Diocese of Chichester

Synod news

On Saturday November 18th, synod members met for the sixth session of the eighteenth Diocesan Synod at St John’s Meads in Eastbourne.

On 21 nov 2023

In Diocese of Chichester

By comms

After Synod opened, Bishop Martin gave his presidential address followed by updates on a number of reports including Living in Love and Faith, Racial Justice and Education ahead of voting on a number of important matters.

At the close of synod business, Bishop Martin gave words of thanks for the work of two retiring members of Church House staff and the Diocesan Secretary, Gabrielle Higgins, who leaves the Diocese after nine years at the helm.

Motions voted on and the results are as follows:


The Archdeacon of Brighton and Lewes moved that “This Synod:

1. Supports the milestones outlined within the national Routemap to Net Zero Carbon and seeks to meet those as far as possible within the context of the Chichester Diocese and subject to obtaining external funding;

2. Endorses the proposed Diocesan Net Zero Carbon Action Plan as a positive direction of travel and asks Bishop’s Council to oversee its implementation (and review as necessary in light of experience) reporting back to Synod regularly;

3. Calls on parishes, and on others associated with the Diocese, to continue their positive work on creation care and form their own plans consistent with the Diocesan intention.”

  • For
Church: 41 Zoom: 36 Total 77

  • Against
Church: 11 Zoom: 8 Total 19

  • Abstain
Church: 8 Zoom: 13 Total 7

ETHICAL INVESTMENT Mrs Lesley Lynn (Chair) moved that:

“This Synod re-affirms that care for God’s creation is foundational to the Christian gospel and central to the church’s mission and, recognising (a) the importance of working towards a future which does not depend on fossil fuels; (b) the need to both develop alternative energy supplies and reduce the demand for energy before freedom from fossil fuels can be achieved; and (c) the central role that large energy companies have to play in developing alternative energy supplies, agrees that it will continue to invest in Shell and BP only while those companies have a clear strategy aligned with the Paris Agreement goal to limit the increase of average global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels .”

The Revd Martin Poole proposed an amendment to omit the section highlighted in grey above.

Vote on the amendment:

  • For
Church: 10 Zoom: 16 Total: 26

  • Against
Church: 42 Zoom: 36 Total: 78

  • Abstain
Church: 5 Zoom: 6 Total: 11

Vote on the (unamended) main motion:

  • For
Church: 26 Zoom: 36 Total: 62
  • Against
Church: 16 Zoom: 15 Total: 32
  • Abstain
Church: 7 Zoom: 2 Total: 9

All other motions were carried on a show of hands.

The Bishop made his closing speech, to those attending in person and to those who had joined via zoom, and thanked the church for its hospitality, before presenting Gabrielle with a parting gift, a framed picture of a South Downs scene by renowned artist Eric Ravilious.

Sue Atkins, and Wendy Greenan, both retiring, received applause from all in attendance after the bishop thanked them for their lengthy service. Sue, PA to Archdeacon of Chichester and Horsham and Stipends administrator retires next month, after 20 years working for the Diocese and Wendy retires next year, after 40 years having worked in a number of departments but currently PA to Diocesan Director of Ordinands, a role she has held for the past 13 years.

Bishop Martin’s Presidential Address can be listened to again here