The Diocese of Toronto was incorporated by “An Act to Incorporate the Synod of the Diocese of Toronto, and to Unite the Church Society of the Diocese of Toronto therewith,” an act of the Legislature of Ontario passed on Jan. 23, 1869. The corporation created by this statute is “The Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Toronto.” No parish has a separate incorporation number.
Each parish church of the Anglican Church in the Province of Ontario is also a separate corporation. Pursuant to “The Church Temporalities Act,” given Royal Assent on Dec. 3, 1841, and as later enacted pursuant to “An Act respecting Churchwardens in the Diocese of Toronto,” the churchwardens (in essence, the administrative officers for each parish) are incorporated under the following provisions:
“The Churchwardens, for the time being of any Church in the Diocese of Toronto…shall…be a corporation with perpetual succession under the name of “The Churchwardens of the Church of __________ in the __________,” to represent the interests of the Church of which they are so elected or appointed, and of the members thereof, and shall and may sue and be sued, answer and be answered unto, in all manner of suits, actions and proceedings whatsoever, for and in respect of such Churches and Churchyards, and all matters and things appertaining thereto.”
Our governing body is known as a Synod. It’s made up of all the licensed clergy in the diocese and lay members (non-clergy).
At its annual vestry meeting, each parish (or congregation, in the case of a multi-point parish) elects Lay Members to attend the Diocesan Synod, which usually meets every other year.
At Synod, members determine, at a high level, the priorities for Diocesan Council and its Boards and Committees, and refocus the mission of the Church throughout the Diocese. Synod gatherings are a time of worship, inspiration and education, as well as a forum for affirming the direction of our ministry together.
In order to carry on the work of Synod between its sessions, the Diocesan Council meets on a regular basis. The membership of this Council is determined by Canon 2. Boards, committees and task forces have been established, from time to time, to help Diocesan Council with its work.
Diocesan Council is responsible to the Synod for developing and overseeing priorities to implement the mission and vision set by Synod, as well as for budget development, recommendation, oversight and mid-term adjustment if required.
Once priorities have been approved by the Synod, Diocesan Council acts at a strategic level to assign priorities to boards and committees in order to implement the plan. It can also create special working groups or task forces to address issues raised in the plan that don’t fall into the mandate of an existing board or committee. Diocesan Council has oversight of all boards and committees, and monitors their work through a regular reporting framework.
The boards and committees of Diocesan Council are charged in various ways with supporting the work of the Diocese as assigned to them by the Diocesan Council.
Area Councils are engaged in supporting the parishes in their area, working with the area bishop to allocate ministry development grants and to provide a variety of programs for clergy and lay people.
The Diocesan Centre is charged with providing support to the Diocese in three ways:
- providing support to the Bishop of Toronto and the College of Bishops for the leadership of the diocese as may be required by the bishop(s);
- carrying out administrative and corporate functions that are required by good governance and good management, and as may be required by the Synod, Diocesan Council or the bishop(s);
- providing services to parishes and other ministries carried out within the Diocese as may be required and supported by the priorities set by Diocesan Council and agreed at Synod.
Through the collective and mutually supportive effort of councils, boards, committees, the College of Bishops and Diocesan Centre staff, the priorities of the Diocese are brought to life and the needs of the Diocese are fulfilled.
For more information, please contact Pamela Boisvert, Secretary of Synod, 416-363-6021 ext. 231 (1-800-668-8932).