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 13

Diocese of Winchester

As a Bishop held responsible for the money, the mission and the response.

The board of Finance are held responsible if it goes pear shaped, but the Synod is responsible for the total amount of expenditure – not the detail of the budget.

How does the money work for us:

Average parish spends

  • 15.88% on Capital Expenditure
  • 5.07% on Charitable Giving
  • 40.09% on Parish Share
  • 25.30% on Other Running Costs
  • 13.65% on Salaries and Expenses

A three year budget allows a little wiggle room for carrying forward and altering the order of priorities.

Diocesan Expenditure

  • 80% on Mission Development
  • 12% on Mission Support
  • 8% on National Church’s mission

Diocesan Income

  • 84% Parish Share
  • 8% Fees from occasional offices
  • 2% Rental Income
  • 1% Professional Fees
  • 1% Old Aresford Place
  • 4% General Income

This shows how critical the Parish Share is to us.

Mission Development

88% is focussed on clergy stipend and housing.  Other areas are all ways in which we do mission, different ways.

Mission Support

Central support is people in the Diocesan Office and the Diocesan Office is how you run the plant.

National Church’s mission support

All agreed by the General Synod – major changes to ensure we now get good value, and impressed by the delivery.  Rachel is someone we pay for through this.  That’s what we pay for.  The only commitment for Mission Agency/Mission Socieities the rest is how they gain though freewill – we have many other ways we can increase our freewill.

That this Synod authorises the Diocesan Board of Finance to expend the sum of £39,722,000 of which £33,478,000 to be generated from parish share in 2014-2016.  The Bishop’s Council is requested to explore opportunities to generate additional sources of income which it may use to support the Synod’s emerging strategic priorities.

Questions and Discussion

Given in 2014 we are £200k under how confident is the Bishop in reaching this.

Since 2010 no increase in total Parish Share, very sad if it was to be cut any further.  The 1.8% increase from Deaneries is looking like it will not be managed.  If there is a shortfall in 2014, there might be higher increases than the 1.8% for future years.

2014 budget has a £100k contingency, who has the authority to spend it and is it carried forward.

With the £100k reserve, and the £200k shortfall is there a reserve from which this can be resolved or is it a future black hole.

Bishop’s answers:

£200k is a short-fall but we’re asking if we can give more, it is not a lot in this Diocese.

This is real back-to-basics, and we’re beginning to cut into the bones in quite an uncomfortable way.  Hopefully as we work through the Parish Share proposals we could see a difference.  People will want to give money to a vision.

Contingency money goes ups and downs with cuts you can make along the way – to help smooth the expenditure.

We have no real reserves as the Crown took it, Lincoln gets £4mm a year from its investments.



Winchester Diocesan Synod Conference 2013 – Session 12

Diocese of Winchester

Truly, Madly, Deeply, The Joy of Money

Why this particular subject in this particular way?

Do you have a washing machine issue that comes up from time-to-time that just goes round and round and never goes anywhere.  It comes to the same point as the last 150 times you spoke about it.  Winchester is not alone in the financial discussions.  Dioceses find their conversation collapsing into detail with discussion ending up around my church having to struggle with a bigger financial target is not fair, and anything that lowers the target is fair.  We have drowned in this since we were born – there is no outcome if we do things this way.

A sense of dis-satisfaction around parish share, but wouldn’t do work on Parish Share until we’d done theology, moving to God’s purposes for us and for God’s world.  To approach the patterns of Christian discipleship to enable us to grow in this area.

Beginning next month a group will commence on a new system for Parishes to be able to share mutual expectations of each other to financially support the misison.  The group will be equipped with a theological understanding of generosity in light of the overflowing generosity of God.  They will have your responses to the questions from yesterday looking within the bigger picture instead of starting from Parish Share perspective.

Responses gave some clear views.

  • Our giving to God’s mission through the Church is more about enabling the growth of God’s Kindgom and our own growth as disciples than it is about paying for the costs of running the church?  There is a false dichotomy of course, but accepted the clear conviction that God calls us to generosity to release us, to free us, 93% Synod Members and 97% Guests agree.
  • It’s great if the Church can be involved in all kinds of creative mission, but frankly, money raised from parishes should go back to parishes.  Answer suggests funds raised from generosity of parishes to fund areas of opportunity even if that is not the parish that gave or even no parish and 77% Synod Members and 89% of Guests agree.
  • 82% Synod Members and 81% of Guests believe that those who have the most materially should seek the proportion to give more.  The question doesn’t say how to be assessed.
  • A church that gives a lot to fund mission in the Diocese should expect to get a lot back too.  The outcome disagrees – the responsibility to others goes before yourself 90% Synod Members and 88% Guests agree.
  • Those that have little should give little: 86% Synod Members and 88% Guests agree
  • 78% Synod Members and 76% Synod Members want proportionality to be based on congregations rather than community – not easy to do.


Not about funding a budget but becoming most truly what God intended for you to be and releasing God’s mission for the world.



Question and Discussion

Question 4 interpretation seems to be confused.  //  But people said it should not be based on locality but on the congregation.

Surveys can be highly misleading in those questions – interesting to compare the answers when receiving a particular model from the group.

Whilst it needs to be thought under generosity, it also needs to be fair, transparent and easy to understand.  //  But the issue is a washing machine cycle, we’re on the principle of the motion.  God asks you to live with less and face more than those who are not his disciples.  He doesn’t say come to me and I will be fair, he says I will take up my cross.

How long will the timescale take?  //  An interim report in 3 months, how long then for the final motion not sure but certainly months not years.

Will you be looking at other dioceses, and if so is there one that has a good model to follow?  //  Done preliminary work, looked at across other dioceses and the thought which has already been done in this diocese.  Not yet found a Diocese which truly, doggedly and at every step takes it out of the washing machine and makes it about faith.