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Diocesan Synod Digest

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					Diocesan Synod Digest
News from Exeter Diocesan Synod th 6 March, 2004
The Diocesan Synod is the Church of England’s “parliament” in Devon, agreeing policy, priorities, and setting budgets for the Church’s work and mission. Its members met on th Saturday, 6 March, to debate and agree a number of key areas shaping the life of the Diocese.

This Synod debated and voted on ‘Moving on in Mission and Ministry’ – a summary of the presentation and debate is enclosed as a separate insert to this Digest. The Diocesan Synod was welcomed to Stover School by headmaster, Tom Packer. Bishop Michael invited feedback on the venue and style of discussion to help with the planning of future Synod meetings (please address comments to Mark Beedell, Diocesan Secretary).

Notices Bishop Michael gave thanks for the ministry of Keith Jones, Dean of Exeter, and congratulated him on his appointment as Dean of York. There will be a farewell service on the afternoon of 2 May in Exeter Cathedral. Bishop Michael gave thanks for the lives and discipleship of two people who have died recently: Angela Parish, a member of Diocesan Synod from East Portlemouth, and Joy Forsaith, secretary to the Cyprus & Gulf Liaison Group and former DAC Secretary. Mothers’ Union Chloe Brice (Diocesan President) and Wendy Jackson (Chaplain) from the Mothers‟ Union led the opening worship and gave a presentation of the MU‟s work. The presentation covered:  following the burglary at the St Sidwell's centre, the offices are now up and running;  the MU is a worldwide organisation with 3 million members;  Comic Relief has awarded £750,000 for adult literacy programmes in Burundi, Malawi & Sudan;  Marigold Seager-Berry (past president Exeter Diocese), is the MU representative at the United Nations;  Exeter MU has links with Sudan, Indian Ocean, Nigeria, Melanesia;  leaflets for children;  projects: caravan at Dawlish for family holidays; prem baby clothes; prison work - toys; women's aid centres; asylum seekers in Plymouth; vouchers for holidays scheme;  story bag project (bible stories);  prison parenting course at Channings Wood;  the MU is here to help: in parishes with baptism & marriage preparation, intercessions; through networking and supporting people in need. Bishop Michael's presidential address “The Church of England Newspaper‟s report on the recent meeting of General Synod began: ‘A packed Synod, and packed press gallery normally suggests one thing – the Church of England is talking about what it likes to talk most about – sex.’ That is neither entirely true nor entirely fair… If anything is needed now it is a pause for the reflection, and serious study, which General Synod actually called for and which the House of Bishops‟ teaching document Some Issues in Human Sexuality is designed to facilitate.” For the full text of the address, visit www.exeter.anglican.org or contact the Communications Unit.
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New constitution for Exeter Diocesan Board for Christian Care The Board for Christian Care is an ecumenical body which helps people of all traditions in outreach in economic and social affairs. The new constitution will facilitate the role of BCC as part of the Council for Church & Society and represent the Anglican interest as one of the churches involved (Roman Catholic, United Reformed, Methodist and Baptist). Interim report on zero-based budget Mark Beedell (Diocesan Secretary) updated Synod on plans to introduce a „zero-based‟ budget (zbb) for 2005:  the purpose of zbb is to bring to Synod a balanced budget which also facilitates effective mission;  definition: a zbb starts with a clean sheet of paper; to build up a budget based on fresh evaluation of how the primary purpose of an organisation can best be met; greater efficiency and effectiveness; usually budget increases are not suggested;  we have been engaged in a very rigorous exercise. When the September Synod looks at the 2005 budget, there will be some very significant changes. At its next meeting in June, Synod will get a chance to give a steer on such matters as the (i) question of implementation of Aspiration 2 on clergy stipends (around £200,000 per year); and (ii) the difficulty being faced by many parishes in meeting their Common Fund apportionment. Public private partnerships (for church schools) We are expecting at any time to be informed of crucial decisions by Government ministers about how PPP scheme may be funded. We need to be in a position to take significant decisions in order to move ahead if it is felt right at the time. There is a growing willingness by Truro, Bath & Wells, Bristol and Exeter dioceses to be involved in a partnership board. Proposed link with Diocese of Thika (northern Kenya) – Rashell Beya (CMS) and Paul Gardner (Archdeacon of Exeter) The Council for Mission and Unity was asked to think about the possibility of a three-way link, complementing the good link with Cyprus & the Gulf. Diocesan links are mainly with developed world or/and ex-patriot communities. As a Diocese, we are missing out on the experience and knowledge that come from the developing world. What could this mean for the ministry of the Diocese?  relationally based, therefore a place where communication is relatively easy;  a Diocese that helps us as much as a relationship - complementary aims and objectives;  vibrant, holistic approach to mission;  enhance existing links (not detract from them). The Diocese of Thika (30 miles north of Nairobi):  two industrial centres: Thika and Ruiru;  the rest of the area is rural; mix of high fertile and low arid regions; farming is the major source of livelihood: tea, coffee, bananas and pineapple;  factory closures, decline in price of coffee has led to unemployment and underemployment  HIV/AIDS has grown considerably in last 10 years;  it is a new Diocese, formed in 1998;  similar to Exeter in size; 4 Archdeaconries, 13 deaneries; 48 parishes (last year); 24,000 Christians. Population 0.8m  social services work
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 Swahili and English speaking  their five-year theme is: 'no other foundation can be laid except Jesus Christ' - youth (13-35): bring to faith, nurture and empower them for leadership; - education: sponsoring schools; guidance to educational institutions; improving quality e.g. IT, provide vocational training for skills for job-market (entrepreneurship and business management) - Christian community services (social economic development), alleviate poverty, HIV programme, orphans, income-generating projects, environmental projects; - theological education by extension - lifeline for theological training in many parts of Africa. Every congregation encouraged to have a TEE group (about 30 at the moment) - mission and evangelism - Diocese fully evangelised through mission activities, crusades and church-planting.  next five years: "I press on towards the goal to win the prize" Phil 13. Extension of the kingdom of God in: - the church - mission and evangelism - health - HIV/AIDS - education - social programme  Bishop Clive (Cyprus & The Gulf) is very enthusiastic; their Diocesan Synod has set aside £5,000 for this work;  our cost implications are £5,000 in the first year. Summary of debate and questions (responses by Paul Gardner): Kenya is in a difficult political situation. What can we learn from that? Answer: discovering more about the political situation is part of the learning process. What do people of Thika think about this? Answer: all we know at the moment is that Thika wants a link with an English diocese. We were concerned not to propose a link and then have it turned down here! It would be inexplicable in African culture to turn it down after making a formal approach. Theological education by extension (TEE) is very important – this could encourage us to learn from them for training in this diocese. How can all parishes become involved to take this forward? We're the „third world‟ when it comes to mission - we must be able to learn a huge amount from them; Can we link our schools to theirs? Answer: What next? There is a need for planning and guidance. I hope we see this as a priority for next year. It would be a tiny portion of what will be a large budget. In terms of the parish share – on average, each person is giving just over £6 per week of which 3p is used for the work of CMU. We need to organise news bulletins and leaflets, plans and suggestions etc to encourage parishes to get involved and make links. Linking with schools could be very fruitful. We must not see this as doing something for others. We are relating to other Christian people in different circumstances and have a huge amount to learn from them. African Christians are fired up with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ; they speak that fearlessly and clearly into situations which make them seem so wonderful and enthuse us for what God can do in our midst. It is holistic mission – the Gospel speaks to people who are suffering; to the need to educate people; to the person and their relationship with Jesus Christ. Bishop Michael said: “I hope you will fully support this motion before us today. It could be that at a time when we are entrenching, the feeling would be we can't do anything more. It is a question of priorities – this is not just a link, but partnership in mission, mission in partnership. The Church lives by mission as a fire by burning. Lose the mission dimension and you have a church that is beginning to die, if it's not already dead.
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He continued: “The Lambeth Conference in 1998 demonstrated that the worldwide Anglican Communion is richly and hugely important – it is not a juridical communion, it's not confessional, it's relational. If it's rocky, it's because we're not paying attention to this and to our fellowship in Christ. We need to commit ourselves afresh to mission and that important relational dimension which forms koinonia." The motion that “This Synod (a) approves in principle a second Diocesan link in addition to the link with the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf; (b) approves in principle a link with the Diocese of Thika, subject to item (c); (c) commends a link with the Diocese of Thika for further consideration as part of the budget-setting process for 2005” was carried nem con. Panel of Assessors under the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure Synod approved the recommended panel, i.e. Laity: Esme Doran, Charles Hodgson, Graham Lea, Heather Morgan, Nigel Speller, Shirley-Ann Williams; Clergy: Paul Avis, Margaret Cameron, Paul Hancock, Nick McKinnel, Roger Reeve, Brian Tubbs. Next Meeting The next meeting of Diocesan Synod is on 24 June, 6pm, St Luke‟s Buckfastleigh.

Issued by: The Communications Unit, Diocesan House, Palace Gate, Exeter, EX1 1HX email: communications@exeter.anglican.org tel: 01392 479624

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