An online virtual meeting of the Synod Council of the Diocese of Ontario was held on Tuesday October 27, 2020. Highlights of the meeting include:
- Council heard an update regarding the pandemic status for the diocese. Bishop Michael expressed his thanks and admiration for the ongoing hard work of all the parishes within the diocese during this challenging time.
- Council reviewed and approved changes to the Diocesan Investment Policy which will permit flexibility in the portfolio mix (in response to these challenging and uncertain times). The policy includes a change in how interest is calculated. Beginning January 1, interest in the Central Investment Fund will be calculated on a daily basis. This change will allow for more transparency and is more consistent with how investments are handled. This change will also support the implementation of the new Trust Fund Management software that is being implemented as part of the diocesan financial system. A communication to parishes to follow.
- Council reviewed church income changes and CEWS for the period of March to September, along with the third quarter financial statements. The diocese is currently running a slight surplus (not included in CEWS).
- Synod Council reviewed elements of the 2021 budget and provided direction on planning factors that will be part of the final budget. The final budget will return to council at the November meeting for approval. An online consultation session will be held with the diocese before approval.
- In Fall of 2019, Council approved changes to how insurance premiums are handled. This change included a transition subsidy for churches that experienced a larger increase in premiums. The diocese committed to a review in the Fall of 2020. Council decided the subsidy will continue into 2021 but will see a 50% decrease from the 2020 subsidy. 2021 will be the final year of the subsidy. An update to parishes to follow.
- The Synod Planning Group updated Council on the Fall Synod planned for 2021. Contingency plans will be put in place in the event that an in-person Synod not be able to be held due to the ongoing pandemic situation.
- Council heard an update from the Stewardship Committee regarding their Stewardship in a Pandemic webinar held on September 29. The Committee will be holding another webinar on Thursday October 28 on wills, funerals, and legacy planning.
- Council heard updates regarding a number of real estate projects that are ongoing in the diocese.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of Synod Council will be Tuesday November 24 at 6pm. This meeting will be online only.
The approval of the minutes of the October 27 meeting are pending. For questions about Synod Council, please contact Alex Pierson, Diocesan Executive Officer, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 613-544-4718.