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An online virtual meeting of the Synod Council of the Diocese of Ontario was held on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, at 6 pm. Highlights of the meeting include:

The Rev. Lynn Mitchell opened Council with devotions drawn on the 7th Day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The theme is ‘Do Good, Seek Justice.’

Bishop Oulton introduced Russ Grant, newly appointed community engagement coordinator for the diocese, and the Rev. Margaret Johnston-Jones, who is nominated as honourary clerical secretary of Synod. The bishop also announced that the Rev. Canon Andy Chisholm’s mother died last week; her funeral held this past Monday, and committal today (Jan 24). The funeral for Rev. Dick Fleming was held at St. George’s Cathedral—Fleming being a former Dean of the Cathedral. The Ven Charles Morris is retiring from St Mary Magdalen, Picton, at the end of January, having spent seven years as the incumbent. The Rev. Georgiana Stewart continues her post surgery recovery.

Bisop Oulton reflected on his twelve years of episcopal ministry. He is resigning as Bishop, but not retiring from the church. The bishop talked about the upcoming Synod on the 26-28 May, with Bishop Susan Bell presenting, and Archbishop Anne Germond celebrating on Pentecost Sunday, for the 160th Anniversary of the diocese. The minutes of the last Synod Council meeting of 22 November were approved with minor corrections.

Bishop Oulton asked Council for a resolution to approve Margaret Johnston-Jones as honourary clerical secretary of Synod. Council approved. Bishop Oulton then introduced two resolutions concerning his resignation. The first was to set the date of the election of the next Bishop of Ontario as on Saturday April 29 at St George’s Cathedral. The second was to approve a Nominating Committee of The Ven. Bill Clark, The Ven. Nancy MacLeod, The Rev. Canon Nancy Beale, Joan Donaldson, Sylvia Dopking and Anne Patterson, with Sylvia Dopking being appointed chair. Both resolutions passed. The chancellor will be the committee advisor, and the executive director as staff person.

There was no COVID-19 report, as the situation is ongoing and stable.

DFO Alex Pierson presented the property report. St Mark’s, Barriefield and St James, Kingston are dealing with major structural issues, and will bring reports to Synod Council. The property at 3 Adelaide Street has almost completed a rental agreement with the diocese, a partnership between Queens University and Western University, managed by Providence Care.

Insurance rates for 2023 are still in negotiation, with increases of 10% plus a rate increase of between 3 to 5%. The notices will be sent out as soon as possible.

Archdeacon Wayne Varley presented the mission and ministry concerns. The Diocese of Ontario and the Archdiocese of Kingston are working on a covenant agreement, particularly concerning DOORS, the refugee ministry, and the Justice and Peace Commission. Archdeacon Varley is working with St Mary Magdalene, Picton, for facilitation of meetings relating to their identity and search process.

Bishop Oulton introduced the report of the Bishop’s Commission on St Paul’s, Kingston. A resolution was introduced to receive the report and place St Paul’s under Administration (Canon 23) effective immediately, with The Ven. David Selzer appointed Administrator. This resolution passed.

The Rev. Canon Trish Miller reported for Stewardship and Congregational Development that the Stewardship Network has a conference call with the Primate on January 25.

The Rev. Lynn Mitchell reported for the Worship Committee that there was a ‘Sing a New Creation’ hymnal supplement workshop this past Saturday at St James’, Kingston, with Michael Capon and Mark Hauser. The workshop was well-attended. The Committee is working on Synod at the end of May, the electoral Synod, and the consecration/installation of the new bishop.

DFO Alex Pierson informed Council that the 2022 finances were being closed out, and the audit is in progress (to be presented at the March Synod Council). The Investment Committee has met. There are applications in for three Canada Summer Jobs grants, with additional applications for the Cathedral, Napanee, and one other location. Planning is beginning for the budget framework for the next triennium, which will be presented at the May Synod Council meeting.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of Synod Council will be Tuesday, February 28, 2023, at 6pm. This meeting will be online only.

The approval of the minutes of the Jan 24 meeting are pending. For questions about Synod Council, please contact the Ven. David Selzer, Diocesan Executive Officer Pro-Tem, by email at or by phone at 613-777-0540.