From the Bishop.

To the clergy and laity of the Diocese of the United Kingdom.

Reverend Fathers. Brothers and Sisters,

I pray that you are all continuing to be safe and well in the present uncertainties in the world around us. With so much craziness going on we can rejoice and rest secure that above, close beside us and within us we have the presence of God. How I wish so many more, from our families, friends, neighbours and the total strangers around us could share in the peace our faith, hope and love bring us.

You all know that two events which were to have taken place were, of necessity, postponed. The first was our Diocesan Synod in London, originally scheduled for May, and the second our Diocesan Retreat which was to be at Ascot Priory in June.

I have been asked a number of times about these postponements.

The Retreat may still be rebooked later this year and Fr Scurr, Fr Parry and Fr Maylor are in discussion about this.

However, I am writing to inform you that, after much prayer, thought and discussion with Dr Fidge and the Archdeacon, I have decided that our Diocesan Synod for 2020 will NOT be rearranged to another date this year.

With well over half our clergy falling into the high risk categories either through age or existing health considerations, as do the majority of those members of our laity who have consistently supported Synod over many years, it seems prudent and pastoral. The uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus, has led me to believe this is the best thing to do.

There is always a lot of behind the scenes work preparing for Synod which Dr Fidge and I tend to do in a planned and orderly manner. However we do this working backwards from a date firmly fixed and not subject to any likely risk of change. I am also aware that for a number of you there is significant financial outlay and planning to be put in place.

I am given to understand that in these unique circumstances this is a perfectly canonical decision and also think that this decision will ease some anxiety about Synod obligations and the aforementioned concerns.

I am pleased to say there is no pressing business and the annual accounts will be agreed by the Trustees on behalf of the Council of Advice.

Turning our attention to Synod 2021 we will need to consider the location and venue. In due course this will be announced.

In Christ Jesus,