-A "Diocesan Strategic Plan 2018" was adopted by Diocesan Synod May 23 that, in the words of Bishop Michael Ingham, will result in “enormous and exciting” changes in the life of this Church.”

Opening Service Friday night,
May 22, at Christ Church Cathedral.

The plan states that parishes must be both vital and sustainable. Vital was defined as making a discernable difference in the lives of individual parishioners and in lives in the community which it serves

Sustainable means having both healthy lay leadership, and the resources to hire a priest, usually at least one full-time priest (though in certain situations rural parishes may involve part-time or shared ministry). Having “supply clergy” come in only on Sundays will not be considered adequate parish ministry beyond a transitional period.

The vote means every one of the diocese’s 78 parishes will be required to have a “fact based” parish review in the near future, to be facilitated by the diocese. The aim will be for parishes themselves examine their current situation, and determine whether they are vital and sustainable.

Many questions from members of synod before the vote were about the review, and the role of the parish and diocesan officials. The measure passed with a single dissenting vote from the approximately 275 clergy and lay delegates.

The synod, the 108th in its 130-years history, was held in two places. Friday night, the first session was at Christ Church Cathedral. After Eucharist, the first session dealt with much of the preliminary routine-minutes, adoption of agenda, privileges of the floor, etc.

The second session was held at St. Mary’s Kerrisdale in Vancouver. It contained the business of the synod, and lasted all day, opening with elections to Diocesan Council, the national General Synod in 2010, and other positions.

The one evening and one-day synod in church buildings, as opposed to the two-day synod at Capilano College, where it had been held for the past decade, was estimated to save about $20,000.

Presentations were given by several groups. The Ministry Resources Group’s chair, the Rev. Paul Guiton, talked about Going the Extra Mile, the diocese’s shared voluntary giving program, which currently raises funds for the Coming Home Society, the 127 Housing Society, and the Street Outreach Initiative on the Downtown East Side. A short video was shown of people who receive the benefits of the program.

Camp Artaban’s mission and plan to raise $2.5 million for a new dining hall were presented by Glen Mitchell of the camp’s board. Some $900,000 has been raised.

The Diocesan Communications Committee’s annual awards (the “Nealies”) were presented in various categories to St. Chad’s, Vancouver; St. James, Vancouver; St. David, Vancouver; St. Martin’s, North Vancouver; Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver; St. Mark’s, Kisilano; and St. Mark’s Ocean Park.

The vision Budget of the Diocese was approved but there was a debate the regarding the Youth Coordinator position.

Strongly supporting the work of the coordinator, synod members asked that if income can be found, the position be included in financial year 2010. As proposed by the Administration and Finance Committee, the position may be cut at the end of the year if a shortfall in investment continues.

While Bishop Ingham would not accept amendments that tried to strengthen the motion and direct Diocesan Council to find the money—saying that diocesan rules give the council not synod authority to set the budget—the assembly did ask that the motion state that voluntary contributions to the coordinator’s position be sought. Amended, the motion passed without dissent.


Returning to the issue of the blessing of covenanted same sex relationships, a move to ask the bishop to increase the number of parishes where blessings can take place failed.

The resolution proposed affirmed synod’s decision in 2005 to ask the bishop to freeze the number of parishes where the blessing is authorized to the current eight. The eight parishes had each held vestry votes before that Synod and asked for and received the Bishop’s go-ahead. At least six more parishes have asked for permission since.

The vote to affirm the moratorium and not extend the number of parishes passed 142 to 123.

Synod ended with the Synod Visitor, Bishop David Lai of Taiwan, gave his impressions as he summarized the synod. He presented several gifts to Bishop Michael, and received several. He preached the sermon at Friday night’s first session.