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The Synod Staff of the Diocese of New Westminster meets ten times a year (monthly except for July and August) usually, but not always on the first Wednesday of the month at 10am.

There is a rota designating which staff member chairs the meeting and for the February 2021 edition, the Chair was Bill Siksay, Executive Assistant to the Archbishop's Office.

Even with most of the staff socially distanced and a few physically distanced all via Zoom, the staff meeting follows a standard pattern of:

  • The Territorial Acknowledgment
  • Opening Prayer
  • Archbishop's Report
  • Report from each staff member on their current work
  • As of the June 15 limited re-opening of the Synod Office at 1410 Nanton Avenue there is a review of COVID-19 safety protocols
  • New Business
  • Staff away dates for the month
  • and... the Happy Birthday recognition of those staff members born in that month.

For the month of February, the birthday celebrant is the Reverend Jessica Schaap, Missioner for Christian Formation. In the pre-COVID era this part of the meeting would usually take place at the beginning and include a cake specifically selected for the birthday person who would then be tasked with slicing pieces and serving colleagues. Although this is not currently possible, Jessica received a Black Forest Cake (which she held up to the camera, {it was still in the box}) sourced by Michele van Teunenbroek, Administrator - Payroll and Benefits. The display of the cake was followed by the always popular Zoom singing of "Happy Birthday". This version was more rubato than usual.

However, the historic component of this meeting was the attendance for the first time of Co-adjutor Bishop, the Right Reverend John Stephens; the last meeting on staff for the Reverend Tasha Carrothers, Missioner for Parish Development who has served on Synod Staff for almost 14 years; and the final staff meeting of Archbishop Melissa Skelton's 7 year episcopacy. Tasha has been appointed Vicar of St. Mary Magdalene in the VGH neighbourhood effective March 1 and Archbishop Skelton will be completing her ministry February 28 and returning to Seattle and her life with her husband, Deacon, the Reverend Eric Stroo.

Transitions both sad and happy.

Director for Mission and Ministry, the Reverend Tellison Glover confirmed that there will be the traditional Synod Staff Farewell lunch for both of the departing staff members. The lunches wil take place February 16 for Tasha and February 24 for Archbishop Melissa. Apparently the online parties will be catered (Tasha has selected Sushi and even those working from home will have the opportunity to order a meal from a favourite restaurant) and all staff who gather online will be invited to share their thoughts as colleagues leave us for their next chapters in life and ministry. 


  • We will miss that smile!
  • Bishop John Stephens at his first Staff Meeting
  • The Reverend Tasha Carrothers wil complete nearly 14 years on Synod Staff, February 24
  • Archbishop Skelton listens to the Synod Staff check-in for the final time