Report Diocesan Synod 2024

Diocesan Synod 2024
Summary from Geoff Read, clergy rep for North West Europe

Diocesan Synod met at Kardinal Schulte Haus in Köln from Monday 10th to Thursday 13th June.
Both Augustine and Grant, our other clergy reps, sent apologies. Two of ourthree lay reps were present, Sandra Sue and Simon Urquhart (apologies from Rosette Muzigo-Morrison). Archdeacon Sam was present.

1. Summary
As usual it was a mixture of business and study, rooted in worship in the Edith Stein Chapel.

Morning Bible studies were led by Rev Dr Richard Briggs, Principle designate of Lindisfarne College of Theology on the theme Mission in times of conflict and change – some Old Testament principles

They were really good. One fascinating insight was an alternative model of salvation history as faithful resistance in the places to which the people of God are scattered (Gen.12 follows Gen. 11).

During the course of the Synod we were introduced to new people: Bradon Muilenburg, Diocesan Refugee Officer based in Calais and Barbara Alger, Carbon Net Zero officer.

In the evenings there were informal briefings by Diocesan officers on fundraising, safeguarding, communications, care for creation, refugees

2. Key take-aways

Bishop Robert’s address:
• reflections on President Macron’s recent statement “We need to recognise that Europe could die” and the Pope’s observation that that Europe is like “an elderly lady …”
•  his reflections on House of Bishops’ work on clergy wellbeing, LLF, equitable provision of safeguarding resources
• Priorities of building resilience, interdependence, hope

Our Archdeaconry’s proposal on encouraging all chaplaincies to mark Racial Justice Sunday was approved unanimously

There was an interactive workshop from the new Net Zero officer, an example of creative ways to engage people

The results of the second Clergy Wellbeing survey were presented showing ongoing issues about expectations as new clergy come into post, especially those in part-time positions plus improvements in the nuts and bolts of contracts, etc. I encouraged us to also think about wellbeing as personal, vocation and professional flourishing. I mentioned the developmental MDR pilot in our Archdeaconry and encouraged a more developmental focus in what is currently CME

A proposal was made to build on the Walking Together in Faith lay discipleship course with a one-year training for Pastoral Assistants, noting the vocational discernment needed. Chaplaincies were invited to gauge interest.

There were sessions about Ministry Experience scheme and refugee work in Calais

In the House of Clergy meeting there was discussion of the wellbeing theme, especially days off and what we understand by Sabbath

Synod supported the first stage of a major application for SDF funding for children and youth work based on a strategy for (1) enabling qualified and expert leadership, (2) provision of resources and training for youth and children’s work in person and online and (3) developing networks of young Christians locally, regionally and across Europe. Take a look at the Diocesan website for more details. Our Archdeaconry is likely to be one of the pilot projects, so I think this is something we need to understand well.

The Diocesan Board of Finance meeting showed an encouraging out-turn for 2023, a small deficit, due to a Covid-related grant from the central Church. The DBF budget remains on course for future sustainability – I will circulate Andrew Caspari’s slides on request, once received.

3. Looking ahead
Synod also heard a report on the mode of future meetings and decided that this will be in person, while keeping an online and hybrid meeting as options. There was also discussion of meeting over a weekend to enable younger, employed people to join in.

This was the final meeting of the current Triennium, so elections later this year. A new video has been produced explaining the role of Diocesan Rep and encouraging people to stand for election.

Rev. Geoff Read
Chaplain, All Saints Church, Luxembourg