Three word inspiration.
Archdeacon Geoff Miller reminded members that in recent years the diocese had "embarked upon a risky path of discerning the way forward." That way had involved new, lighter structures, greater participation, joint action, learning together and living with "creative chaos."
The task for the new synod had been trying to make sense of what was emerging, and agreeing the next steps to take together.
The vision, Archdeacon Geoff explained, was a simple one in which the overarching values of being Generous, Engaged and Open should overlay the mission statement and "inform and inspire all that we do." The three criteria together provided a rich and dynamic focus for a common identity as a church "responding to its call to provide a sustaining local Christian presence."
We could be Generous "knowing the deep and scandalous generosity of the triune God we might be energised"; we could be engaged by "discovering afresh the Gospel in our time and place"; we could be open by becoming "a people living in the present yet always expectantly open to what God may call for." The priority development areas remain at the heart of diocesan work, best seen through the parish mission action plans, and there are also five diocesan "actions" - areas in which the diocese is already at work but where there remains a need for energy and progress. These involve task group working, financial planning, deanery development, working with partners and developing and sharing ministry.
Synod accepted the new programme unanimously, and earlier in a separate meeting of the Diocesan Board of Finance, adopted a three-year budget for the first time. The go-ahead was also given to the "Lindis-farne Project" a joint training and education programme for both clergy and lay to be pursued in tandem with the Diocese of Durham. The Synod also voted in favour of supporting an initiative by CHASTE - Churches Alert to Sex Trafficking Across Europe.
Bishop Martin reported that a letter had been sent to staff at Northern Rock expressing sympathy for the uncertainty surrounding the future of the bank, and assuring employees of prayers and support during difficult times.