Diocesan Synod 4 March 2015 Barony College Campus SRUC – A brief report
The Dean, Very Revd Ian Barcroft presided at the Synod Eucharist and read the Bishop’s Charge on behalf of Bishop Gregor who could not be there as he was still recovering at home from a stroke.
The elections to various positions were undertaken early in the agenda before the main topic on the agenda, changes to Canons which had received a first reading at General Synod 2016.
The first of these was to Canon 22 sections 2 & 3 – Of Divine Worship and Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church – changes to liturgy should in future undergo a similar process within the Church as changes to Canons. This was carried without a vote.
The next was the proposed changes to Canon 63 – of the Office of Lay Representative – in order to represent the congregation appropriately when called upon to do so, the Alternate Lay Representative would be best informed in that role by being a member of the vestry. After a brief discussion this was carried.
Finally Synod explored the proposed changes to Canon 31, Of the Solemnisation of Holy Matrimony – removal from the Canon of any doctrinal statement regarding marriage and also the introduction of a conscience clause making clear that no cleric is to be obliged to conduct any marriage against his or her conscience.
The processes and background were explained by Revd Paul Romano. Synod then discussed the matter with members queuing to take their turn at the microphone. Both sides of the debate were well represented and respected and eventually a vote was taken to determine whether Synod approved the proposed alterations to the Canon, in both houses. The result was:
Diocesan Treasurer, Mr Bob Burgon, presented the accounts and his budget, concluding that although budgeted income for 2017 is £30,000 down on 2016, the accounts are “sound”.
Dr John Davies reported on the work of the Worship and Liturgy Development Team which had prepared new booklets for vital ministries to the sick and housebound and of 2 familiarisation training days taking place in May – on 6 May at St Aidan’s, Clarkston and on 13 May at St Ninian’s Castle Douglas.
The Canon Missioner, Revd Canon Audrey Stewart, gave an account of her work since coming to the Diocese last summer. She invited Synod to consider “What does mission mean” – in one sentence – which produced an interesting variety of responses. Mission Action Planning (MAP) had produced an emphasis on “Growth” with Numerical Growth being a regular goal. Audrey urged us to understand that Mission is NOT Numerical Growth and concentrating on this goal can become disheartening.
Very Revd Kelvin Holdsworth gave a brief update on the Diocesan Constitution Review which is on hold because of the Bishop’s absence.
The results of the remaining elections were announced and the Dean closed Synod with the Blessing.