Minutes of Reigate Deanery Synod Meeting
Thursday 8th October 2015 at Christ the King, Salfords
Chair: Rev Carol Coslett – Acting Area Dean
Members present: 56 Apologies: 19
1. Rev Shane Wood led the opening worship. After a reading from St John’s gospel members were asked to share with their neighbours in the pews the joys and challenges of our churches. We were then invited to offer up what we had heard and what we had brought in intercession followed by the Lord’s Prayer.
Rev Anita Colpus then prayed for the family of David Sears who had died whilst being an active Synod member.
She started by suggesting we dig deeper into pastoral care in relation to loneliness and isolation and then into the future of ministry for young adults. Firstly, she explored the biblical insights about loneliness and isolation. In the Old Testament there were references to loneliness in Lamentations and in the Psalms. In the New Testament there were references at the feeding of the five thousand (“this is a lonely place”), Jesus withdrawing to lonely places to pray and in lonely places people came to Him. There only seemed to be one reference to isolation and this was in connection to skin diseases in Lamentations 13. Isolation seemed to be more of a modern concept as in biblical times there was more of a sense of community.
She said there are many more references in the Bible to young people; Matt 19 v 16-22 being an example where the rich young ruler was caught up with the love of his possessions. In Matt 19 v 13-15 Jesus spoke to children as though they were important whereas they had no status in Jewish society.
We were then asked to share with our neighbours in the pews our comments on the reading from Acts 2 v 16-21. The comments that were brought to our attention by members were the use of the words, “all flesh” and how God can use us all and how the “Great and glorious day” was something to look forward to.
We were then introduced to The Good Childhood Report conducted by the Childrens’ Society. This is the latest annual report published by them about how children in the UK feel about their lives; “What makes for a happy childhood”. The Childrens’ Society have 10 years worth of research in this area.
We watched a video from the Childrens’ Society and were asked to consider, in our groups, what order children put, in terms of importance in well being, to items in the Good Childhood Index.
The results were quite surprising in that family, health, home and friends came before school and appearance.
We were then shown five dimensions of wellbeing: connect, keep learning, be active, take notice, be creative and play. We were then asked to reflect on how this means we as Churches or the Deanery should reach out to young people today.
Responses were to involve children in the whole church, give them responsibility, it helps if they have large groups of friends.
We then turned to resources. We were asked to look at the website: http://www.fromevidencetoaction.org.uk - Church Growth - From Evidence to Action. From Evidence to Action has been developed using and building on the Church Growth Research Programme which was summarised in From Anecdote to Evidence published in January 2014; in particular the section, “Engaging Children and Young Adults”. CPAS also produce similar purchasable resources called DiscipleKit: http://www.disciplekit.org. Finally we were referred to https://www.cpas.org.uk/church-resources/resource-for-pccs/#.VgOxbctVhB - PCC Tonight – Making PCCs better.
We were asked to make a personal response of “What has spoken to my heart tonight?” and we were given a card on which was the question, “How can I or my church respond?” It was suggested we take what we had done back to our PCCs and bring back any response to the next Deanery Synod under Parishes to Share.
The Deanery Secretary said she would send out these links the following day and Carol thanked Alison for her presentation.
a) Diocesan Board of Finance – There is no report for this group as they have not met since the last Synod.
b) Diocesan Board of Education – There is no report for this group as the only item significant to Reigate Deanery is that Bishop Jonathan has replaced Bishop Richard as Chairman of this committee.
c) Diocesan Synod – This was reported on by Chris Elliott who stated that the Synod had met twice since the last Deanery Synod. He explained that the main function was for Synod to consider and approve Fit for Purpose which is the Diocese’s way to make the governance of the diocese better – the full 50 page report is on the Diocesan website and is worth looking at.
The main issue is to help the paid employees know where decisions are made and by whom. The Diocese has four statutory committees – Board of Finance, Parsonages Board, Mission and Pastoral Committee and Bishop’s Council; up to now all making important decisions independently of the other three committees despite the fact that the decisions of one have an impact on another – e.g. Bishop’s Council decides to make a new paid appointment – Board of Finance has to find the money.
We have to have all four committees – that’s church law but going forward the membership will be the same and they will meet as one which will be called the Council of Trustees.
Other points are on how the Council gets elected which will have an emphasis on skills rather than location – membership will be in three year terms but the expectation is that people will serve no more than two terms – exceptionally three. There will be a mechanism for members of the Council to keep deaneries informed of what is happening.
Other than Fit For Purpose the Diocesan Synod have looked at finance and have every hope that in 2015 the Diocese will break even with 2016 possibly seeing a small profit if we all fulfill our pledges.
d) Deanery Mission and Pastoral Group – Rev Anita Colpus described what this group did and who belonged to it. They meet three to four times a year and the Deanery MAP had been discussed. Bishop Jonathan is to attend their next meeting.
· The Acting Area Dean brought to everyone’s notice an email she had received announcing an event focusing on how to respond to the refugee crisis being hosted by the Diocese of Guildford in 'The Marquee,' Guildford Cathedral's enormous events space. This event will equip parishes and people of all faiths and non to respond more effectively to the refugee crisis in Europe and the Middle East and is on 20 October 2015 - Time: 09:00 - 13:00. The Deanery Secretary will forward this email to all members after the meeting.
There will also be an email from the Area Dean’s Secretary regarding the Night Shelter for churches to put on their Pews News.
There are still places available for the Healing Ministry day on 14th November and members were asked to take this back to their churches.
Rev Carol Coslett ended the meeting in prayer.
The next Deanery Synod meeting will be held at Holy Trinity Church Redhill on 9th February 2016.