Friends and colleagues catch up at Synod for the first time since pandemic

Bradford Cathedral hosted a well-attended Diocesan Synod which saw friendships renewed as clergy and laity met for the first time in person since the start of the pandemic.

An opening Eucharist was led by the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, before Diocesan Secretary Jonathan Wood introduced the new synod and also welcomed the newly-appointed Chair of Clergy, Revd Canon Rachel Firth, Vicar of Huddersfield.

Jonathan then invited everyone to engage in 15 minutes of “small-talk” with those seated near them on the suggested topic of “What excites us about being on Synod.”

Bishop Nick’s Presidential Address focussed on commitment to our parishes, which he said were not in danger, and the importance of addressing climate change through our strategic plan, Saving Creation. Bishop Nick also praised the tireless work of Rt Revd Paul Slater, Bishop of Kirkstall and the Ven Anne Dawtry, Archdeacon of Halifax, who were attending their last synod before retirement. His full address may be read here

Debate on the proposed 2022 budget of £21,363,040 was introduced by the Ven Andy Jolley, Archdeacon of Bradford, followed by an explanation of the current and predicted financial situations by diocesan Chief Finance Officer Geoff Park. He stressed the increasing significance of parish share at a time of inflationary costs.

Graham Foster (Halifax Deanery) said parish share was the biggest variable and that deanery synod’s and parishes needed to play a bigger part in getting that message across

Mike Moss (Aire and Worth Deanery) said how prayer was also of great importance and that he was concerned about future economic impacts on the welfare of clergy.

The motion to approve the 2022 budget was passed.

The Rt Revd Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley proposed a motion to ratify the appointment of three Leeds Diocesan Board of Finance nominee trustees, Mrs Marilyn Bannister, Mrs Jane Evans and Irving Warnett. The motion was passed.

The afternoon began with a presentation and discussion on the diocesan Carbon Net Zero Strategy: Saving Creation, introduced by Bishop Paul and led by our Environment Officer Jemima Parker and Communications Officer Jack Bacon.

A full report of this important aspect of the day can be found here.

Jonathan Wood gave an update on implementation of the Diocesan Strategy, including the results of a survey of parish opinions and engagement before synod concluded with a blessing by Bishop Nick.

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