Following opening worship, a brief greeting from Bishop Skelton and a reminder of the Meeting Norms, Diocesan Council got down to business at the November 4th, 2015 meeting. The first item on the agenda was a visit from the Anglican Church Women (ACW) diocesan president, Margaret Warwick and past-president Sheila Puls.
Sharing the spokesperson duties, Margaret and Sheila presented a summary of the ACW’s ministry in the diocese and beyond. The selling of the WA Memorial House three years ago has allowed the diocesan ACW to expand their focus to include:
After listing these ministry activities Margaret said, “Despite all of this we continue to look for ways to ensure that we are doing are best to follow our mission of feeding the hungry, clothing the indigent, supporting the weak and honouring all life and to this end we are very concerned when we recently heard that the chaplaincy at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) – which is a major referral hospital for our whole diocese, would not be funded after December 31st of this year.” The three years of funding supplied by a grant from St. John’s, Shaughnessy does conclude at the end of 2015.
Margaret and Sheila went on to say that they and the ACW membership of our diocese believe that it is fortunate that VGH continues to allow an Anglican chaplaincy position to exist and they revealed their true purpose for appearing before Council. “We are here today to put forward a proposal that would enable the chaplaincy to continue into the new year. The ACW of the diocese are prepared to fund this position in the amount of $12,000 which we understand will cover the costs for six months and we challenge Diocesan Council to match this amount in order to guarantee the ministry for 2016.” Margaret drew two cheques out of a file folder one in the amount of $4,000 dated January 1, 2016 and the second for $8,000 dated March 1, 2016. Margaret went on to explain that although awareness of the need for funds to continue the Anglican chaplaincy at VGH happened after the ACW AGM they were able to undertake an email poll of the various branches which produced an immediate and positive support for the ministry funding proposal.
In the discussion that opened up after Margaret and Sheila’s presentation, the Reverend Richard Leggett said that St. Faith’s Parish Council had agreed at a recent meeting to contribute $4,000 to the VGH chaplaincy and the Venerable John Stephens, Archdeacon of Vancouver said that there are ongoing discussions in the archdeaconry to come up with a short range plan for immediate support of this ministry but more importantly a long range plan that will sustain Anglican chaplaincy at VGH.
Margaret Warwick and Sheila Puls on behalf of the ACW of the diocese urged Council to “make every effort to ensure it (chaplaincy funding) becomes a line item in upcoming budgets”. Bishop Skelton asked Council if they would like to discuss the challenge the ACW had proposed at this meeting or defer the conversation and the decision for another meeting as the November 4 agenda was extremely full. The chancellor, George Cadman, QC suggested that the long view discussion on funding be deferred to the January meeting but the challenge by the ACW to match the 2016 funding of $12,000 be decided prior to the end of the year.
There will be more information about the ACW Anglican chaplaincy challenge available in mid December 2015 after the December 9 meeting.
1. Sheila Puls left listens as Margaret presents the challenge to Diocesan Council
2. Margaret opens the folder to withdraw the two cheques for presentation to Bishop Skelton