Report on proceedings from Diocesan Synod May 2022

First published on: 13th May 2022

As well as the central debate on Fit for Mission, synod received a variety of updates including on safeguarding and living in love and faith. They also voted in favour of a motion, proposed by Wigan Deanery Synod calling on the Church of England to address the growing discrimination against disabled people in the womb and the lack of protection under current legislation

The presidential address was delivered by Bishop Bev, the Bishop of Warrington.
You can listen to it here, as well as reading the text

Members received reports on February’s General Synod meeting as well as receiving the annual safeguarding report. Introducing the latter Archdeacon Pete Spiers, who has responsibility for Safeguarding, informed synod that Andy Holmes is acting as Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser for at least a year following the retirement of Catriona Richardson. Pete warmly thanked Catriona for her work as DSA. Archdeacon Pete also spoke about the positive outcome of our Past Cases Review informing synod that the national report is expected in late summer.

Synod considered the Diocesan Board of Education Measure 2021 and approved a new Charity Commission scheme to reflect the amendments introduced. The new Measure recognises the recent changes to the education landscape, particularly the growth in Academies. It is also less prescriptive around DBE membership and more adaptable to future legislative change. The new scheme strengthens the already strong relationship between DBE and DBF.

Living in Love and Faith received a full discussion with members hearing the progress we have made in these conversations alongside working in groups on questions around having good conversations.

The final debate was one proposed by Wigan Deanery Synod which debated the following motion

That this Synod, reaffirming its belief that every person is unique and precious and made in the image of God, and endorsing section 6 of the Equality Act (2010):

i) Challenges the common assumption that bringing a disabled child into the world is a tragedy to be avoided;

ii) Calls upon healthcare providers and other public authorities to improve the support they give to the parents and families of children born with disabilities;

iii) Calls upon Her Majesty’s Government and healthcare providers to ensure that mothers whose unborn child may be disabled in any way are given comprehensive and unbiased information about the condition and support available to them;

iv) Calls upon dioceses, parishes and chaplaincies to consider how they might better witness to the human dignity of disabled children, including the better pastoral advice and support they might offer to their parents and families.)

Area Dean Sam Nicholson introduced the debate and we heard moving testimony from Christine Keeley who instigated the motion based on her experiences in supporting couples in difficult situations. Synod then debated this with several other contributors giving powerful witness to their experience. With some reference to not wanting this to be seen as support for a blanket ban on abortions, synod overwhelmingly approved the motion. The motion now rests with Wigan deanery for possible amendment ahead of it being sent to General Synod to hopefully have further debate.

You can find all supporting papers for synod at


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