The 98th Synod of the Diocese of British Columbia was held Sept. 28 -30, 2018 at the Songhees Wellness Centre. There were close to 200 Synod members and guests present. The Cathedral parish was well-represented by: The Very Rev’d Ansley Tucker; The Rev’d Canon Sue House (retiring from her role as clerical secretary); Maureen Bennett, Neil MacDonald, Martha McGinnis and Michael Wolff (lay delegates); The Rev’d Canon Dr. Martin Brokenleg, OSBCn; The Rev’d Canon Nancy Ford; The Rev’d Ian Powell; Canon Ian Alexander; Marilyn Gough (representing the Emmaus Community); Judith Coleman and Peter Daniel (in their capacity as Synod office staff); Nathan Lampard (in his capacity as registrar); and Susan Down and Catherine Allen as reporters and photographers.
This Diocese of Islands and Inlets, as it is affectionately known, had two main themes at the Synod: reconciliation, and the Diocesan Vision/Transforming Futures program. Synod began with a welcoming ceremony by members of the Songhees First Nation and other local Nations, and ended with a panel discussion of reconciliation and “magic-wand” wishes by Indigenous leaders, facilitated by Martin Brokenleg. In between, reconciliation was a key feature of the prayers and homilies in the Synod Eucharists and other services. Orange T-shirts were worn by many members throughout Synod, and by virtually all on Sunday. Several of the First Nations guests and participants referred to these these T-shirts as a powerful symbol of reconciliation. On Sunday, the Reconciliation and Beyond Vision Team gave a presentation on the “Year of Truth-Telling, Healing and Reconciliation” begun by the Bishop in spring 2017.
Chief Robert Joseph (O.B.C., O.C.) received the Order of the Diocese of BC, prior to the official inaugural ceremony on Oct.20. The Order is a new designation developed by Ian Powell at the Bishop’s request. Synod also passed motions reflecting the Diocese’s commitment to reconciliation with the First Nations of these islands and inlets, including one motion mandating consultation with First Nations on how best to acknowledge their traditional territories, and another asking the Bishop to prayerfully consider publicly and vigorously supporting First Nations land use decisions.
Members of Synod participated in a number of services throughout the weekend, organized by the various Vision Teams: Reconciliation and Beyond, Lay Ministry and Leadership Formation, Youth and Family Life, Resonant Communities of Worship, Emerging Communities, and Engaging God’s World. Under the heading “Vision: Look What We Have Done and Are Doing,” Ian Alexander introduced presentations dealing with each of the three pillars of the Diocesan Vision: Faith in Foundation, Faith in Formation, and Faith in Action. Parallel to these were presentations by two small parishes on the ways in which they would realize these pillars through the proposed fundraising program, Transforming Futures. Dean Ansley then gave a presentation on the Transforming Futures program itself, followed by discussion and a unanimous vote approving the program for the Diocese. The five-year financial plan incorporating Transforming Futures was also approved.
In elections for Diocesan positions, two of the three lay delegates elected to General Synod are members of the Cathedral (Ian Alexander and Michael Wolff), while Michael Wolff is also one of four lay delegates elected to Diocesan Council.
Michael Wolff, Martha McGinnis, Maureen Bennett, Neil MacDonald