Are you on Diocesan Synod?
Did you know that you have the right to ask two questions at each synod? When the notice of business for the meeting gets sent out, you are allowed to send in two written questions in advance of the meeting. These get a written answer and you can ask a supplementary question at the actual meeting. This is a way that Diocesan Synod members can ask for information and hold diocesan officials to account.
There are also some possible questions you can ask. Every diocese is different and you may have better questions for your local context. People rarely ask questions at Diocesan Synod, but if we want radical change then that starts with raising our voices.
If possible, please share the questions and answers from your Diocesan Synod with this group.
Possible Diocesan Synod questions
The Living in Love and Faith process is ongoing in the Church of England this year, after which each diocesan advocate will report back to the Next Steps group on what has happened and been learned.
- In this diocese, how will the diocesan advocate collect that information and will their report to the Next Steps group be made available to Diocesan Synod members?
- Who is the LLF advocate in this diocese?
At the July 2017 General Synod, it was agreed that
That this Synod: (a) endorse the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in the UK of November 2015, signed by The Royal College of Psychiatrists and others, that the practice of gay conversion therapy has no place in the modern world, is unethical, potentially harmful and not supported by evidence; and 3 (b) call upon the Church to be sensitive to, and to listen to, contemporary expressions of gender identity; (c) and call on the government to ban the practice of Conversion Therapy.
- How has this General Synod decision been implemented in this diocese?
- In 2017, archbishops Justin and Sentamu committed the church to ‘radical Christian inclusion’ for LGBTI+ people. Since that time, how many LGBTI+ people in this diocese have been ordained or accepted for ordination training?
- What budget has been allocated by the diocese to implementing the Living in Love and Faith process?
- What safeguarding protections are in place for those participating in the Living in Love and Faith process?
- What pastoral support is available for those participating in the Living in Love and Faith process who may be personally affected by the matters being discussed?
- Is spiritual abuse included in safeguarding training in this diocese?
The Church of England’s position on candidates for ordination is that ‘There are no restrictions to ordination based on gender. Female, male, non-binary, and transgender candidates are equally welcomed.’
- Many are not aware that the Church has already decided that this is the official position. How are the new criteria for ordination being disseminated through the diocese?
- How many non-disclosure agreements has this diocese used in the last five years?
- How much has this diocese spent on non-disclosure agreements in the last five years?
- How many CDMs have been issued in this diocese in the last year / five years? How many of those were issued by the bishop? How many were issued against the bishop? What proportion of CDMs resulted in no action being taken?
- How many resource church plants have occurred in this diocese since the start of the scheme? How many of these are new congregations? How many are planted into existing churches and congregations? How many clergy are licensed to resource churches?
- What plans are there to increase the use of inclusive language in liturgy in the diocese, for example in prayers written in the diocesan newsletter?
- How many clergy are currently employed by the diocese and who are not in parish ministry?
- Has the use of conversion therapy been banned in this diocese?