Diocesan Synod Update following the April 2024 Meeting

Published on: 2nd May 2024

On Saturday 27 April, Bishop Richard addressed the Diocesan Synod, encouraging us to keep our eyes fixed on the bigger picture.

The event also included two significant firsts in the Church of England as members were invited to vote on two motions, the first relating to encouraging churches to become part of a network of places of worship that will give a welcome to offenders after release, subject to agreed and clear safeguarding boundaries. The second about seeking a capital redistribution of interest from Church Commissioners’ funds with the intention that this should be used to support stipendiary ministry in each of the 42 dioceses of the Church of England.

Bishop Richard explains: “It was a successful diocesan synod with two motions passed both of which we hope will make a positive impact on churches in our diocese.”

Revd Simon Tarlton, Chief Executive Officer of the Community Chaplaincy Association explains more about the motion on supporting offenders after release: “My work at CCA is all about supporting people who want to move away from crime and reach their full potential.

“Each year we see 12,000 offenders who have found faith leave prison. Very often, they have come to faith during their time in prison, and upon release, they need to join a generous and welcoming Church community.  For most, this can be a key support in helping them to stay accountable and move away from returning to crime and, ultimately, prison.

“The motion passed by Hereford Diocese Synod ratifies a motion brought to General Synod in July and is part of a bigger ambition, endorsed by the CCA, which hopes to build a national network of welcoming church communities. I am delighted that Hereford is the first to sign up and I look forward to others joining.”

The second synod motion, presented by Bishop Richard calls for a capital redistribution of Church Commissioners’ funds. The intention is to see the interest from that capital used to support stipendiary ministry. The bishop hopes to bring a debate to the Church of England’s General Synod by next year once other diocesan synods’ have voted on the motion.  He explains:  “I hope that this motion will be replicated across other diocesan synods and there will be a collective voice. The current system is not sustainable, and this seems the logical financial solution.” 

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