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Diocesan Synod meets at St John's House

First published on: 19th October 2023

Last Saturday’s meeting of Diocesan Synod took time to consider our route to Net Zero, our Racial Justice strategy, progress with our Transforming Prayer Community and the Annual Report of the Diocesan Board for Education. 


Opening worship was led by the Revd Grace Thomas and the Diocese of Manchester's Choral Scholars, a talented group of choral singers who are part of a collaborative project between the diocese and St Martin-in-the-Fields. In his presidential address, Bishop David spoke of the ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza, the importance of tolerance and compassion for those affected and the need for continued prayer.


Alison Peacock, Head of Serving Communities and the Revd Grace Thomas, Diocesan Environment Officer, gave an update on the progress being made by the Environment Working Group in supporting our parishes with Net Zero. They outlined the latest carbon emission figures and reported on the good progress being made by our parishes with Energy Footprint Tool submissions (59% in 2023) and Eco Church – more than 50% of our churches are now registered and more than one in five has an award.

Archdeacon Karen Lund and Helen Platts, COO/Diocesan Secretary, reported on the diocese’s Racial Justice Strategy, which is based on the national report ‘From Lament to Action’. A Steering Group has been set up to ensure that the diocese is creative and decisive in promoting racial justice so that people of global majority heritage are fully included in the life of our Church.

Synod also heard from Deborah Smith, Director of Education, as she shared details of the work the team had carried out over the 2022/23 academic year and their plans for the year ahead. This includes continued support for schools including with inspections, the expansion of the ManDio Growing Faith programme and the rollout of the second phase of the Children Changing Places project in Bolton. 

The Chair of the DBF, Canon Phillip Blinkhorn, made a presentation on the financial challenges facing the diocese. The Diocesan Board of Finance has made a commitment to funding 175 stipendiary posts for the medium-term in spite of operating with a deficit budget. A key priority is to increase the amount of Parish Share which has fallen by over £1 million following the pandemic, to ensure the future missional strength and sustainability of our diocese. Synod members agreed the diocese’s budget for 2024.

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