Tuesday evening, September 14th, Bishop Michael welcomed council and expressed his hope that all members had enjoyed the summer and are now returning refreshed and energized for the rigours of life in the fall.
During his opening address he listed some of the changes that had taken place since the last meeting.
- The Reverend (now the Very Reverend) Kevin Dixon’s relocation to the Diocese of Huron as Dean of the Diocese and Rector of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.
- The Reverend Paul Borthistle’s appointment as Interim-Priest-in-Charge of St. Mary’s Kerrisdale commencing September 15th, 2010 (therefore this was Paul’s last meeting and final responsibility as he has now completed his time as Director for Parish Support Ministries).
- The first meeting for Lay Secretary Stephanie Williams (image below) who was elected at the June meeting.
Strategic Planning Group
Bishop Michael opened the meeting with prayer. After the prayer he reminded council that he has the right to appoint one person to Diocesan Council who has not been elected. +Michael has chosen to use this privilege and appointed the Rev. Andrew Wilhelm-Boyles as Chair of the Strategic Planning Group (SPG) replacing outgoing Co-Chairs Jane Osler and Dean Peter Elliott. This was a good segue into the first item on the agenda which was the receipt of a Strategic Briefing Paper by the Strategic Planning Group to be followed by a Table Discussion.
The following recommendations were made in the briefing paper for the work of council this
· a Diocesan Mission Review
· re-integration of parishes with dissenting congregations into diocese
· a DC (and diocesan) conversation on strategic in light of our theology
· continued leadership development
· continued policy, priority, MAP and PMR implementation
· Diocesan Council meetings and discussion
This is the work of council, and the paper was presented as a starting point for the task
ahead this year. Diocesan Council assembled itself into 6 groups and discussed the following three topics for the next 20 minutes.
· What in this paper can I affirm?
· What in this paper do I challenge?
· What questions and recommendations do I have?
Each group appointed a scribe to make notes about that group’s responses to the questions and those were collected by Andrew. They will be read, studied and will serve as a list of priorities to be undertaken by DC for discussion and action relating to the implementation of the Strategic Plan. (In image below from left to right:Newly Appointed Stragic Planning Group Chair, Andrew Wilhelm-Boyles, Trudy Lebans, John Bailey, Roger Cooper and Peter Elliott)
Letter from the General Secretary
Bishop Michael directed DC’s attentions to the August 5th, 2010 letter addressed to him from General Synod’s General Secretary the Ven. Dr. Michael Pollesel. Archdeacon Pollesel wrote to thank Bishop Michael and the Diocese for the extra funds sent to the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation. The D of NW raised more than its share in the Honouring Our Commitment campaign and instead of accepting a refund of the surplus our diocese and six other dioceses donated the extra. Archdeacon Pollesel closed his letter with these words:
It is my hope that the action you and your Diocese have taken will serve as an example for other dioceses, and that they too will make similar contributions as gestures and signs of their support for this very important work.
Please accept my thanks for the contribution you have made to making “right relations” with our Aboriginal sisters and brothers.
ACTION – FOR DEBATE
All the motions involving the items on this list were passed unanimously by council except for the motions regarding the VST Archives which had two abstentions.
Several years ago, VST renovated the Iona Building, which had housed the Anglican and United Church archives. In the course of the renovations, the projected space for the archives was not available and was replaced by another building at a cost of about $1 million. VST requested $300,000 from each of the sponsoring denominations. This was approved in principle by DC in December of 2008 with a sub-committee tasked to negotiate an agreement.
In the time that has elapsed, negotiations have been underway with the Ecclesiastical Province
as they will provide $120,000 of the $300,000. However they will need to borrow this money from the D of NW and security is required for that loan.
At this meeting, DC voted on resolutions regarding this money and how it will be sourced and secured.
VST is aware of the specific details of the agreements that will bring this matter to a conclusion resulting in payment to VST.
Clergy Care in a Time of Transition
The diocesan strategic report, adopted at Synod 2009 recommended that a Policy for Clergy Care in a Time of Transition be developed.
Transition for clergy is defined as the period of time between permanent clerical positions due to reconfiguration of ministry. A policy was needed to reflect what happens to clergy between appointments in this changing climate and offer some assistance during what may be a difficult time. The Strategic Planning Steering Group consulted with Bishop Michael and a draft policy for reception was presented in December 2009. Since the draft policy reception in 2009 it has been referred to MCDC, A+F, OMD, the clergy of the diocese, BARDDS, and the Diocesan Legal Officers for comment and input.
(Please download a pdf of the current list of D of NW Acronyms and Abbreviations.)
The document presented is an outline, a guideline that allows some “breathing space” for clergy who have lost their jobs but have talents and skills that can be used elsewhere.
Although not officially adopted by DC until September 14th, 2010 Bishop Michael reported that one person is now participating in the transition process as outlined in the policy and it is working well in practice.
Human Resources Implementation Task Force
The work of this group began in 2005 and they have now finished their tasks with the submission of this report. The report
was accepted with many thanks and with much appreciation for the hard work of Treasurer Ian Robertson and the team.
Transfer of Ecclesiastical Authority
After discussion between the D of NW and the D of BC it has been decided that the appropriate pastoral care of the Parish of St. George, Kingcome Inlet should officially be from the D of BC.
The most isolated congregation in the Diocese of New Westminster is most certainly St. George’s, Kingcome Inlet
. The only way to access Kingcome Inlet
is via Vancouver Island which is part of the Diocese of British Columbia. St. George’s has not had a full-time priest for over 30 years and they have not sent representation to diocesan synod for 12 years.
The nearest priest travels to Kingcome Inlet over 42 miles of open ocean from Alert Bay
. Alert Bay is part of the Diocese of BC. The two First Nations (Tsawataineuk
) communities of Kingcome and Alert see themselves as the same community divided by water and distance.
It would be extremely complicated to change the geographical boundaries of the dioceses (they were created by the federal government in the 19th century) it makes sense to officially transfer Ecclesiastical Authority from Bishop Michael to Bishop James Cowan.
+Michael and +James plan to travel to Kingcome, meet with the Village Council and sign an agreement transferring authority.
The D of NW has supported and aided St. George’s over the years, however the church building is on reserve land. Insurance and upkeep are the responsibility of the Tsawataineuk.
The St. George’s community may continue to request assistance from the D of NW after the transition and those requests will certainly be considered. St. George’s, Kingcome Inlet will always be considered a part of our diocese’s history and heritage.
Roof Repairs at St. John, Squamish
The Parish of St. John, Squamish is suffering the results of a poorly constructed roof. DC recently granted the parish a loan for $50,000 to begin the repairs. When the contractor opened the roof and walls to begin work on the leaky and failing roof work it was discovered that the damage was much greater than originally assessed. The parish requested an additional $50,000 immediate emergency invoice to cover the current invoices and proceed with the repairs.
NO DEBATE LIST
Diocesan Comptroller, Mark Beley presented the Financial Statements of the diocese through July 2010. The statements were delivered in a new format with the first page taking the form of an Executive Summary, highlighting the major budget line items.
Overall, current revenue and expenditures are keeping pretty close to Budget with some overages in administration. The primary cause of extra spending was a large increase in the costs of the year-end audit. Archdeacon of Vancouver, the Ven. John Stephens
questioned the discrepancy between the funds budgeted for this work and the actual cost. Mark and Business Administrator Rob Dickson responded that they were also extremely surprised by the expense of the audit but costs have increased greatly due to the ever-increasing requirements of the governing board of the Chartered Accountants of Canada
The North Vancouver MAP report has been submitted to Bishop Michael. This was a major piece of work that involved the hard work of many participants in North Vancouver.
Five regions of the diocese are entering MAP this fall. The progress of these processes will be in front of DC in the coming months.
The Reverend Paul Borthistle
Bishop Michael led DC in thanking Paul for his 10 years of ministry. His careful, sensitive and appreciative leadership style particularly in regard to MAP and the development of the Strategic Plan led this diocese through very complicated processes. +Michael went on to say that the work Paul has done will serve this diocese and the church for many years.
During the month of August, Dean Peter Elliott drafted a job description for a staff position at the Synod Office that would encompass many of the responsibilities that Paul had as Director
for Parish Support Ministries
. The new position title is Director of Mission and Ministry
and a precis
is in the works and will be included in the next Parish Mail and Email, September 24th, 2010.
Assembly Lands in Richmond
Diocesan Business Administrator Rob Dickson reported on discussions, motions and resolutions
taking place in the government of the City of Richmond as they endeavour to maintain their base of “Assembly Lands” in the midst of burgeoning development, constricted by the Agricultural Land Reserve
The issue in simplified terms is this:
If a church organization (property tax exempt status) sells its property to a buyer who is not a similar organization (faith community) the organization must give half the land to the city for Social Housing, pay to build that housing and continue to maintain the housing.
A motion regarding this proposal was narrowly defeated due to the ramping up of Richmond faith community involvement led primarily by representatives of Richmond’s Roman Catholic congregations.
Rob strongly suggested that as members of DC and leaders in the D of NW we must pay attention to municipal politics as money is getting harder to come by as more and more services are being offloaded to local governments. Proposals like this are becoming more common.
Last Items for September 14, 2010
The Rev. Linda Varin was appointed Chair of Nominations for this DC and nominations to the Standing Committees were accepted.
The next meeting will be Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
What is Diocesan Council?
Diocesan Council is the decision making, governing body of the Diocese of New Westminster consisting of:
- the Diocesan Officers (Bishop, Dean, Executive Archdeacon, Business Administrator, Chancellor, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer)
- the Archdeacons of the five Archdeaconries
- the Archdeacon who is the Director of Deacons
- two additional Diocesan Legal Officers, (Registrar and Legal Assessor)
- a Lay Secretary, a Clergy Secretary,
- the chairs of the Diocesan Standing Committees
- one clergy representative and one lay representative from each Deanery (group of churches, geographically affiliated) elected at the Annual Synod Meeting.
Diocesan Synod consists of all the active clergy in the Diocese of New Westminster and 2-6 lay people elected from each diocesan parish proportionate to the size of the parish community.
Diocesan Council functions as the Synod between Synods, it is a representation of the large group that meets annually.
Diocesan Council and Diocesan Synod are both chaired by the Bishop.
Diocesan Council meets monthly on the second Tuesday of the month usually at St. Augustine, Marpole at 7:30pm. Diocesan Council is adjourned for the months of July and August.