Synod office staff gathered on the morning of Wednesday, February 6, 2019, in the Trendell Lounge, the large gathering space shared by the Synod offices and St. John’s, Shaughnessy. The first order of business was to celebrate the late January birthday of the Reverend Jessica Schaap, Missioner for Christian Formation. As Mother Jessica’s appointment began August 1, 2018, this was her first “Synod Staff” birthday. Some singing and a few laughs took place prior to the ceremonial slicing and distribution of a Strawberry Cream cake procured by Michèle.
With regular scribe Phil Colvin on vacation, and scheduled chair for the meeting Bill Siksay unable to attend, Rachel Taylor handled the note taking and Randy Murray chaired the meeting.
Highlights of the reports presented at the meeting included:
- A great deal of positive energy happening in the Property Development Sub-Committee, that adjunct committee of Management, Finance and Property (MFP) one of the two standing committees of Diocesan Council. This committee is tasked with looking at opportunities for parishes who would like to develop their property for ministry and helping them navigate the complicated world of property development.
- Jerry Adams, Indigenous Justice Ministry Coordinator enthusiastically announced that a new Indigenous speaker’s series is about to launch, as well as a new lender’s library available through his office. He brought examples of books that he will have to distribute and encouraged staff to peruse the collection.
- Rev. Jessica Schaap shared information about the Lenten formation material available (follow the link) and the positive response she continues to receive from clergy and lay about the Christian Formation material that is being made available through the various diocesan communications vehicles.
- Jessica has found “graphic design for non-designers" called “CANVA”. It is a program that is free for non-profits for up to ten accounts at a time. This assists in building graphic design material and ensuring consistency across platforms (posters to blogs, for example).
- Archivist Marché Riley is considering taking on a volunteer archivist from UBC.
- The Reverend Tasha Carrothers and the Reverend Tellison Glover are delighted that there has been great response to Groundwork, the diocesan program offering tools and strategies for membership growth. They continue to work on new and exciting possibilities for that consultative ministry.
- Tellison also confirmed that the new gear and software that will equip the Synod office to facilitate meetings using the ZOOM platform has in part already arrived and should be ready in its entirety to be rolled out in the next few weeks.
- Archbishop Skelton reported that the Reverend Dr. Lynne McNaughton is now Bishop-elect for the Diocese of Kootenay, and that the election process was a great learning experience which will help inform the other upcoming elections in the province, including the election of a co-adjutor bishop in the Diocese of Yukon in May of 2019.
- In other provincial news (the Ecclesiastical Province of BC and Yukon), the Safe Church agreement has been signed and rollout is underway for that material's availability to all parishes in the province.
- The Archbishop is also preparing for the February 17 departure of the diocesan delegation to Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines (EDNP) (Reverends Carrothers and Glover will be the Synod staff members accompanying the Archbishop and others). Archbishop Skelton explained that although the last trip was intended to be a complete tour, this upcoming trip will be an opportunity to deepen relationships on a companion parish-to-companion parish level, remain in conversation, and attend their upcoming convention (Synod).
- The Archbishop spoke about a recent visitation to the Jubilee Building the newest (officially opened in 2016) of the three buildings of the 127 Housing Society which was established by five women from our diocese in 1981. (A feature story on this visit will be available on this website and in the April 2019 issue of Topic the monthly publication of the Diocese of New Westminster delivered to homes and parishes as a section of the national publication, The Anglican Journal).
- Executive Archdeacon Douglas Fenton is the Synod staff person most involved in the upcoming General Synod that will take place in Vancouver and is planned for the Wall Centre and Christ Church Cathedral, July 10-16, 2019. He and the planning committee are drafting a letter to parishes near the Wall Centre inviting them to participate in the Sunday visitations of guests, encouraging clergy and lay of those parishes to welcome members of General Synod to worship.
- The volunteer opportunities remain endless and open – staff are reminded to please encourage fellow parishioners to sign up for volunteer opportunities.
- The Worship Committee, which includes Jerry Adams and the Rev. Vivian Seegers are working with Dean Peter Elliot on the three major liturgies (opening and closing Eucharists to be celebrated at the Cathedral) and 19 other liturgies that will take place over the week that General Synod convenes.
- It is hoped to livestream much of the plenary discussion, and the Synod office may make the Conference Room available for streaming sessions, especially on the conversation around the marriage canon.
- This General Synod will also contain a Primatial Election. The candidates for Primate will be announced in March. The House of Bishops nominates the candidates and the other two houses, Clergy and Lay select the new primate from that group of nominees.
Prepared with files from Rachel Taylor
- The Reverend Jessica Schaap, Jerry Adams and Shailene Caparas share a laugh prior to the cake cutting
- Staff gathers for the meeting prior to the arrival of the cake.
- Jessica is ready for cake cutting
- The first incision.
- Tasha reports on the positive response to the Groundwork program while others eat cake.