More than 350 members of the large combined West Yorkshire & the Dales Diocesan Synod will gather in Harrogate on Saturday 22nd November for the first meeting since the creation of the diocese last Easter. Several key decisions for the future have to be taken at the all-day meeting, taking place at the Cairn Hotel, Harrogate.
How big should Synod be? Next summer, elections will be held for the new Diocesan Synod, in common with dioceses throughout the CofE. How many places are up for election will need to be decided by this first Synod. Church rules state that a diocesan synod must number between 100 and 270. With nearly 400 members of the combined Synod, a radical reduction is inevitable, whether members vote for a smaller more efficient synod or a larger, and perhaps more representative, body.
Elections and business matters - Before work can get underway, members will need to approve Standing Orders and elect a chair for the House of Clergy and a chair for the House of Laity.
Governance - Members will be asked to consider a proposed new and forward-thinking model for the how the new diocese is run, which bodies will take key decisions, the make-up of the Diocesan Board of Finance, and the role and make-up of bodies such as Bishops Council.
Areas and delegation - How the role of area bishops is developed under what are called ‘instruments of delegation’ was one of the most innovative aspects of the Dioceses Commissions plans, and the Synod will be asked to give its consent to these developments.
Naming the bishops - At present the bishops for Ripon and Wakefield are called ‘Knaresborough’ and ‘Pontefract’. Synod members will have to consent to a request from Bishop Nick to Her Majesty -via General Synod in February - for a change of name to match their new episcopal areas.
The 2015 budget must be approved by Synod members in what promises to be a very busy first gathering.
Bishop Nick Baines, the Bishop of Leeds, said, “In this first synod of the new diocese we’ll be asked to make important provisional decisions that will allow us then to do detailed work on shaping the diocese for the future. It’s a relief to have got to this point, but the synod offers the first word, not the last”.
The Synod is open to members of the press and public and will take place from 9.30am –3.30pm on Saturday November 22nd at the Cairn Hotel, Harrogate.
New booklets for churches to pick up
Three new publications are available for every church to pick up at Diocesan Synod on Saturday, as well as downloadable here on the website very soon.
You Told Us, the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales and the World, and Stories from Sri Lanka will be available in paper form from the weekend.
You Told Us is a synopsis of all the feedback from people and churches from meeting held last Lent around the new diocese. There are 2 paper copies for each church.
The Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales and the World is a 12 page booklet celebrating our mission in the world through our vibrant overseas links. Full of stories and pictures, it shows much that we can learn from Christians living in very different circumstances to our own. It also contains information and contacts for each of our links. There are 5 paper copies for each church.
If you are attending General Synod, there will be a table in the foyer outside. Please pick up copies of both booklets for your church/es.
If you not attending Synod, ask someone else - a friendly Synod member, your Area Dean or your Archdeacon - to collect some for your church.
Paper copies can also be collected from the three diocesan offices.