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Team seeks input on governance pilot project

By Stuart Mann

The team that is evaluating the diocese’s governance pilot project is seeking more input as the project enters its final year.

Joy Packham, ODT, and Robert Hart, ODT, who were appointed last year, would like to hear from any individual or church who has done business with Synod Council or its committees and would like to comment on the experience. They can be reached at

Robert Hart, ODT and Joy Packham, ODT

“This is a chance to have your voice heard and to feel that you are at the table, being part of the discussion,” says Mr. Hart.

Respondents will have the option of filling out a questionnaire or meeting with Ms. Packham and Mr. Hart in person or on Zoom. All replies and comments will be kept confidential. The feedback will help determine if the new governance structure is effective, efficient, transparent, fair and diverse.

In addition to individuals and churches, Ms. Packham and Mr. Hart are seeking input from members of Synod Council and the chairs and members of its committees who haven’t already provided feedback or would like to update their initial comments.

They are also keen to hear from people who dealt with the former Diocesan Council or the former Executive Board.

The governance pilot project was implemented last January with the first meeting of the newly constituted Synod Council, an amalgamation of Diocesan Council and the Executive Board. The group provides strategic direction for the diocese between Synods.

Synod Council is chaired by the diocesan bishop and currently has 25 members, both clergy and lay, from across the diocese. It has five committees: the Audit Committee, the Finance Committee, the Property Committee, the Human Resources Committee and the Risk and Governance Committee. The committees are responsible for making decisions and recommendations within their remit.

The goal of the new governance structure is to facilitate and streamline decision-making, allowing more time for thorough discussions, says Canon Rob Saffrey, the diocese’s executive director.

Ms. Packham and Mr. Hart submitted their initial report to Synod Council’s Risk & Governance Committee and it was shared at the diocese’s Synod last November. They plan to submit a follow-up report to the committee at the end of March.

Their initial report stated that the majority of responses were positive and showed support for the new Synod Council structure. A few responses indicated it is too soon to tell.

The governance pilot project will remain in effect until Synod in November, at which time Synod will decide whether to adopt the changes permanently or revert to the previous governance model.