Governance and Synods

The Diocese has a number of bodies and councils that give us structure, accountability and good governance.

These bodies meet regularly throughout the year and run alongside other key events and activities within the Diocese. 

Find out more about all our key bodies and councils below.

Diocesan Synod

The Diocesan Synod is the main policy-making body of the Diocese and the forum for the discussion of issues important in diocesan life.
It is an elected body that debates matters referred from deaneries, PCCs and from individual Synod members.

It also debates motions relating to national church affairs. In this way, we contribute to General Synod - the national policy-making parliament of the Church of England. General Synod, General Synod - the national policy-making parliament of the Church of England.

How it works

Meetings are held three times a year. This helps to provide a system of democratic representation and accountability.

Synod is made up of three 'houses' or groups – bishops, clergy and laity (non-ordained members of the church). Elections to be a member of Diocesan Synod take place every 3 years.

  • The current Chair of the House of Clergy is the Rev Canon Jeremy Blunden, Rector of St George, Beckenham
  • The current Chair of the House of Laity is Mrs Sarah Poole, Christ Church, Beckenham

All members of the Synod are also members of the Diocesan Board of Finance, which is responsible for the custody and management of diocesan finances.

General Synod 

The General Synod is the national assembly of the Church of England. 

We have four ordained and four lay representatives. For this current session of General Synod they are:

House of Clergy

The Rev Johnny Douglas
The Rev Tim Edwards 
The Rev Lindsay Llewellyn-MacDuff
The Rev Joel Love 

House of Laity

Mrs Billy-Jo O'Leary 
Ms Jane Rosam 
Mr Martin Sewell  
Mr Andrew Smith 

The eight Diocesan Synod reps stand side by side smiling in a room.


Other committees and councils

Bishop's Council and Standing Committee

The Bishop’s Council is the Standing Committee of the Diocesan Synod.  It plans the business of the Synod, advises it, and transacts its business when not in session.  The Bishop’s Council advises the Bishop, appoints members to various committees and formulates, discusses and co-ordinates policies relating to the life and work of the Diocese.

The members of the Bishop’s Council are also the Directors of the Board of Finance, the Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee and Trustees of the Bishop's Fund for Mission.

Diocesan Board of Finance 

The Rochester Diocesan Board of Finance (RDBF) is the accountable body for the Diocese of Rochester. Members include the Archdeacons and elected members from Diocesan Synod.

The RDBF is supported in its work by the Finance Committee which is chaired by Nigel Pope.

The Diocesan Board of Finance aims to finance the mission of the Church in this Diocese through the re-distribution of funds from Parish Share, and the application of other resources and investment income wherever possible.

Parish Share is an approach to provide mutual support from right across the Diocese in order to ensure that the ministry of the Church can be provided in every place.

The Rochester Diocesan Board of Finance is the employer for the administrative staff that support the work of parishes, deaneries and schools across the Diocese of Rochester. It transacts the business of the Diocese with trustees meeting every two months.

Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches (DAC)
The Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches (DAC) is a statutory body that plays an important role in advising parishes, the Archdeacons, the Bishop and the Chancellor of the Diocese (the judge) on matters relating to the care and use of church buildings in the Diocese, including their contents and churchyards. 
Its primary function is to advise the Chancellor on all applications for permission to carry out works on/to churches and churchyards. Parishes are encouraged to contact the Committee via the Secretary prior to making any application for faculty or other permission.

All the members of the Committee are committed to the mission of the church in the local context.  They are experts in some relevant discipline relating to historic buildings or have a particular interest in the care or use of church buildings.  As such the Committee is well able to offer helpful advice to parishes seeking to maintain their properties or to adapt, extend or improve them.

Members serve on the Committee without payment and advice is free to parishes.

Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Panel (DSAP)

The Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Panel is a group of external safeguarding professionals, along with senior clergy and officers from the Diocese and the Cathedral, who provide quality assurance and challenge in regards to safeguarding.

They provide strategic oversight and advice to the Bishop and Dean in regards to the implementation of guidance, training and resourcing of safeguarding. Oversight of the Past Cases Review and Learning Lessons Reviews are a key part of their work.

It is chaired by Dr Liza Thompson. Liza is an Independent Domestic Homicide and Safeguarding Adult review author for Kent County Council. In this short video, Liza explains more about the Panel and the importance of safeguarding for her:

If you have a concern about safeguarding practice or service that you have received either from the Diocesan Safeguarding Team, a church or another part of the diocesan support structure that you feel unable to raise with the Diocesan Safeguarding Team, you can contact the DSAP chair on

Diocesan Board of Patronage

The Diocese of Rochester has a number of livings in the Diocese in its gift and the Diocesan Board of Patronage is responsible for nominating a priest to the Bishop when a vacancy arises.

Vacancy in See Committee

The Vacancy in See Committee meets when the existing Bishop retires or moves on in order to make recommendations about a successor. 

Diocesan Registry

This is the legal office for the Diocese of Rochester. Our Registry services are provided by Patti Russell (Diocesan Registrar) of Winkworth Sherwood. Every diocese also has a Diocesan Chancellor - the independent judge for the Diocese. Visit our Registry page.


Key Contacts

Matthew Girt

Diocesan Secretary 

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Suzanne Rogers

Pastoral and Synodical Administrator

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