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Bishops propose prayers of thanksgiving, dedication and for God’s blessing for same-sex couples

For the first time, under historic plans outlined ahead of General Synod in February, same-sex couples will be able to come to church to give thanks for their civil marriage or civil partnership and receive God’s blessing. 

The Bishops of the Church of England will be issuing an apology later this week to LGBTQI+ people for the “rejection, exclusion and hostility” they have faced in churches and the impact this has had on their lives.

And they will urge all congregations in their care to welcome same-sex couples “unreservedly and joyfully” as they reaffirm their commitment to a “radical new Christian inclusion founded in scripture, in reason, in tradition, in theology and the Christian faith as the Church of England has received it based on good, healthy, flourishing relationships, and in a proper 21st Century understanding of being human and of being sexual”. 

The announcement from the Church of England follows the final meeting of the College of Bishops on Tuesday to discern a way forward for the Church of England on questions of identity, sexuality and marriage. 

The meeting marked the culmination of a process of discernment that began six years ago under the banner Living in Love and Faith

The meeting, which was held over the course of one day, reviewed the bishops’ response to the process and considered a number of draft papers which will form the basis for use at General Synod in February as well as background materials for further discernment.

All of these papers will be finalised and made publicly available from Friday 20 January.

The Bishop of Chester wrote to all clergy this morning assuring clergy of his prayers and asking clergy for theirs. He is expected to write to clergy again on Friday once the General Synod papers have been published. 

General Synod is due to meet between 06 and 10 February. 

Please pray for our bishops and all those in positions of leadership and decision making, particularly those on General Synod, as they meet to consider these matters.

Parish Spotlight: St Luke's, Huntington

Paul Williams, Churchwarden at St Luke's, Huntington explains how a period of interregnum has been an unexpected gift as an abundance of volunteers have come forward to help the church adapt in a period of change.

Liz Shercliff to step down from role

The Revd Liz Shercliff has decided to step down from her role as Director of Studies for Readers after almost 14 years in post. Her final day will be in March. She says it has been a "privilege" to work with some "dedicated lay people". 

Where is God calling you in 2023? 

"God calls us to serve because of who we are, not who we may think he wants us to be." When NHS Nurse, Andrew Bradley-Gibbons felt God calling him to ordained ministry he responded enthusiastically, however it wasn't all that it seemed. Read one Reader's story of  being called by God, here
If you want to explore where God could be calling you in 2023, help is on hand. The Director of Vocations in the Diocese of Chester is the Revd Canon Sarah Fenby, and she would love to talk to you if you are sensing God's call into lay or ordained ministries. You can email her

Called to Serve

The next diocesan vocation day, Called to Serve, is taking place on Saturday 04 February at Foxhill. The event is an invitation to explore God’s call on your life. This is now fully booked, but you can still join the waiting list in case a space becomes available. Join the waiting list.

Foundations for Ministry

If you are want to go deeper in your exploration and understanding of the Christian faith in support of a calling inside or out of the Church, you might want to consider the Foundations for Ministry course from the Diocese of Chester. Click to find out more

Latest News

Upcoming bishop teaching day and Lent course

Bishops Mark, Sam, and Julie are inviting clergy to engage with them in a period of ongoing reflection, prayer, and conversation in relation to identity, sexuality, relationships, and marriage following the upcoming General Synod in February. They are preparing a five-week Lent study course, which people will be able to complete in small groups by following a Lent study book and accompanying podcasts. The bishops will also lead a clergy teaching day to introduce the resource and engage directly with clergy following Synod. Further information will be available in the next E-Bulletin.

Safe Spaces service hours extended

A service offering victims and survivors of church related abuse a confidential, personal, and safe space to discuss their experiences has increased its operational hours under a newly appointed independent provider, First Light, which took over the service earlier this month. 

DBF Fees Forms 2023

The 2023 monthly Fees Returns Form is now available to download. Please use this form when remitting fees for services held on or after 1 January 2023. Do not use old versions of the form(s) as the statutory fees rates will be incorrect. Fees and forms should be remitted to the DBF on a monthly basis via the PCC. ‘Nil’ returns should be sent if there are no fees received during the month. If you have any queries regarding fees matters or need guidance on how to use the new form, please contact Maxine Southwick on 07701 325223 or by email at

Treasurer Support Network

As part of our ongoing commitment to provide and signpost advice and training to Treasurers, Data Developments, which work closely with the Diocese of Chester, have developed a free course for Treasurers starting on 24 January. There is also a free course about Gift Aid beginning on the 25 January. More information can be found here.

Sunday and midweek fees for clergy holding PTO (retired or otherwise)

For clergy who are not licensed but who hold the Bishop's Permission to Officiate within the Diocese of Chester, the current fee payable for taking Sunday and mid-week services, baptisms and sessions of visiting during vacancies, sabbaticals, holidays, and sickness cover in 2023 is £49.60 per service. Prior to 31 December 2022 the fee rate was £44.80 per service. Further details can be found here.

APCMs and elections of deanery synod representatives

An email regarding the upcoming APCMs and the election of deanery synod representatives went to PCC Secretaries and parish clergy last week. If you have any further questions regarding this, please email Ruth Laemmel at Church House. 

Mental Health First Aid

Transforming Lives Together are working with BeWell to deliver free Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training for church volunteers and clergy who are working with vulnerable people. The training is Mental Health First Aid England accredited and gives first aiders the knowledge to be able to spot the subtle signs of mental health issues.

Songs of Praise from Chester Cathedral

The Easter Sunday edition of the BBC's Songs of Praise will come from Chester Cathedral this year. The production company is due to record the service on Saturday 04 February, starting 1.30pm and everyone is invited to attend and take part. Tickets are free. Click here for more information.

Science and Faith workshop

An interactive workshop designed for Christian leaders – whether ordained, lay, or active and experienced members of a local church. Come and be equipped to engage with scientific issues in the day-to-day life of your ministry context. Brought to you by The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion in partnership with Chester Cathedral.

Casting the Net Wide art installation

Casting the Net Wide is the diocesan consultation to develop a shared vision for the future of the Diocese of Chester. A whole host of Vision Cafe events have been taking place with many more still to happen and hundreds of people have responded to the consultation process so far. And now, the diocese has commissioned Wirral artist Wendy Williams to make a thousand handcrafted three-dimensional fish for a unique community art installation coming to Chester Cathedral in May. The project is travelling around museums, galleries, churches and community venues where visitors can learn how to make the fish and contribute to the piece. Wendy will lead a workshop at the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum in Birkenhead on Friday 27th January, 2 - 4pm. Reserve your free place here.

Melanesian Mission UK - Newsletter

The latest Newsletter from MMUK has been published. It features an article on the new Bishop of Malaita, Revd Michael Sau Bebeu, 47, who succeeds the Right Reverend Sam Sahu who retired on 13 January, after serving the diocese for the last 14 years. The Diocese of Malaita is one of nine dioceses of the Anglican Church of Melanesia.

New diocesan bishop for Blackburn

Bishop Philip North has been appointed as the new Bishop of Blackburn. Writing on twitter, Bishop Julie Conalty welcomed the news and described Bishop Philip as a "brilliant and supportive colleague and a gift to Blackburn Diocese and the wider church." 
Events and Webinars

Refugee Networking Event

25 January 2023 - Online

If you either host refugees in your own home, volunteer a specific skill, help refugees integrate into a new culture, employ refugees, offer opportunities for refugees to volunteer, hold awareness or fundraising events to support refugees, or if you want to hear more about what you can do to help, you’d be most welcome to attend this online event.

I am the light of the world

27 January 2023 - Foxhill, Frodsham

An Encounter Day to connect more deeply with God, seeking a sense of his presence which might include discussion, prayer, or walking in a group or with another, making or listening to music, making or creating something.

Take a look at Foxhill's programme of events for 2023.

Introduction to Pastoral Supervision for clergy

Two dates are available - please choose one.

30 January 2023 - Foxhill, Frodsham
28 February 2023 - Online

Explore pastoral supervision: what it can offer and how it works. These events are run in partnership between the diocesan Counselling service, the Ministry department and the Institute of Pastoral Counselling and Supervision (IPCS).

Urban Leaders Retreat

01-02 February 2023 - Foxhill

A retreat for those in significant leadership roles in urban churches. The intention of this retreat is to provide rest and refreshment for people in roles of significant responsibility in urban areas, with time for prayer, alone and together, and input from someone experienced in this ministry.

Rural Mission and Ministry Network

07 February 2023 - Church Minshull

A gathering of people, lay and ordained, involved in ministry in rural areas of Chester diocese. This is an opportunity to meet with colleagues in similar settings, sharing thoughts and expectations regarding the year ahead.

Poetry Break

09 February 2023 - Online

A monthly meeting on Zoom where people who appreciate poetry come together. Some read a poem they’ve written, or one from a book they like; others just listen, joining in the discussion if they wish. The theme for the February Poetry Break is 'Tyranny'.

Created to Create

24 February 2023 - Foxhill, Frodsham 

A creative retreat celebrating how we are all made in the image of God to create. This retreat is for absolute beginners as well as seasoned artists – anyone who enjoys being creative in any way. Join the Reverend Tom Studman and Mrs Pam Robinson who will be leading this retreat.

Take a look at Foxhill's programme of events for 2023.

Face to Face Safeguarding Leadership Training For Churchwardens

25 March 2023 - Church House, Daresbury

This is an alternative to the zoom meeting option available. The Leadership Pathway is about leadership and cultural change. Churchwardens should attend this course as they play a lead role in shaping the culture of their Church body. Attendance on the day and completion of related tasks is required in order to be issued with a certificate providing safeguarding accreditation for a period of three years.

Parish Vacancies

If your parish has a vacancy, please let us know so that we can advertise the role on our website. Just email your vacancy to Please remember to include all relevant information about the role, such as contact details and closing date. 

PA to the Director of HR and administrator for the HR department

Church House, Daresbury

The Diocese of Chester is looking to recruit a Personal Assistant / Administrator to provide excellent administrative support to the Director of Human Resources. As PA you will be required to deal proactively with correspondence and enquiries, ensuring that the Director is well informed about issues and well prepared for meetings.



We are seeking a full-time incumbent for this large parish with three churches, covering the whole of the market town of Neston. We are looking for a wise and mature priest with strategic vision, a track record of collaborative leadership, and an open and inclusive approach to ministry. A good, modern, 4-bedroom vicarage is provided.

Part time Incumbent


We are looking for a part time Incumbent (15% stipend £4,103.25, plus house which equates to 2 days plus Sunday) in the lovely suburban setting of Compstall. Compstall is surrounded by stunning parks yet close to excellent access links to Manchester and beyond.

Part time Priest in Charge & Youth Work Co-ordinator

Norton and Runcorn

This is an exciting and challenging opportunity for someone with a heart for urban mission and a passion to see God’s kingdom growing among younger people.

Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser

Church House, Daresbury

Applications are invited for the position of Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser to strengthen the existing Safeguarding Team working towards the delivery of a safeguarding service that reflects best practice. They will lead the diocese in the implementation of House of Bishops Policies and Procedures, providing appropriate support to parishes in responding to safeguarding queries and the delivery of training to clergy and church officers.

View all vacancies here

The E-Bulletin is compiled from a range of sources. The editors cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of information supplied. This E-Bulletin is circulated to office holders in the Diocese of Chester and others who have chosen to subscribe. If you believe you have received this message in error, please contact the Communications Team at the Diocese of Chester immediately by e-mail or telephone on 01928 718834. 

The Diocese of Chester is an operating name for the Chester Diocesan Board of Finance (CDBF), a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England no:7826; Registered Charity no:248968.

The contents of this message may contain personal views, which are not the views of the Diocese of 
Chester, unless specifically stated.

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Diocese of Chester · Church House, 5500 Daresbury Park · Daresbury · Warrington, Cheshire WA4 4GE · United Kingdom