Diocesan Synod 11th March 2023

 Click here for the Diocesan Synod 2023 Agenda



Report on Synod

It was an early start with the day beginning at 9am for registration and coffee.  A mad flurry of activity and just enough time to catch our breath and then into the Cathedral to celebrate the Eucharist.  The Synod Eucharist is always a special service, but it was made more special by the marking of the institution of Revd Nerys Brown as a Cathedral Canon.  This gave another dimension to the beginning of our Synod.

After a brief break to rearrange the Cathedral for our Synod meeting the business was under way.   It is always a little nerve racking at this point knowing that so much planning has gone into this part of the day and hoping that nothing has been forgotten or missed in any of the information for Bishop Ian to have to do his job as convener of our Synod.

Bishop Ian welcomed all to the meeting and especially our invited guests:   Revd Canon Ian Barcroft representing the Province; Robert Woodford representing the Provincial Environmental Group (PEG); Jenifer Dawson, Director of PACT representing the Roman Catholic Church and Revd Iain Paton representing the Church of Scotland.   Lydia Kibaara of USPG attended to promote the Lent Appeal for the coming year.   Two new members of staff in the Diocesan office who join Eleanor McGourty, our Admin Assistant were also welcomed.  Jenny Campbell is our new Office Manager and Holly Scott is our Bishop’s Secretary.

We heard from Revd Canon Dr Alasdair Coles regarding the Diocesan Statistics and how important it is to have this information on time and how it helps the Province form its future plans.

We heard from Mr Robert Nellist who is our Diocesan Safeguarding Officer who is stepping down from this role at this Synod.   This was an opportunity for Bishop Ian to thank Robert on behalf of the Diocese for his twelve years in service as Diocesan Safeguarding Officer.  Robert has worked diligently and efficiently over the last twelve years to ensure that our Diocese is complying with regulations and giving guidance to charge PVG co-ordinators. Robert was presented with a Quaich to mark his contribution to the diocese in this role.

Before we knew it coffee time had arrived and we took our refreshments and the opportunity to catch up with folks we have not seen for some time.   Then back to work!

Revd Elaine Garman, Convener of the Diocesan Climate Change Group introduced our session on Climate Change and handed over to Robert Woodford who told us about his role and what PEG is doing and how dioceses and charges can be supported by the Province.   The message being: yes its daunting but we are not alone in this.  We are in it together.

Revd Chris Lowdon and Professor Alan Werritty took questions on the Canon 4 proposals to amend this Canon on the process of electing a Bishop.   This was followed by Revd Canon Christoph Wutscher taking questions on the changes to Liturgy.

With lunch break over we convened again to look at Five Year Planning – looking at what that means for the diocese and for charges – with Brendan Grimley our Convener of the Admin Board and Dean Graham Taylor.  Again the message seemed to be that we are not alone, we are all in this together.   The breakout groups were busy and buzzing and lots of helpful feedback was given.

The day was drawn to a close by Bishop Ian giving his vote of thanks to all who had prepared and participated in the day.

Overall the day had been a good and happy experience for all.  From the hubbub in the Chapter House at lunch time it was obviously an opportunity for folks to meet and rekindle old acquaintances and friendships, this being our first Synod in person since covid hit back in 2020.   The volunteers helping with the catering made the day go well and smoothly and their assistance was very much appreciated.

This was my last Synod in the role of Bishop’s PA and Office Manager and emotions were very mixed.   A sense of looking back and being amazed at where I had started, organising my first Synod not really understanding all that was going on to being the one that now has the knowledge and is passing it on to our new members of staff.   How did that happen!!   It has been a wonderful journey alongside so many good people who have given me so much support and encouragement along the way.   Now is the time to hand over the reins to a new generation of Diocesan staff and I wish them every good wish for their time in the Diocese.


Carol Aitchison

14th March 2023