An online virtual meeting of the Synod Council of the Diocese of Ontario was held on Tuesday May 25, 2021. Highlights of the meeting include:
- Anne Patterson led a devotion on St Alban to open the meeting.
- Council was briefed on the current COVID-19 pandemic status in the diocese and our framework for moving forward. The continued focus on being cautious and nimble (ready to adapt and change) were highlighted as being keys as we move forward.
- St Paul’s, Kingston presented Council with a summary of their history, current ministry and visioning work. St Paul’s is a historic part of the diocese and the City of Kingston, while also providing many ministries to the community they serve. The church has engaged the Trinity Centres Foundation to assist and guide them both on ministries and property. Rev Graham Singh (CEO of TCF) joined the meeting and engaged Council on the work the Foundation does and what is being developed as options for St Paul’s. Council expressed support and some excitement for the work that was discussed and looks forward to St Paul’s returning to a future meeting when a plan/proposal has been developed.
- The Parish of Leeds Rear sent correspondence requesting Council to consider ways that we may continue to live up to the “Calls to Action” of the Truth and Reconciliation, particularly #61. The request specifically addressed the property (currently listed for sale) that was St Luke’s, Lyndhurst and Camp Hyanto. Per Canon #6, Synod Council has administration and control of the Ministry Allocation Fund (New Ministry Fund) which receives all net proceeds from the sale of churches and property. Council passed a motion directing 10% of the net proceeds of the sale of the Lyndhurst properties to the National Church’s “Healing Fund” or other fund that may be determined to be appropriate after consultation with the National Church and the National Indigenous Archbishop. Council has agreed to prepare a motion (with a preamble from the Parish of Leeds Rear) regarding future policy for consideration by Synod at the planned Synod 2021.
- The summary of the current financial COVID Pandemic impact (based on church reports) was reviewed by Council. Church income has been impacted by $363,822 across the diocese (Jan to May). This has been partially offset by $170,097 of Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) received from the federal government, resulting in a net income loss of $193,715. We continue to collect data and submit for CEWS each month. The diocese is also receiving the Canadian Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) for the rent on the diocesan centre.
- Council also was updated on development of the 2022 budget. Based on current estimates and forecasts, there will be a significant deficit for 2022 based on reduced CMM (from the 2020 Greensheet work to date) and several expenses expected in 2022. A good discussion took place to help guide the work in taking the next steps in the process. There will be an open consultation on the 2022 Budget in August/September prior to it coming back to Council for approval to go to Synod 2021 for final approval.
- The Stewardship Committee (Rev. Trish Miller, Chair) reported on work underway to support churches in their Stewardship efforts as churches re-open and return to (the new) ‘normal.’
The next regularly scheduled meeting of Synod Council will be Tuesday September 28, 2021 at 6pm. This meeting will be online only.
The approval of the minutes of the June 22 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.