The literary intelligence of readers is developed here by forced learning of the art of spotting the key word in all tongue in cheek posts (about 99%!!). Yesterday's key word was 'potentially.' Today I am glad to report that yesterday's synod session failed to reach its potential to be as interesting as watching paint dry on an overcast day. Far from it.
We had a very interesting day together. To switch imagery, on a toss up between a day watching cricket bathed in warm sunshine with a fast outfield to keep the runs rattling on and a bouncy pitch to help wickets to fall at regular interval and synod, I would need a captain's coin toss to help me choose. (Some readers here, of course, would prefer not to watch cricket under any conditions and opt for paint watching. But I like watching cricket ...).
Incidentally, one aspect of my post yesterday was perfectly realised: it was overcast all day!
Over the course of the day we had an immensely interesting discussion of Motion 30 (General Synod 2014's resolution concerning the Way Forward for our church on homosexuality) with some twenty speakers contributing thoughtfully, at times passionately, and always with conviction. We are a diocese which has already lost some parishioners because of the existence of Motion 30, yet collectively we realise that Motion 30 is an opportunity for our church to find a way through the maze of differences. With no intention to make our own resolution the value of the discussion was first that we again articulated to ourselves our concerns and convictions and secondly, with three members of the Way Forward group present (as members of the Synod), our discussion informed them of current responses to Motion 30 along with hopes and fears for the future of our church.
Two motions concerning parish mergers were agreed without a hitch: Sydenham-Beckenham and South West Christchurch on 1 October 2014 [corrected from earlier given date] will legally become what they already practically are. Burwood, North New Brighton and New Brighton will realise a relationship which has been worked at intensely as they become a single parish on 1 November 2014. A subsequent motion, however, requests the new ministry unit to consult with neighbouring units about the best arrangement of boundaries for the development of mission in the proposed new Prestons housing area (in the district of Marshlands).
Slightly dry, but nevertheless important (e.g. to all Synod members using their smartphones!) was an agreement reached on a 'Mobile Phone Tower Policy' to guide parishes and the Church Property Trustees (CPT) when responding to overtures from phone companies who wish to place towers on church land.
General Synod will not (or should not) be surprised that Christchurch could not agree on one of three statutes sent around the dioceses from GS 2014 for confirmation. Statute 711, about clarifying the definition of 'authorised services' in our constitution will lie on our table, pending further information from General Synod office.
Also passed was a motion encouraging more baptisms and visible fonts in rebuilt churches.
One motion under continuing consideration as we move into the second day of synod: encouraging CPT to refrain from investment in fossil fuel companies. Also a continuing conversation is synod's consideration of a new Strategic Plan.
I can report that today, Saturday, as I write, is fine and looking good for an early season game of cricket :)
Finance, money, and fund-raising dominated the morning as we agreed to support a special fund-raising appeal to assist with the costs of assistant curacies in the Diocese. We received the annual accounts for the Diocese and for CPT for 2013 and adopted the proposed budget for 2015. CPT informed synod about financial challenges going forward as buildings are repaired, quake strengthened, and new churches are built. Alongside these challenges are the challenges of improving the capital of important diocesan trusts. The final CPT presentation reported on the state of the play of repairing and restoring damaged buildings.
After lunch we passed the fossil fuels motion, received a comprehensive report on Anglican Care and the work of each of its divisions, agreed to our diocesan mission target for 2015 ($255000). It was decided to leave Statute 713 for our next synod. Standing Committee was asked to consider an appropriate commemoration of 100 years since Gallipoli. The final major business of the day was resumption of discussion on a new Strategic Plan. The next stage in the conversation will be considered by Standing Committee.
Bishop Victoria's synod charge is here.