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March 7, 2010

Bishop's Charge

The Bishop touched on many topics in his "Charge to the 93rd Synod of the Diocese of British Columbia." Below I list the topics with some of his comments.


At the banquet celebrating our Anniversary as a Diocese I said that, “…while we give thanks for our founding and history, I am far more interested in our 151st year and the laying of foundations for a future that will ensure the work and ministry of the Church in these Islands for another 150 years.” I continue to stand by that statement, and believe that this Synod has that potential, depending on the decisions we make in the next few hours of today and tomorrow.

Diocesan Office

Budgetary realities are among the realities which require that we change our way of doing things as a Diocese, this requires like change in the Diocesan Office, and among those who are paid from the Diocesan Budget.

There will have to be a major downsizing and re-alignment of the Diocesan Staff, and to that end I have consulted with the Officers of Synod, seeking their advice about what that downsizing and realignment might look like. The downsizing of Staff will take place regardless of the decisions which will be made during our consideration of the notices of motion which are before us from the Diocesan Transformation Team.

Camp Columbia

In spite of many good efforts to bring about change, the Linked Banking overdraft of the Camp continued to grow. The Camp deficit reached just over half-a-million dollars in September of last year when Diocesan Council made the decision to suspend Camp operation.

I am disheartened by the deficit, but I am delighted that the Camp will continue its summer programme with children and youth of the Diocese.

Refuge Sponsorship

Diocesan Chapter of Deacons

Sisters of St John the Divine

Companion Diocese Link with six Dioceses of the Church of the Province of Myanmar

Aboriginal Neighbours

Christ Church Cathedral

A 2006/2007 study and evaluation of the East End of the Cathedral determined that the entire skin and roofing of the East End must be replaced at a cost projected to be in the range of 1.5 – 3 million dollars.

The first option is to do nothing… The second option is to accept the recommendations of the East End Study and replace the exterior fabric…

The third option is in open debate, but would include discussion and decision about the place of the Cathedral in the life of the Diocese; completion of the Cathedral as the original architect intended, but with purpose-built inclusions which would enhance and develop the present vision, mission, and growth of the Diocese as a whole. The cost of this option would be substantial – some have suggested that this further development of the Cathedral would cost in the range of 15 million dollars.

Diocesan Transformation Team

I have become utterly convinced that our way forward as a Diocese is through the acceptance of the transformational change offered in this Report.

I am aware of a desire amongst us to bargain. We wish to have one more chance; we wish to find someone or something to blame, and we want to be able to “fix it,” whatever “it” may be; or, we simply wish to be left alone to die in peace… As a Diocese, we responded positively to bargaining in 2006 and again in 2008. Parishes were asked to develop 3-year plans of action, plans which were to respond to the dismal findings expressed in the reports which came to Synod and produce change in the overriding trends. Now, here we are in 2010, facing almost identical recommendations as those in the previous two reports presented to Synod, and we are weaker numerically and financially. The information we require to make the decisions which are before us has been available to us now for several years, and most of us here have participated in the consultation processes which produced the information…

If, in the course of this Synod, we decide to accept and act upon the recommendations of the Diocesan Transformation Team, the deciding to act, while difficult, will be perhaps the easiest of the steps that will be before us. Acting upon our decisions over the next eighteen months will be harder still. But even harder will be what I call the second prong of this process, the continuing transformation of our culture as Church, as we constantly look beyond ourselves, seeking to link into the mission of God in the world, and trying to carry out the Great Commission of Jesus on these Islands, and with people of this Century.

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