Diocesan Synod was held on Saturday 25 June in St Edmundsbury Cathedral. Bishop Martin was delighted to welcome Alan Smith, First Church Estates Commissioner, to Synod. Alan was appointed as the next First Church Estates Commissioner in July 2021 and he chairs the Church Commissioners' Assets Committee, a statutory committee responsible for the strategic management of the Church Commissioners' £9.2 billion investment portfolio. Alan gave Synod an oversight of The Church Commissioners, The 2023-25 Triennium, and the decade ahead. This focused on supporting the Church to deliver the bold outcomes and strategic priorities of the Vision and Strategy, including:
- reaching the young and the poor, and better representing the communities we serve
- helping the Church to transition to a lower carbon approach in line with Net Zero 2030 goal
- making a step change in the area of Justice, in particular racial and social justice and other areas of diversity and inclusion
- ensuring the Church is a safe place for all
The Church Commissioners intend to distribute £1.2 billion over 2023-25 (up from £930 million in 2020-22) and they hope to be able to maintain funding over the following two triennia, enabling a bold long-term investment in the ministry and mission of the Church of England of £3.6 billion over nine years.
We are currently applying for c£1.3m funding, over five years, from the Church Commissioners to bolster Growing in God from 2022 – 2026. In the meantime, Growing in God will continue to be delivered through our existing revenue expenditure, and in addition, the trustees of the DBF has approved investment of funds over the next five years.
Synod Presentation | PDF
Alan Smith video clip
Synod minutes | PDF
Growing in God
Diocesan Synod received a lively and inspiring presentation by The Revd Canon Dave Gardner outlining new resources to support our vision of Growing in God which was first launched in 2015.
Growing in God is our strategy for realising the diocesan vision of "Flourishing congregations making a difference". It is underpinned by the Gospel that invites us to celebrate the good news of God’s saving love. We have always held four priorities and these remain the same to Grow in depth, influence, number and younger.
As Bishop Martin says: "We believe as Christians we are called to ministries of transformation for individuals, community and wider society, and so we seek to be flourishing congregations making a difference. We want to grow in whatever ways we can, to serve God in the communities where we are placed."
Vocations: A series of events being offered throughout the year highlighting different vocations. This was launched earlier this year at the Vocations Fair in May and has been followed up by vocations presentations in each Deanery, please visit: www.cofesuffolk.org/training-for-ministry/
Plan for Growth: Dave Gardner outlined how research into church growth suggests that “churches that intend to grow, tend to grow”. Therefore ,we have provided new resources to help benefices create a Plan for Growth to help them flourish in their own unique context. We have provided three simple steps to help you create your Plan for Growth: 'Listen' to your communities, 'Choose' your three main priorities and 'Plan' your next steps. To find out more about Plan for Growth and find resources to help you take part please visit our website here www.cofesuffolk.org/plan-for-growth.
Growing Rural: We have revitalised our parish training to offer the Growing Rural programme (formerly Germinate). This has been developed specifically to help churches to grapple with and overcome the challenges of growth in a rural multi-parish setting. Find out how your benefice could get involved here: www.cofesuffolk.org/growing-rural.
Partnership for Missional Church (PMC): We are also inviting people to sign up for PMC a process for churches designed to help them connect with the activity of God, each other, their mission and their local area by focusing on six spiritual practices. Ask your incumbent for more information.
Growing in God Growth fund: If our funding bid is successful, we plan to extend this fund from £10k to £35k per year in 2022 - 2026. The fund supports projects linked to Benefice Plans for Growth and those with a clear missional objective. Information is on our website: www.cofesuffolk.org/growth-funding-opportunites.
A refocus on Growing Younger: by providing funding for innovative and inspirational work with children, young people and their families especially in areas of existing opportunities. Further information will be announced.
Development of an online learning and development hub: offering courses, events and resources to all audiences. Further information will be announced in due course.
Ukraine donations via World Vision
In February, the Bishops’ Lent Appeal was set up in partnership with World Vision to receive our donations as we responded to the crisis in Ukraine. Since then, an incredible £83,735 has been donated to World Vision. This will make a life-changing difference to those who have fled this devastating conflict – by providing children and families searching for a safe haven with hygiene kits, protection and psychosocial support - including child friendly spaces. World Vision is part of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), whose appeal is supported by the UK Government and you can still donation by visiting this website page: Ukraine message from Bishop Martin | World Vision UK (wvunited.org).
World Vision: Thank you video: