Synod 2019 Highlights

138th Session of the Synod of the Diocese of Ottawa – October 24-26, 2019.

St. James Manotick Represented By Todd Sandrock and Ron Brophy

Many Congregations, One Body “the harvest is abundant but the workers are few” – Matthew 9:37.

Bishop’s Charge: The Rt Rev John Chapman opened Synod with recognizing that “we gather this night on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Nation”. As this is his last synod due to retiring in six months he would not be giving Synod a Charge but would leave us with a prayer to walk with Abraham knowing God is with us on our journey; to fight with Deborah for the marginalized, to remember Moses as we step out of church every Sunday and gaze on the promised land of Jesus; to think of Mary and show the world our love of Jesus; to embrace Tabitha and not be afraid of death remembering there is always resurrection. Five great Biblical Friends to keep with us every day as we walk through life.

Bishop John Chapman Retires in 2020: Bishop John will retire in April 2020. A nomination process has been established leading to the election of a new Bishop for the Diocese of Ottawa on March 14, 2020. The clergy and lay members of Synod registered for the 2019 Synod will participate in the election process.

Guest Speaker: Canon Sue Garvey, born and raised in Ottawa and former Director of Cornerstone for twenty-three years. The Anglican Diocese of Ottawa has a good news story: inviting all peoples to explore their relationship with God in a safe environment, full of strong parishes and leaders, and has a powerful outreach ministry. Check out the video on youtube by Carrie Newcomer “Room at the Table for Everyone” a musical rendition of being open minded and welcoming.

Community Ministries: the work done at our five community ministries, Cornerstone, The Well, St Luke’s Table, Centre 454 and Ottawa Pastoral Counselling Centre are indeed the works of the church. Check out the video “Diocesan Ministries of Ottawa – Know us Better”. We are evolving and looking at ways to increase our ministries in areas outside of Ottawa and are reviewing our mandate.

Property and Finance Committee: Finances: 2018 financial books have been successfully audited. We are very thankful to the City and other levels of government for their financial support. Note that the PowerPoint presentation will be available on the Diocesan website soon. Property: Renovations of 71 Bronson Ave, The Synod Office, have begun and we hope to return to the offices in the summer of 2020. Financial Committee notes that it is imperative that all churches file their statistical reports on time to facilitate a prompt release of the new fair share parish statements. A hardcopy of Diocesan Financial Statements is held at the St. James Manotick church office.

Embracing God’s Future: a steering group has been formed and the priorities of Embracing God’s Future remain the priorities of this Diocese. 

Budget: Synod unanimously passed a three-year balanced budget for the years 2020-2022. Included in the hardcopy of Diocesan Financial Statements held at St. James church office.

Keynote Speaker: Albert Dumont, Algonquin Spiritual Teacher in Residence at the Cathedral, shared how much the apology from the Anglican Church meant to him personally. The Indian Act affected many people making them feel inferior but noted that the builders of a birch bark canoe have the same superior skills and talents as the engineers who built the London Bridge. He likened “physical pain to a cake walk compared to emotional pain”. He mentioned how hurtful it is to be told to “get over it” that the long-lasting effects of the Indian Act is like telling a paralyzed person to get over it, to just get up and walk again. His final advice: “Hate doesn’t make no sense. I rejected hatred. I teach my children to reject hatred. Hatred destroys the potential for a human being to be a greater human being, a city to be a greater city, and a country to be a greater country.”

All My Relations: Reconciliation work is happening across the diocese. Acknowledgment of the territory is a sign of respect to all indigenous peoples. The AMR co-leads gave a “shout out” to Sharla Sandrock and St. James Manotick, which recently launched a new ministry called “Indigenous Relations Circle”.

General Synod: The Anglican Church of Canada is full of caring people and truly blessed. The work of General Synod is important and our delegates did us proud. 

Ottawa School for Parish Development: We equip parishes to become healthier, more flexible and more faithful so that they can hear and respond to God’s call with boldness and joy. The School forms leaders to look at our current reality, to discern the future, and to work on plans to get to the future. The Rev. Kerri Brennan is co-director of the School and a trainer for the School along with Ron Brophy. All parishes are invited to send a parish team in 2020.

Stewardship-T4T. Support to parish level stewardship and helping churches discuss the stewardship of time, talent and treasure in creative and engaging ways. The Today for Tomorrow appeal began in 2017 and has focused on outreach.

Workshop: Difficult Conversations: The seminar focused on using simple methods to address issues of organizational and interpersonal conflict within parishes and among parishioners, using as an example the “Holy Manners” process. It discussed situations like rudeness, volunteers who should perhaps “retire”, tension at parish committee meetings, and others. The two key takeaways were: 1. Compassion in relationships is key, particularly in our context. 2. Directness in addressing hurtful behaviours is important: Name the behaviour; indicate how it made you feel; point out the negative effects of the behaviour; and indicate what you need from the person to resolve the situation.

Workshop: Fundraising – Beyond the Bake Sale: The seminar focused looking at new ways to fundraise when the traditional events are not working—they’re too labour intensive, volunteers are unable to continue to support, or the community is not responding. The seminar discussed successes in the Parish of the St. Lawrence, where they intentionally sought out people who wouldn’t normally attend church to find out what they thought of the Anglican church in their midst and how the church could meet their needs. The discovered that people are looking for experiences over possessions: more community and pub events, fewer yard sales. They were very successful. Participants shared other best practices. 

Area Parishes Gathering: Becoming and being an area parish is an exploration of faith and a stewardship of resources. Much work is in process. There are 6 area parishes in the Diocese currently (Parish of the Valley, Parish of South Carleton, Parish of Renfrew-Pontiac, Parish of Mississippi Lake, Parish of the St. Lawrence, and Parish of Prescott-North Glengarry). While there is much cause for excitement about the opportunities, there were challenges expressed at a gathering in June 2019; these include the need to form new relationships and community-building, new teams and coordination of leadership, better communications, a new mission, new governance model. Training for lay leaders and financial management are needed.

YIP/Youth Internship Program: Helps youth prepare for the transition from teenage life to adult life in a Christian setting. “It takes a village to raise a child and YIP is that Christian Village”. Donna Rourke provided an update on the YIP program and its successes. Several past and present Interns participated in the presentation.

Homelessness and Affordable Housing Working Group: We have a goal to provide 125 new affordable units by the year 2021; 42 units are completed; 135+units are in progress (Julian of Norwich,100 units and Christ Church Bells Corners, 35 units) and another 5-10 parishes are engaged in conversations. The work plan for 2019-2020 is to support parishes, promote training, provide resources and develop a workshop called “Yes in my Backyard” to assist with bringing the neighbours on board with the proposed changes to the neighbourhood. As well, there are resources available on the Anglican Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario website to integrate into church school curriculum to introduce, in an age appropriate way, children to the concept of homelessness. The homeless are, like all of us, children of God. 

PWRDF: The Primates World Relief and Development Fund has a 60 year long history of bringing aid and Christ’s message of love, caring and healing to the most vulnerable of the world. The presentation also noted that the PWRDF is magnifying givings by leveraging government matching funds. In some cases, each dollar donated results in $10 or more received by those in need! The PWRDF is also working with an alliance of Christian aid agencies to better coordinate delivering aid where it is needed. 

Refugee Ministry Development Task Force: The Anglican Diocese of Ottawa is a leader in refugee resettlement in Canada. In 2018 we sponsored nearly 1 in every 100 refugees resettled in Canada. The Refugee Ministry Development Task force (Mark Whittall, Chair, Peggy Lister, and Ron Brophy) has made recommendations for a new structure for this ministry, which will ensure that it is sustainable in future years. 

Centre 105: Rev Deacon Peter Cazaly, director of Centre 105 Drop-In in Cornwall, presented a summary of the growth of that outreach ministry during the past year. Daily visits have more than doubled, with an average of 40-60 people coming for breakfast, social activities, counselling and social services referral. Two regular outreach partners, a legal aid lawyer and a public health nurse, have been added. The Centre continues to grow into a potential future community ministry of the Diocese. 

Hospital Ministries: The Diocese offers great pastoral work in hospitals. Remember if you are going in for care at any of our hospitals please indicate that you are Anglican to ensure that a member of pastoral care visits you.