Lightish posting this week as we run up to our next Diocese of Christchurch synod (Friday afternoon to Saturday evening). This synod is urgently focused on post quake matters. It has taken a few synods since the initial quake (two years ago, 4 September 2010) but finally I sense that synod members are engaging with the possibility that we can use our democratic powers (i.e. to move motions, to make amendments) to take up a shared responsibility for the way our future will unfold.
Motions have already been published re the mechanism by which we might share the costs of ultra high insurance premiums payable this year and the possibility that we might not require our parishes to pay for quake insurance in 2013. What is intriguing is the flurry of amendments emerging.
This week a late publication to synod members showed that Standing Committee has take the bull by the horns re the payment of premiums and amended the motion we will discuss so that it includes the raising of money for the premiums through donations from parishes. That is, non damaged parishes will have the opportunity to take up their share of the overall premium ahead of the possibility of it being paid for out of insurance payouts which should go to the parishes with damaged buildings.
I have proposed a motion about parishes not having to pay for quake insurance from next year onwards, but that motion is going to have amendments proposed in a couple of ways (at least), partly to broaden the scope beyond 'parishes', partly to see whether we might be able to cancel the insurance for the remainder of this year.
As a result of a meeting of the clergy of the Selwyn-Tawera Archdeaconry earlier this week, there could be a significant amendment proposed to the motion on the books about 'rolling over' our current strategic plan, the effect of which could be to see a new focus re diocesan staff working on the facilitation of conversations between parishes regarding our mission and the resourcing of it.
In my nearly three years and six synods of the diocese since I arrived here, I have never known such intense pre-synod work. All good, and I am looking forward to moving forward as a diocese through these next few days. The one thing we won't be moving forward on is our theology of marriage. That General Synod mandated discussion will await another synodical day!
Your prayers, as always, much appreciated.