The role, aims and priorities of Synod (as adopted in November 2010)

1. The 26 functions and responsibilities of Synod are set out in the manual Put in more general terms the role of Synod is to support local churches in their mission, provide them with care and oversight, and also to act on behalf of all the churches in matters that need to be dealt with corporately, eg ecumenical relations, training, etc. The following is an expansion of this.

2. Synod is made up of all the United Reformed Church congregations and related Local Ecumenical Partnerships within Yorkshire Synod boundaries. It is served through its officers, staff, committees and representatives. It expresses its life through its meetings and through events and mutual care.
In fulfilment of its role, Synod seeks –
to express, sustain and develop the life of the United Reformed Churches within its care;
to encourage and support local churches in their mission (mission in this context is that work of God for which each congregation exists, in addition to its life of worship and fellowship);
to enable and support appropriate ministries in each local church and in wider mission;
to act ecumenically wherever possible;
to provide oversight and care pastorally and in relation to property, finance and legal matters;
to build safe church procedures and to inspire work with children and young people;
to broaden the churches’ vision of the world church and wider mission.

3. In addition to seeking to fulfill the tasks outlined in paragraph 2), Synod has as particular aims and priorities –

  • setting mission at the heart of all its activity
  • stimulating appropriate forms of mission
  • encouraging lively, relevant and engaging worship
  • developing lay as well as ministerial leadership
  • enabling all congregations to become ‘child friendly’
  • helping churches plan and adapt for the future.

4. Mission and Care Groups
Mission and Care groups have been set up to cover all areas of the Synod. The role of Mission and Care groups is –

  • to deepen relationships between local churches, particularly through mutual awareness, shared news and prayer
  • to share in discussions about mission, resources, pastoral support and mutual encouragement.

Principles under which all Committees and Groups work

Our overall aim is to allow for freedom, trust and openness in all our working so enabling creative energy to be channelled into the mission of the church rather than maintaining structures.

We recognise the need for clear aims, objectives and methods of working.

The folowing are common elements related to the style of working, which it has been agreed that all Committees and individual representatives will adhere to and which will be included in each Committee’s remit.

  • Open and clear communication
  • Honest and frank expression and genuine listening
  • Consultation on sensitive issues
  • Focus on what matters at local level
  • Informing the “local” regarding relevant national, Synod and ecumenical initiatives
  • Ensuring that activity relates to the Five Marks of Mission
  • Considering the ecumenical implications of any thinking or activity
  • A recognition that people take action as authorised by their role
  • An agreement that emergency action may be necessary subject to early reporting back