Diocesan Synod meets at the Uni for first time

The governing body of the Diocese of Bath and Wells, the Diocesan Synod, has met at the University for the first time in its history.

The Diocesan Synod is thought of, by some people, as the ‘parliament’ of the diocese.

It meets three times a year to discuss diocesan policy on a wide range of issues, assist the Bishops and their staff to support and oversee the work of the diocese, and to approve the budget, as well as to debate on important local and national issues affecting the Church.

On Saturday 21 March, the Bishop of Bath & Wells, Peter Hancock brought the Diocesan Synod to the University and said he was delighted to be here.

“The University has a growing international standing.  It is one of the top universities in the country and has a justifiable reputation for excellence in teaching and research.  It is also striking to know that Bath University students declare themselves to be the most satisfied in the UK,” he said.

Bishop Peter in his address went on to discuss the role of the church with young people and indeed in higher education.

“The Church’s involvement in higher education goes back a long way, right back to the original foundation of the first universities.  And in 1811, before there was any state provision for education, the Church made a significant move by establishing the National Society and providing the first Church Schools.

“The success of this movement and the growing number of Church Schools meant that an increasing number of Christian teachers were needed to lead and teach in these schools,” he added.

“Let us celebrate the Church’s ministry in Higher Education, and at the same time take seriously the potential which Higher Education offers for the Church’s engagement with the world.”

The Diocesan Synod meeting included a presentation on  “21st century Chaplaincy in a Secular Institution”  by University Chaplain the Reverend Prebendary Angela Berners-Wilson.

Welcoming the Diocesan Synod to the University, Mark Humphriss, University Secretary said: “We value being part of the diocese and were pleased to welcome Bishop Peter here in your first few months.

“It was a great joy for us to co-host with the diocese, an event in your 1100th anniversary year, in Bath Abbey, with Mary Robinson as the speaker and recipient of an honorary degree.  Many of our most significant events such as our summer degree congregations take place in the Abbey, we installed our Chancellor there 18 months ago and we are likely to hold a main event for our 50th anniversary there next year.”

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