There were 12 Resolutions passed at the 117th Synod of the Diocese of New Westminster held May 26 and 27.
Although they covered a wide variety of issues, the most complicated Resolutions and the ones that had the most program time at Synod devoted to their content and impact were #2-#5 and #12 involving the work of the Assessment Task Force (ATF) and their recommended changes to the diocesan assessment formula for parishes, the canonical change to increase the number of Anglican Initiatives Administrators from 2 to 4 and the uses and nomenclature of some diocesan funds.
In consultation with the Financial Sustainability Working Group (FSWG), ATF put together Resolutions containing a package of two proposed regulations and a revised canon.
In his article written for the May 2017 issue of Topic, the Reverend Dr. Richard Leggett chair of ATF and a member of FSWG wrote the following:
Draft Regulation 24 replaces Regulation 12, the current assessment regulation, and provides the Diocese with a fair, transparent and sustainable means of determining each congregation’s fair share of the shared diocesan budget. The key elements of the draft Regulation are:
- the inclusion of all rental of the Church and the Hall in a congregation’s operating receipts;
- an exemption of Parish Development Grants from operating receipts;
- an assessment rate structured as follows: (i) a flat $1200 on the first $35,000 of operating receipts, (ii) 15.5% on operating receipts from $35,000 to $150,000 and (iii) 17.75% on operating receipts above $150,000;
- continuation of an assessment on the top 50% of the congregations to fund which will be called the ‘Diocesan Ministry Fund’ (previously the ‘Diocesan Growth Fund’);
- an upper limit of 1.75% for the ‘Diocesan Ministry Fund’ assessment;
- an expanded appeals process; and
- relief from the Diocesan Ministry Support Fund for any congregation whose 2018 assessment exceeds their 2017 assessment by more than $500.
Our calculations indicate that a significant majority of congregations will see a decrease in their assessment. This will, of course, have an impact on how we fund the Vision Budget.
Draft Regulation 25 changes the name of the current ‘Diocesan Growth Fund’ to the ‘Diocesan Ministry Support Fund’. This change more accurately describes the purposes of the fund which provides additional funding for existing and new diocesan and congregational ministries. More significantly, the new Regulation names the Administrators of the Anglican Initiatives Fund as the allocation committee. Synod will be asked to increase the number of clergy and lay administrators elected by Synod from two (one clergy, one lay) to four (two clergy, two lay). The current administrators have unanimously approved this change to the By Laws of the Fund, but Synod must act as well.
Revised Canon 30 will provide the Diocesan Synod and Council with the means to fund continuing and new ministries of the Diocese with resources acquired through the sale of diocesan property. The revised canon renames the ‘New Development Fund’ as the ‘Mission and Ministry Development Fund’ and includes a new purpose for this fund to ‘finance by grants such ongoing and new ministries of the Diocese’ as Diocesan Council sees fit.
Regulations 24 and 25 and revised Canon 30 provide our Diocese with the tools we needto support our ongoing work as God’s people in this place and time by striking what St. Paul called a ‘fair balance’.
- Under the current assessment formula a congregation’s ‘fair share’ is determined by its rank as determined by its operating receipts. The new formula is based upon more concrete criteria.
- Under the current regulation the Diocesan Growth Fund percentage is set annually by Council with no stated limit. The new regulation limits the percentage to a max-imum of 1.75% (currently 1.6%).
- The revision of Canon 30 will permit us to use our property assets to support our ministry.
The second principal learning section of Synod took place on Friday, May 26 in the afternoon. The session was facilitated by Bishop Skelton; Treasurer, Bob Hardy; and ATF chair, Dr. Richard Leggett and was focused on these changes. The power point for this presentation is available for download below.
The rector of Holy Trinity, Vancouver (HTV) in collaboration with the HTV Parish Council had concerns with the process described in Resolution 2 and proposed 3 amendments. However, the proposed amendments were defeated and all the Resolutions to do with these issues of finance passed with significant majorities as did all the Resolutions put forward for the 117th Synod.
The Audited Financial Statements (Resolution 6) and the 2018 and 2019 Vision Budgets (Resolution 7) were approved as circulated. The Vision Budget presentation/report was augmented by a power point presentation which is available below as a dowlnoadable PDF file.
During the report on care+share, the diocesan flow-through funding for ministries in the diocese selected for two year terms at each Synod both Salal and Cedar Watershed Discipleship and the West Point Grey Neighbourhood Ministry Mobile Unit were welcomed as the care+share recipients for 2018 and 2019 (Resolution 8).
Resolution 9 moved by the Reverend Emilie Smith and seconded by the Reverend Expedito Farinas is as follows: RESOLVED That this Synod through the Bishop to the International Trade Minister Francois -Philippe Champagne calls upon the Government of Canada to institute a human rights ombudsperson for the international extractive sector with the power to independently investigate complaints, and make public their findings without the approval of any government ministry or cabinet.
A task force will be formed by the new Diocesan Council to "to investigate and propose an amendment to the Diocesan Canons removing references to minimum age restrictions to ensure that people of all ages are allowed to participate in the governance of parishes and the Diocese.(Resolution 10)
Resolution 11 was No Debate and involved our diocesan committment to affirm the value of diversity within parish leadership.
Please find attached below a downloadable PDF of the complete Resolutions passed at the 117th Synod of the Diocese of New Westminster.