity that takes place.

Peter highlighted the huge opportunity for mission church schools represent, with over 25 thousand children being educated within the Diocesan Schools network, the majority of whom can be described as having an embryonic faith. Our schools represent a ‘harvest field for the Gospel’ and we want to walk alongside each and every child, bringing them to maturity in faith and being a friend through joys and sorrows to help them experience the ‘life in all its fullness’ (John 10:10).

Peter then described the huge successes of our schools in their Ofsted inspections and the recent changes to the SIAMS inspection criteria which has led to the launch of the new Diocesan Award for Excellence. This allows the Diocese to fully celebrate the work that goes above and beyond what is required by the inspection to place faith at the centre of their work.

The priorities for the team remain improving education through supporting school leaders and increasing the number of church school places.

Following a short break, the Revd Morna Simpson gave an update from the two sittings of General Synod that had occurred since the last Diocesan report. She reflected on the number of areas where there had been consensus of opinion in particular taking forward the work of the racial justice team and support for estates ministry. She noted that the Prayers of Love and Faith had been commended for use but underlined that this was an option for clergy in agreement with their PCCs not a requirement.

Bishop Debbie then announced that we would be welcoming Bishop John Stroyan as a new Honorary Assistant Bishop to continue his ministry in our Diocese.  More information about Bishop John, his former ministry in the Diocese of Coventry and his hopes for his ministry during retirement will be shared shortly.

The report of the Boards and Committees was received, and thanks were given for the work of all those who sit on the committees and work in the Diocesan staff teams. Opportunity was given for questions to be responded to on these reports and points were noted.

The Lay Chair, Andrew Presland, then brought a motion to approve the commissioning of a review of the Standing Orders for Diocesan and Deanery Synods, the last having taken place in 2000. Some discussion took place regarding the possible timeline of this review, but the idea was warmly received, and the vote was in favour.

The next scheduled meeting of Synod is on Saturday 12 October which will be the first meeting of the new three year cycle. The Diocesan Secretary, Andrew Roberts, will be in touch with deaneries shortly regarding elections.

To see full minutes of the meeting, details of your Synod Reps, and information on the standing orders, please see our Diocesan Synod page. 





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