The Bishop sets his case but does not explain where the lay volunteers are going to come from:  105 local leaders, 30 pioneers and 20 leaders for young people as well as 142 church wardens. Would it not be better recruit and pay vicars more appropriately? The replacement for the CDM will not currently apply to all the new lay leaders who are going to be appointed, which makes bad ones exempt from discipline, and good ones susceptible to being kicked out by a Bishop on their whim without any proper due process. How can overseeing ministers deal with this without a proper process? Is there any evidence that the hierarchy has thought through safeguarding, support as well as the supervision.

An amendment by Vivian Hall, a member of the General Synod and of Trigg Major deanery synod, proposed that the original motion be dismissed until the diocesan plan had gone to every PCC for a consultation process.

“The document needs widely based exposure, as we’re talking about the immediate future of evangelism and mission in Cornwall,” he said. “It should not be limited to a discussion within this body.”

On Tuesday, Martin Saunders, a lay member of the diocesan synod, described the diocesan plan as “totally undemocratic”, as members had not been given enough time to study it. It had not been approved by a vote, but “noted”, he argued. Given that the deanery plans had not been made public, or shared among the deaneries, it was not possible to say whether the diocesan plan was a “true reflection” of them. “It was just ‘take it or leave it,’” he said.

Having previously served as leader of Hertfordshire County Council, he was struck by low levels of understanding of governance and finance within church bodies. The construction of the plan in his own deanery of Pydar had been “top-down”, he said, and references to “oversight ministers” had been added without being discussed in the deanery synod. The diocese, he said, needed more stipendiary clergy, “set apart to help spread the gospel and comfort the sick in mind and body”.

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CT Bishop of Truro defends changes in diocese


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