Synod of the Diocese of Truro makes vote of confidence in future
The synod of the Diocese of Truro today took a bold step in securing the future of the Church in Cornwall.
Faced with three options when it met at New County Hall, Truro, the synod has voted to increase the amount contributed by parishes by 28%.
The Bishop of Truro, The Right Reverend Tim Thornton, has welcomed the news. He said: “The synod made a bold decision and we as a diocese now are called to respond to it. I am personally thankful that the synod has chosen not to adopt a policy of managing decline, but instead has chosen to be positive and adopt a path that will allow us to develop our ministry and discipleship.
“We are clearly facing major financial challenges in the next few years, but I do not believe that it is impossible for us to rise to these challenges.
“As disciples of Christ we can, together, make a huge difference in enabling the life and mission of our diocese to grow and flourish. In responding to the opportunities which God is giving us, we will discover God’s love at work in our own lives as well as those around us.
“God gives generously to us day by day and we can of course never respond as fully as he gives to us. We can respond generously and hopefully.”
The diocese was facing a deficit in the order of £1.2 million if the trends of recent years continued and nothing changed. The Executive (Bishops Council and Board of Finance) of the diocese made the decision to allow the synod to choose what it believed was the right course of action, rather than making a decision and asking the synod to rubber-stamp its recommendation.
The synod’s choices were to continue with an increase in line roughly with the cost of living, to increase the amount each parish commits to contribute by 13% over two years, or to increase that amount by 28% in one year. The decision to make one, bold increase was made by a large majority.
Bishop Tim continued: “By choosing this option, the synod has not only sent a clear signal that it sees the need to change. This decision shows that the members embrace this course of action and are optimistic about it being achieved.
“We have a limited time I believe to effect some major changes in our church. If we do not make these changes we will simply continue towards decline and marginalisation. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is too important and too urgent for us to allow this to happen. Therefore we need to challenge each other to review our own discipleship and to look at the consequences of our faith in Him who died and rose again.”
The diocese will now embark upon a series of meetings and workshops to assist the parishes look at effective ways they can increase their giving.
The amount given per head of congregation each week in Truro is significantly lower than that given by individuals in comparable dioceses elsewhere. One approach will be to ask people to consider increasing the amount they give, but also people who attend church infrequently may be asked if they would consider giving regularly. In addition, the diocese is sure that many parishes will come up with innovative approaches and other ways to help them increase the amount they contribute.