With the current system authorised by Synod until 2015, a working group was established to take a thorough look at what would work best for the diocese we are and the diocese we want to be. This led to two options being put before Synod to discuss - one which updates and refines the current system, the other which provided an alternative method based around deaneries deciding how many stipendiary clergy they wish to deploy and parishes agreeing how much they would contribute to the cost. You can read the background to each option here.
Following careful considerations Synod gave a clear steer to the working group to work on updating the current system with a view to being able to present a workable proposal for Synod to debate further in March 2015.
Synod did not reject the alternative option. There were concerns about how it could be applied and the effect it could have on parishes and in particular whether we have the right structures to deliver it. But there was in principle support for some of the elements
So is a not yet rather than not ever message. Underlying the debate was Synod’s clear understanding that we need to continue and develop the sense of mutual support that characterises Parish Share in our diocese and that we have a system which is by no means broken.
The next steps
The working group will work on option one in more detail with a focus on how we update the current Parish Share system in a way that continues to meet that clear expression of mutuality. The working group’s key challenge is to make sure that the updated system adequately supports our growth agenda and gives us the ability to tackle the key burning platforms that are set before us. So specifically they will be
Working on a robust and consistent method for counting and include any midweek congregation where there is a reasonable expectation that members are part of the giving base.
Looking at any elements of the second option that can be sensibly incorporated.
The working group will report back in March 2015 with a detailed proposal for the way forward. But the key issue will be to get the system right and robust rather than being driven by a particular timetable.