Dear Sisters and Brothers,
You, as the members of the 98th Synod of the Diocese of British Columbia, have worked very hard and I honour you and the decisions you have made at this synod. You have made brave and courageous decisions that will shape us and have set the direction for our diocese into the future. We could even say that this was a historic synod for us.
We listed some goals as we gathered for this synod. I believe we have accomplished all these goals. However, that does not mean that the work is over. It means that we begin now to work towards the new direction for our diocese.
- All Synod delegates understand the diocesan vision, have seen examples of it being lived out in the diocese, and are leaving Synod with a sense of enthusiasm and optimism about how the vision is/will be lived out in their church communities. I believe that the leadership of the vision fund team and vision teams (under the direction of Ian Alexander and Brendon Neilson) did just that as we gathered and that we all left with a clear understanding of how the vision has become a reality in the life of our diocese. The enthusiasm and optimism that came out of these presentations re-charged us and left us with a better understanding of the vision and how it can be lived out in our parishes.
- Demonstrate widely recognized, tangible signs that healing and reconciliation within the life of the diocese is happening and is an ongoing priority.
We still have a distance to go. However, the feeling of unity within synod was real. Having the synod at the Songhees Wellness Centre was symbolic of the wellness we have up to now experienced in our diocese. I believe that as we leave this synod our relationship as parishes of this diocese are better than they have ever been. We understand that we are the diocese and with God we are on a journey of healing. We are learning to live with differences and we have lived well during this time together at Synod. I thank you for how well we have worked together in spite of some differences.
- Demonstrate a strong, clear sense that after the diocesan year of reconciliation we are beginning to establish new relationships, built on trust and mutual respect, with the First Peoples of these islands and inlets.
We have journeyed a long way on the road of reconciliation. We still have far to go but we can be proud of what we have achieved together as a diocese. I am very proud to see the orange shirts today and your welcome and engagement with the First Nations leadership who have been our partners at this synod. I believe we accomplished this goal at this synod. However, our long journey is not over (please refer to the video "One Step")
- Delegates understand and approve a realistic five-year financial plan that includes a substantial fundraising component.
The decision to go forward with Transforming Futures means we all have work to do. I heard synod asking for help and support as we roll out this financial initiative. I am pleased to say the The Rev. Michael Wimmer has accepted my appointment as part-time facilitator of Transforming Futures. Michael will not be leaving his position at St. Michael and All Angles Chemainus but will be adding this role to his work in the parish.
I heard concern from parishes that they will need help enacting this initiative. We will be there to help you navigate the journey that is before us. Concerns were also raised around some of the language that has been used in Transforming Futures. As we move ahead we will make sure we use language that reflects our theology of stewardship. Finally, I heard your concerns about budgets, deficits etc. I will commit to you, as we journey into the next five years, that Diocesan Council and Finance Committee will be good fiscal stewards of the responsibilities you have given them.
- Create a space to worship, break bread, spend time together, and celebrate being a diocesan community.
Our worship experiences at synod reflect the beautiful variety of liturgies available to us in this diocese. The rhythm of our worship brought balance and depth to our time together. Thank you to the worship teams at synod and all who led and participated in the services.
- Conduct regular canonical business required of a synod (appointments, elections, constitutional amendments, budget presentation)
We conducted the regular canonical business required for us in this synod. Thank you to the chancellor, vice chancellor, the Resolutions Committee, the Nominations Committee, the Expenditures Committee, the Credentials Committee and the scrutineers. Thank you to all who let their names stand for the election. I look forward to working with all of you.
Today you have chosen to live a new story, a story that will define us into the future. You have chosen to live this story step-by-step into God’s future, a story that will be lived honouring the differences that are present in who we are as Anglicans on these islands and inlets. It is the story of resource communities and of a capital city. It is the story of islands on a gulf and the celebration of their uniqueness. It is the story of truth-telling, healing and reconciliation. It is the story of a rugged west coast, a peaceful oceanside, it is the story of bens (mountains), lochs (lakes and inlets), eileans and innis’ (islands) across an archipelago reaching the mainland of British Columbia. It is the story of Jesus, it is the Gospel story lived out in us. It is the story of the impossible becoming possible. It is the story of “yes we can” It will become the story of “yes we did.”
Download a copy of the bishop's Re:Charge below.