A new Share scheme and the question of whether the diocese should be called ‘Leeds’ or ‘West Yorkshire & the Dales’ were among the topics of the fifth meeting of Diocesan Synod held on March 12. Church leaders also debated the adoption of a Safeguarding policy, and the importance of being a ‘Fairtrade’ diocese at the meeting held in St Aidan’s Church High School in Harrogate.
A new system of calculating Parish Share unveiled
A new scheme for calculating the Parish Share or diocesan contribution paid by each parish was unveiled to Synod following months of consultations and meetings to try and come up with a fair system across the diocese.
In his Presidential Address, Bishop Nick Baines (pictured left) said Parish Share “simply tells us whether we really believe what we say we believe”, and he quoted the Archbishop of Canterbury who described a budget as "theology by numbers".
Outlining the proposed system, Simon Baldwin (pictured left), a member of the Diocesan Board of Finance, said the proposed scheme would be based on the number of clergy in a parish (‘allocation of resources’), the relative ability to pay of a parish (calculated from the Index of Multiple Deprivation) and the relative regular Sunday attendance (over the years 2013-15 and fixed for three years so as not to stifle church growth). He added that there could be a 10% cap on decreases or increases caused by introducing the new system to cushion changes. In addition no parish would be asked for more than 80% of its unrestricted income.
The proposed scheme, possibly modified by further comments and suggestions will come back to the Diocesan Synod meeting in July for a final decision.
What’s in a name?
Introducing a discussion on the naming of the diocese, Bishop Nick told members of Synod that there was an urgent need to decide whether it should be called ‘Leeds’, its legal name, or ‘West Yorkshire & the Dales’, a name which he said caused confusion.
“I’m getting letters almost every week”, he said, “from people complaining ‘why don’t you use your proper title of the Bishop of West Yorkshire and the Dales?’ – the answer of course is that I’m not. Within the media there is a complete lack of clarity both locally and nationally. Increasingly in the public sphere we are coming across it with politicians who don’t get it as well.”
He said there was a need to create a visual identity for the diocese especially with the move to a new diocesan office, and a proposal was tabled for discussion to call the diocese ‘Leeds’ with the strapline ‘The Church of England in West Yorkshire & the Dales.’ In groups, Synod members discussed the proposal and wrote down their answers which will be considered before a decision is made.
There was unanimous support for the motion “That this Synod reaffirms its commitment to safeguarding all God’s people; adopts the Policy ‘Safeguarding All God’s People’ in respect of its areas of responsibility; and strongly commends the Policy to parishes for their adoption and implementation”.
Diocesan Secretary, Debbie Child (pictured right on the left), introduced the strengthened Diocesan Safeguarding Team - (left to right) Narinder Lyon, Safeguarding Adviser for the Ripon Area; Jenny Leccardi, Safeguarding Adviser for Wakefield and Leeds Areas, Jenny Price, Safeguarding Adviser for Bradford and Huddersfield Areas and Support Consultant, Jackie Kerr. She told Synod “the national safeguarding team, which is also rapidly increasing in size and capacity, has recently announced details of a national independent quality assurance audit of the safeguarding arrangements in place for all dioceses….The diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales is due to be inspected later this year”.
Archdeacon Paul Hooper (pictured with the team) who led the debate, said “I hope that each PCC across the diocese, will debate this, will own it , will then agree that the document is to be adopted in the parish concerned.”
A Fairtrade diocese
Synod members enthusiastically supported a motion to work towards becoming a Fairtrade diocese by writing to all churches asking them, where not already registered, to register as a Fairtrade Church. A letter will also be send to all Church of England schools asking them, if not already registered, to register as a Fairtrade school - and a Fairtrade steering group will be set to steer the registration of the Diocese as a Fairtrade diocese.
The motion was put by Ven Bev Mason, Archdeacon of Richmond and Craven, pictured left with Kay Brown, Chaplain of Abbey Grange School who talked about the way schools can imaginatively adopt Fairtrade status.
The WYAD Board
Four members chosen and co-opted by the Board to be members of the new governing body, were ratified by Synod.
Simon Baldwin, Marilyn Banister, Jane Evans and Martin Macdonald have been chosen for their expertise in important areas of the Board’s work, including finance and communications – for the full membership see here.