Today, Hillary Routley, Graham Featherstone and Vicar Dave gave the Synod Report. The motions of Synod are on the Diocese of New Westminster web page. The link is in on the parish web page. The major focus was four fold:
1) to update the church canons ( church standards of action) for the first time in 30 years. The language has been updated, the conflicts between canons has been eliminated and the canons now fit in with the canonical structure of both the provincial synod (the four other dioceses of BC outside of the lower mainland and the Yukon) as well as the national church which composed the rest of the country which is broken up into three other Ecclesiastical provinces. This process was huge and was worked on over parts of two days of meetings.
2) the hearing of important reports on the diverse ministries of the diocesan church both at home, nationally and internationally. We were made aware of new initiatives in reconciliation ministry with First Nations; working in the North and overseas with the Primates Fund; Missions to Seamen; the Vancouver School of Theology which informed us that we have 20 persons seeking Theological education as Anglicans; The Financial Statement of the Diocese, the budget for 2020-to 2022; Community outreach on the downtown East-side; Plans for the support and redevelopment of parishes and the work of the Synod Office.
3) Visioning education from Archbishop Melissa; The Primate's reflections on the upcoming General Synod in July in Vancouver; A conversation between the Primate-Archbishop Fred Hiltz and Mr. Gerry Adams on the state of Reconciliation between the church and First Nations. This included exciting information of a separate developing First Nations Anglican Church with its own developing culture within Canada.There are today eleven First Nations Bishops with the Canadian church.
4) the contemplation and debate with decisions made through a variety of topics through the process of resolutions on the floor from parishes, groups and individuals. The Synod was sincere, Spiritual, brave and courageous in its scope of issues raised. The marriage canon of the diocese was reviewed and passed by over a 2/3 majority, opening the door after General Synod for the possibility of same sex marriages being allowed by the Bishop if both clergy and parishes desire this authority; the tithing of sales of assets made by the diocese to be given to First Nation ministry initiatives in recognition of our acquisition of the land by taking it through the Doctrine of Discovery process, an abrogation of Christian Principles; the recognition that we are in a Climate Crisis and all of us as church people and organization must act to save the planet in small and large actions. This included the installation of a car charger for electric vehicles at the Synod Office. This was an amendment of the Climate motion made by Vicar Dave. We also through the Synod Service saw the installation of a new Archdeacon, The Ven Alan Carson, rector of St John’s Sardis. Congratulations to our former Regional Dean.
It was a positive Synod demonstrating the Love of God in Action.