Winchester Diocesan Synod Conference 2013

Diocese of Winchester

This last week I was privileged to join with 200 other Diocesan Synod members and guests at the Winchester Diocese Synod Conference at The Hayes.  God did some truly amazing things as we talked, prayed, worshiped and listened together – uniting such a diverse group of people around four priorities for the next three to five years is no small miracle.

Below are the links to all my live-blog posts from the different sessions:

Please remember all of these blogs were written live and so won’t always be 100% accurate, and may contain typos and spelling mistakes. For further information about the Diocesan Synod Conference check out the Diocese of Winchester website.

Winchester Diocesan Synod Conference 2013 – Session 15

Diocese of Winchester

This is the “Strategy Three and where next” session led by Jill Garrett.  As normal this is a live blog so apologies for any typos/spelling mistakes.


Agreeing our priorities

It is the role of Synod to agree the direction of travel for the diocese in response to the Vision offered by +Tim – Living the Mission of Jesus.

This has been a long and well debated motion in terms of person hours.


Under God, delighting in His grace and rooted in the Diocesan rule of life, we will be a Diocese in which:

  1. We grow authentic disciples, going out as individuals passionately, confidently, and courageously sharing their faith and coming together as creative church communities of prayer and worship that live out kingdom values.
  2. we re-imagine the Church intentionally connecting and engaging with our local communities in culturally relevant ways.  We will rejoice in the richness of the “mixed economy” of all ministry and proactively promote vibrant parochial and breathe-taking pioneering ministries amongst “missing” generations, e.g. children, young people, under 35s.
  3. We are agents of social transformation using our influence as a Diocese to transform public and personal life.  We will demonstrate loving faith at work in local communities and across the globe bringing healing, restoration and reconciliation.  E.g. through Education, Social Enterprise, Health Care, Spiritual Care Teams.
  4. We belong together in Christ, practicing sacrificial living and good stewardship of all that God has entrusted to us.  We will combine radical generosity, care and capacity building with a clear focus on directing finance into the mission of Jesus.  Sharing and multiplying local good practice, using people, buildings and other resources wisely we will seek to boldly prune, plant and invest in building for the Kingdom.


These priorities are Diocesan priorities and need to go to:

NAT – Northern Archdeaconry Team / SAT – Southern Archdeaconry Team /CIT – Channel Islands Team – who will create goals and tactics.  But at every level the Diocesan Strategic Priorities are almost virally going out you will see things looking different in the Deaneries’ Goals and Tactics and the Parishes’ Goals and Tactics.  Our direction of travel is the same.


How will this happen?

How many people have had their expectations surpassed by this conference?  We trusted them to produce a conference and they surpassed our expectations.  We have to trust the Bishop’s Staff Team to resource these priorities, with a proper launch event with dinner and resources so you go back equipped, able to continue dialogue and more.  This viral infection will only happen if you are enthused and able to enthuse others – enthusing and helping them to understand.

A lot of the things that aren’t in the words is about the pictures, the examples, the model, how the finance will work – what do you want in any launch programme?

Write on a post-it note what you want to see happen?

It will only work if it is carried through the people of God.


Been to the top of the mountain, we’ve had some amazing experiences with God, where does it go from here.  +Peter suggested: Hebrews 11:1 – a Diocese that is transformed and begins to transform other dioceses, the Church of England, our nation and the globe.  We ordinary human beings but we are filled with the spirit of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2 – fixing our eyes on Jesus.


+Tim proposed the motion: This Synod, adopts the Strategic Priorities as developed by the Diocesan Conference.




A time of sharing what has this Conference meant for you, challenged for you, broadened your thoughts, destroyed some views:

  • Pat: Privilege of being a deaf person included and welcomed in this Conference.
  • Robert: How the hell do I share this with my Parish.  But so much bigger, vibrant than anything I or my church could imagine.
  • Ian: Had the job of Chairing the Synod in 2009 which cut the Chaplaincies and other ministries.  Sure we will look again at the funding of Universities, Colleges but also with deaf people.
  • Peter Salisbury: one of the things that has happened is people have been praying from afar.  In Lymington have Lyfe groups, they were studying Luke 5:1-11 – put out into deep water – a bravery of the decisions to be made.
  • Young people: Truly inspirational to hear so many diverse theological backgrounds find some commonality under the Spirit, go back to his College more proud than ever before to be part of the Church of England.  //  Absolutely fantastic to hear the things we’ve been praying for months, easy on the coal face to get a negative view of the diocese in the sky, so encouraging to hear all these people on board with a passion for mission and transforming communities.  //  What’s really struck me is +Tom opening up what the Bible says about us, it’s all about these huge things, these huge men and women of God – so earth shakingly big.  We think we’re very normal and it’s been incredible to think about being the Temple and the water running through the villages of Hampshire.  Excited about what God will do with that faith and vision.  //  Spent a lot of yesterday crying, awe inspired by what the Synod put before us, excited about what will happen, got one more year of training, but I will trust you with it for the next 9 months and look forward to joining you.
  • Richard: Aged 65 retired, and a year later hear.  Bowled over, became a Christian late in life, became a missionary, seen the words of the mission God, in Weston in the big housing estate, never believed he would see it through the Diocese.  Jon Oliver told us the story of the friends taking the lame man to Jesus, and he asked “who are you?”  I think I’m the main part, oh no the other one, not Jesus.  We all laughed.  There’s something very deep, loved the way Jon didn’t point the finger at the scribes, realised also in the crowd, but the biggest joke is I am the main part, oh no I’m not Jesus, you are the main part, you will do greater things than I have done.  Can we not say the Spirit of the Lord is upon us?
  • Bob Keys: got excited when coming, people said the Bishops Staff Team had stitched it, but it was clear that the BST had some things, but it was Synod’s strategy, and people asking to approve things, developing accountability for the BST.  It is your church, and it is great that Synod has had courage to take responsibility.  The need for it to be bottom up, not top down.  The importance of going away, seeing how those things work out, but they won’t be the same everywhere, e.g. Basingstoke, Southampton, Guernsey have permission to see how that works out and celebrate how that will look different in different places.

Winchester Diocesan Synod Conference 2013 – Session 10

Diocese of Winchester

Session 10 is entitled “Strategy Two” led by Jill Garrett.  This is a live blog – apologies for any spelling mistakes and/or typos.


What are the 4 or 5 areas we all need to focus on across the diocese if we are to make this difference?

How our journey will move forward

Please give thanks and pray for confirmation and confidence about what is emerging.

Continue to pray and expect the Lord to confirm what we will arrive at.

Thoughts from the Bishop Staff Team

  • Every Christian openly and enthusiastically shares their faith (Faith Sharing):  Luke 4 – church should grow spiritually, numerically together.  Unless we were specific and explicit it was something that might not come through.
  • We use our influence as a Diocese to reach out and transform lives and communities, e.g. education, social enterprise and justice (transforming society): man running a motorcycle repair shop at the back of an academy using his faith and skill to pour out in that project He said if only I had a little more resource he could support even more young men in learning a skill and work – but also capturing something of God’s grace and value for them.  We need to see social transformation – reaching for it to be at the heart, the very core of who we are, we had a life transformation, the resurrection is the relaunching as +Tom said, we want to see that in our society, at the heart of our diocese.
  • Parochial ministry and breathtakingly pioneering initiatives flourish (parish and pioneering): a mixture of the variety and delight of ministry.  Having watched responses from all the tables where we struggled for short definitions as a Bishop Staff Team so to did people yesterday.  Want to delight in the varieties of ministries and not emphasise one over another.  Seen some great examples of pioneer ministry, and hearing Jon preach this morning.  Something we need to encourage, empower, and resource it, and experiment to have some form of catholicity, to have something of church ecclesiology in it.  Must not forget chaplaincies at the edge of church and ministry, and want to give thanks and delight for them.  The vast majority is in the parishes, and people wonder what about us.  Need to see mixed economy which sees all, and highlights how many parishes have a sense of pioneering ministry in their ministry.
  • We rejoice in our common belonging to Christ and in the privilege of sacrificially serving one another throughout this Diocese (Sacrificial Living): Philippians 2 – have this attitude for the sake of the mission of God and the church.  This is the life blood, as without it what progress do we make in the other areas.  It is the life blood of Christ, and if we are serious it will be our life blood to.


  • Contrived/Holy Spirit
  • Clarity/Context

 From our conversations yesterday

From our passion to live out the mission of Jesus, we long for and aspire to be a Diocese in which:

  1. We re-imagine the Church so that we intentionally connect with our local communities in culturally relevant ways and proactively promote pioneering ministries and ministry with emerging generations.
  2. We grow consciously authentic disciples, followers of the radical rule of life, who go out into the world individually as confident, courageous disciples who openly share their faith and who come together corporately as members of revolutionary communities, rooted in prayer and kingdom values.
  3. We are passionate about social justice and commit to be agents of social transformation, who will transform public life and demonstrate loving faith at work in our communities.
  4. We demonstrate good stewardship of all God has trusted to us, combining radical generosity, care and capacity building with a clear focus on directing finance into the mission of Jesus.  We will share and multiply local good practice and use our people, buildings and other resources wisely, boldly pruning and investing in the kingdom.

As you consider what the Bishops Staff Team have shared and our conclusions from yesterday what is the Spirit of God saying to you about where the diocese should focus effort as we seek to live out the mission of Jesus?

Key questions

  • What do you like about the BST priorities?
  • What does the BST list capture that the synod list has missed?
  • How should the synod lsat change to incorporate what you hear and believe the Spirit speaks out for us?


  • Faith sharing – move number 2 to number 1
  • Parochial ministry to be included
  • Enthusiastically for faith sharing
  • Use of influence as a Diocese is not explicit
  • Parochial ministry – to be added into para 1: “Re-imagine so that parochial ministry and breathtakingly pioneering ministries flourish that we intentionally connect …”
  • Sacrificial living
  • Parochial ministry needs to be transferred and linked with pioneering – prioritise emerging parochial practice
  • Importance of parochial ministry
  • Sacrificial living
  • All ministry is pioneering
  • Examples from BST 3 into Synod 2 and add local enterprise, and healing and reconciliation
  • Wanted to see word “transform” rather than “connect with”.
  • Questioning of parochial and pioneering – pioneering is in all contexts – parochial and fresh expression as all should be pioneering
  • Put living sacrificially into Synod 2
  • Missing sacrificial
  • Missing altogether seemed to be worship, prayer, and more
  • Demonstate v Practical
  • Mentioning social enterprise / education
  • Emerging generations sounds random – explicitly children and youth
  • Echo word for worship to be included with sacrificial worship
  • Adding parochial ministry to Synod 1
  • Add rejoicing in our common heritage, changing rather than maximising heritage
  • Rejoice in our common belonging to Christ but possibly in pre-amble
  • Synod 2 consciously doesn’t need to be included as authentic covers that, Christians rather than disciples
  • Synod 1 delete pioneer so it is all ministry
  • Add education to Synod 3
  • Serving one another throughout the diocese
  • Language sounds quite exclusive or Christianese
  • Parochial into Synod 1
  • Education with social transformation
  • Sacrificial to be added
  • Enthusiastically from BST 1 into Synod 2
  • Influence from BST 2 into Synod
  • Struggle with maximise return
  • Add prayer and worship to lists
  • Loved the phrase under God and delighting in God
  • Prioritisation of prayer
  • Loved the word enthusiastic under disciples
  • Good steward and sacrificial and generous giving should be separated as different points.
  • Adding education and social enterprise
  • Adding parochial ministry
  • Including parish ministry
  • Add sacrifice
  • In Synod 2 include leadership – being well led
  • Highlight mixed economies of ministry
  • Passionate rather than enthusiastic faith sharing
  • Education and global very important
  • Inclusion of parochial ministry shouldn’t undermine re-imaging church
  • Emerging generations – not just children and young people – must include 18-30s.
  • Question of 2 before 1 – disciples before re-imagining church?
  • Global partnerships – it should be global impact of society
  • Revolutionary is a bit loaded

Winchester Diocesan Synod Conference 2013 – Session 8

Diocese of Winchester

Session 8 is entitled “Strategy One” led by Jill Garrett.  This is a live blog – apologies for any spelling mistakes and/or typos.

If our purpose is, together, to live out the mission of Jesus across this diocese and thus transform the communities of which we are part.  Often think of how we’re like a disco mirror ball experiencing and living out the mission of God in slightly different ways.

What are the 3 or 4 areas that we all need to focus on across the diocese if we are to live out this mission and make this difference.  It is a hard ask but we have the Holy Spirit to help and guide us.

The why and impact of strategy

Vision sets our destination for the diocese.  Strategy defines the route we will take to the destination together.  Strategy gives clear high level priorities.  It enables us to direct resources (especially time), to ensure the vision thrives in our own communities, in the diocese and more widely.  This is good stewardship.  As Synod you are responsible for setting strategic direction and promoting it to the whole diocese so we have something to pass on to our children and their children.

Double listening

Called to double listening.  Some of the key drivers for Fresh Expressions Communities were an emphasis on discipleship, being church not just doing church.

Luke 10:1-17

Jesus decided where not to go – it is good stewardship to know this.  If we concentrate on everything then we end up with little impact.  If we focus on “step change” strategic priorities for next 3-5 years and then manage them and choose another set of priorities.

Luke 4:14-19

“This is God’s year to act” as the Message paraphrases it.

World Cafe

On tablecloths you will write things down.  Table host starts with prayer, and then everyone will contribute and listen.  Key ideas captured on the tablecloth.  Table hosts don’t move from the table.  The rest of you will circulate to different tables – arriving with what is on your table.  Ideas shared and linked.  Patterns, insights, deeper questions.  Consensus will come with commonality of thought.

As you think about the vision of a diocese transformed by passionate Christians living out the mission of Jesus in your communities, what three or four common areas do we need to focus onto make this real?

Summary of ideas

  • Prayer, Prayer, Prayer
  • Go for Generation Y
  • Energising and equipping the Saints
  • Deepening personal and corporate faith
  • Innovative, pioneering, ground-breaking ministry
  • Transformational in public life
  • Social justice, outworking of our faith in community
  • Building a culture of trust, healing and reconciliation
  • Growing as consciously authentic disciples
  • Social transformation – public, visual, effective
  • Pioneering, contextual church
  • Discipleship – growing, nurturing and fostering
  • Equip and empower leadership at all levels
  • Life transformation – deepening our encounters with Christ
  • Enable and equip the Saints
  • Serve and engage community
  • Risk taking and pruning
  • Loving service in the community
  • Connecting with the culture with emerging generation (pioneering)
  • Discipleship (confident Christians and empowering leaders)
  • Highly visible engagement with society
  • Courageous discipleship
  • Passionate social engagement
  • Living a radical, authentic Christian life
  • Committed to re-imaging the church
  • Bringing joy through radical generosity
  • Effective communication – sharing the news
  • Confidence in the gospel through deepening spirituality
  • Making best use of resources, re-evaluating buildings
  • Engaging with culture in a visible way
  • Encouraging distinctive whole life discipleship
  • Radical evaluation of all our resources for the sake of mission
  • Pruning – costly reallocation of resources from maintenance to mission
  • Creation of proper capacity to underpin mission
  • Personal and social transformation through prayer and dsicpleship
  • Understanding and connecting with community and culture
  • investing in fresh ministry
  • Laying foundations of faith in young people
  • Encouraging and equipping disciples
  • Using a variety of options to reach out to pubs and clubs using church buildings
  • Enriching discipleship
  • Strengthening mission
  • Engagement with community
  • Authentic Christian living expressed in stewardship and environmental care
  • Everyone growing through prayer and scripture
  • Irresistible, encouraging and sharing of faith
  • Growing confident disciples
  • Improving channels of communication in and out of the church
  • Prayer and spirit filled listening
  • Good communication internally and externally
  • Missional discipleship
  • Commitment to a radical rule of life
  • Sharing workable models of ministry in engaging the community
  • Authentic disciples
  • Creating kingdom value communities
  • Revolutionary prayer communities
  • Engage with culture across all generations
  • Understanding the mixed economy – both traditional and emerging forms of ministry
  • Criteria applied to finance to achieve missional objectives
  • Liberate local churches for mission

Winchester Diocesan Synod Conference 2013 – Session 4

Diocese of Winchester

Jill Garrett & Andrew Robinson on Journeying together; the purpose of the sessions focused on Strategic Priorities.

This is a live blog – apologies for any spelling mistakes and/or typos

Over the next few days a number of sessions thinking about strategy.  There will be overlap with what +Tom, +Tim and Jill say.

Understanding the practical nature of the “MIssional Journey” we are on together as one diocese – how would I live differently, how would my work be different, how would our communities be different.

Praying, listening to the Spirit and to others, discussing and agreeing the direction of our travel.

Practically planning how we will engage, commit to action and move forward as one diocese, including how you lead your communities:

  • To understand
  • Pray and wait on the Spirit
  • Engage and to commit to action in their communities

If the Bishop’s Staff Team just say accept these priorities, then you won’t engage, similarly it wouldn’t work in your local church and community.

The aim is then as one diocese we can live out the mission of Jesus in the 2nd decade of the 21st century.

John Stott: “We are called to double listening, listening to the Word and listening to the world.”  You know more about anyone else about your community, but we need to listen with the word of God.

David prayed to God for ordinary things: 2 Samuel 22:30: “With your help I can advance against a troop, with my God I can scale a wall.”  2 Samuel 22:37: “You broaden the path beneath me so that my ankles do not turn over.”  But before he does any of that “he enquired of the Lord saying, ‘Shall I go and attack these Philistines?’” (1 Samuel 23:2).  That is where we are as a Diocese, understanding where God wants us to go.

Luke 4:14-19 very clear priorities to Christ:

14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:


“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,


to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”


What does the Spirit say to you?  There has never been a Diocesan Conference before, and as The Message says “This is God’s year to act!” what is God saying to us this year.

The why and impact of strategy

VIsion is the future we long to see in the diocese and sets our destination as we journey together.  +Tim invites us to share the vision he has for the diocese.

When Jesus sent the 72 out he told them to shake the dust off their feet when they were not made welcome.

Strategy defines the route we will take to the destination as together we seek to “Live the Mission of Jesus.”

Strategy enables us to give clear priorities, to direct resources, to ensure the vision thrives in our own communities, in the diocese and more widely, this is good stewardship.

As synod you are responsible for setting the vision.

Establish strategic direction

The Bishop and Staff Team enable leadership to move forward as one body but it cannot be top down.  You are called to listen to the Spirit about what it means to live out the mission of Jesus in communities throughout the diocese, so that you can decide the priorities.

To engage, equip and motivate, churches and communities equally need to sit and prayer and discuss together the strategy for this missional journey.


  • Listen to the spirit about the areas of diocesan focus
  • Share 4 strategic priorities the Bishop Staff Team have considered and look at how these align to the priorities you have identified.
  • Look at how those two streams sit together and move forward together.

What is the Spirit of God saying to you about where the diocese should focus effort as we seek to live out God’s mission as a diocese.