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Synod Highlights: Day 2

The Diocese of Toronto’s 160th Regular Session of Synod is being held Nov. 25-27 online. The theme of Synod is “Love Your Neighbour.” St. Paul writes to the Galatians, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” To the Corinthians, he writes, “Let all that you do be done in love.” Here are the highlights of the second day of Synod, in chronological order. See highlights from day 1.

Synod resumes with worship
Synod reconvened on Nov. 26 at 9:45 a.m. with Morning Prayer led by the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine along with the Rev. Canon Joanne Davies, chair of the Bishop’s Committee on Healing Ministries and an oblate of SSJD.

Synod deals with procedural matters
Synod voted not to reconsider the election of members to General Synod from Friday. There were concerns that some Synod members may have been unable to vote in that election.

Synod voted to add two new motions received from members of Synod to the end of Synod’s agenda. Since the business of Synod needed to conclude by 11:30 a.m., Synod agreed that if there was no time to consider these motions at Synod, they would be referred to Synod Council.

Financial reports and statements approved
Synod received and approved the Financial Report for 2020, the Audited Financial Statements for the Incorporated Synod for 2020 and the Audited Financial Statements for the Cemetery Fund for 2020.

Auditors appointed
Synod appointed the firm Grant Thornton LLP, Chartered Accountants, to conduct the audit of the financial statements of Synod, the Consolidated Trust Fund and the Cemetery Fund for the year ending Dec. 31, 2021, at a fee to be approved by the Audit Committee.

Synod votes on priorities and plans, budget
Synod voted in favour of the diocese’s priorities and plans and budget for 2022. Rob Saffrey, the diocese’s Executive Director, walked Synod members through the priorities and plans. As the diocese considers what a post-COVID Church will look like, the strategy is to be nimble and not make significant changes to diocesan ministry. The focus in 2022 is to assess how parishes will emerge from COVID-19, and not make major decisions until a long-term strategic plan is in place.

Patricia D’Souza, the diocese’s Controller, walked Synod through the budget details, including the revenue that supports diocesan ministry. There will be an estimated budgeted deficit of $1.74 million in 2022, funded by a combination of proceeds from land sales and the diocesan unrestricted fund. There will be no change to the parish assessment rate. The diocese is offering a one-month relief from allotment for all parishes in 2022. The 2022 budget can be found in Section D of the Convening Circular.

Parish assessment rate approved
Synod approved an assessment rate for parishes of 24.70 per cent for 2022. This is the same assessment rate since 2019. See Section E of the Convening Circular.

Missional & Outreach Moment #4
St. Margaret, Barrie talked about its missional transformation, which began 10 years ago. Since then, the parish has taken up the idea that it is profoundly missional. It engages in projects and events to engage with the community around it, creating trusting and welcoming places where people can have open conversations about where God may be at work in their lives. St. Margaret’s continually experiments with new ways of connecting with its neighbours, taking risks and trusting that God will lead them.  During the pandemic, it has joined a coordinated project in Barrie starting food pantries. Churches around Barrie have seen that there’s a real need, and the pantries are well used. On Halloween, organizers trick-or-treated for food bank items to stock the pantry, with great success.

Bishop Kevin Robertson chairs Members’ Time.

Members’ Time
During Members’ Time, Synod members raised several issues, including:

  • Thanks to the diocesan staff, Executive Board and Diocesan Council for their support of parishes during the pandemic.
  • Appreciation for the parishes and musicians that submitted music to be included at Synod.
  • The need to address the pain and division in society as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need for a safe place to have conversations.

Synod Council members announced
The following clergy were elected to serve on Synod Council:

  • The Rev. Simon Bell
  • The Rev. Canon Dr. Stephen Fields
  • The Rev. Canon Sister Constance Joanna Gefvert, SSJD
  • The Rev. Maria Ling
  • The Rev. Jesse Parker

The following lay members were elected to serve on Synod Council:

  • Chris Ambidge, ODT
  • Eirene Khean Cheng Wee
  • Heather McGregor, ODT
  • David Toycen, ODT
  • Laura Walton, ODT

General Synod members announced
The following clergy were elected to serve on General Synod, which will be held in 2022:

  • The Rev. Canon Nicola Skinner
  • The Rev. Canon Dr. Stephen Fields
  • The Rev. Molly Finlay
  • The Rev. Roshni Jayawardena
  • The Rev. Mark Regis
  • The Rev. Claudette Taylor
  • The Very Rev. Stephen Vail

The following laity were elected to General Synod:

  • Laura Walton, ODT
  • Chris Ambidge, ODT
  • Yvonne Murray, ODT
  • Gail Smith
  • Marion Thompson, ODT
  • David Toycen, ODT
  • Mary Walsh, ODT

Finn Keesmaat-Walsh was elected to be the diocese’s Youth Member of General Synod.

Election of Honorary Secretaries
Bishop Asbil thanked Peter Newell as he retired from the position of Honorary Lay Secretary of Synod. He had served in this role since 2017.

The following were elected for the ensuing two-year term:

  • The Rev. Andrew MacDonald, Honorary Clerical Secretary
  • Sheila Robson, Honorary Lay Secretary
  • The Rev. Lisa Newland, Assistant Honorary Clerical Secretary

New vice-chancellors announced
Bishop Asbil said that new vice-chancellors would join Canon Brian Armstrong and Canon Paul Baston, the diocese’s existing vice-chancellors. Joining them are:

  • Marg Creal
  • Mark Hemingway
  • Gail Smith
  • John van Gent

Honorary canons named
Bishop Asbil named new Honorary Canons of St. James Cathedral:

  • Canon Robert Saffrey, Executive Director of the diocese
  • The Rev. Canon Simon Bell, St. Margaret, Barrie
  • The Rev. Canon Andrea Budgey, Trinity College and St. Theodore of Canterbury
  • The Rev. Canon Greg Carpenter, St. Jude, Wexford
  • The Rev. Canon Susan Climo, Holy Spirit of Peace
  • The Rev. Canon Stephanie Douglas-Bowman, St. Paul on-the-Hill, Pickering
  • The Rev. Canon Timothy Haughton, Trinity East (Little Trinity)
  • The Rev. Canon Maggie Helwig, St. Stephen in-the-Fields
  • The Rev. Canon Stephen Kirkegaard, Holy Trinity, Guildwood
  • The Rev. Canon Victor Li, St. Cyprian
  • The Rev. Canon Erin Martin, St. James the Apostle, Sharon
  • The Rev. Canon Claudette Taylor, Epiphany & St. Mark, Parkdale
  • The Rev. Canon James Ferry, St. Peter, Erindale

Bishop offers thanks
Bishop Asbil thanked the many people who have worked to put Synod together. He said that we leave this Synod knowing that things are changing underfoot, and that we go into the future with confidence. God is with us. We are called to love each other, to love our neighbour as ourselves. With that confidence with move.