The Diocesan Conference comprises lay members elected by Deanery Conferences, together with serving clergy, ex-officio, co-opted and nominated members. The President of the Conference is the Bishop.
It is held on the first Saturday of October.
The Conference has many duties and responsibilities under the Constitution of the Church in Wales, including the election of members to the Representative Body, The Governing Body, and the Diocesan Board of Nomination.
The Conference is involved in pastoral reorganisation within the diocese, and a substantial amount of its duties in this, and other respects, are delegated to the Standing Committee.
The Conference receives reports from all the diocesan directorates, boards and committees, and also receives the audited accounts and budget. Additionally, through discussion groups, it considers – and advises upon – various aspects of the mission and ministry of the Church in the diocese.
Two topics dominated this year’s diocesan conference: evangelism and the progress towards establishing Local Ministry Areas (LMAs)
LMAs: In her keynote address, Bishop Joanna stressed that, while it was not something anyone wanted to do, the diocese faced no alternative.
“We simply don’t have the money to support a stipendiary priest in every parish,” she said. “But I value the way that, even if you hate it, you’ve come to the meetings, you’ve been honest and you’ve taken part.”
Her speech was preceded by presentations outlining different aspects of the ongoing process:
- Canon Michael Rowlands described his experience of reality on the ground in Dewisland (North Pembrokeshire);
- Transition Missioner Marianne Osborne updated conference on the work of her team in helping parishes work out the best way forward for them;
- Diocesan Secretary Howard Llewellyn explained the ways in which the diocesan office was able to help with training and advice on finance;
- Canon Patrick Thomas offered a lighter, feline perspective, courtesy of Cosmo the cat, facing life in a Larger Mousing Area
- Revd Jonathan Copus described on video how his group of churches are tackling the transformation:
EVANGELISM: The conference was introduced to the new Archdeacon for New Christian Communities, Ven Mones Farah, who outlined his vision for stimulating growth, particularly among young people, and the stark situation facing the Church without it.
“Let’s be radical,” he said. “They are not coming to us. Let’s go to them!” But he said that while there was disenchantment with Church, there was a lot of interest in spirituality.