Rector’s Weekly News Article
Good morning and welcome to Church. Over the next two weeks the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney will meet in the city. In the coming weeks I will write a few articles about the things that are discussed and decided. This week however I will write more generally about Synod and what it is.
Different Anglican Diocese around the world (and even within Australia) are organised in different ways. Congregations, Ministers, Synods and Bishops have varying degrees of authority as well as different areas of responsibility. In this article I’ll just be speaking about our system here in the Sydney Diocese (we sit almost at its western border). I should begin by explaining that the ‘Synod’ is simply a council or parliament of the Anglican Church(s) of Greater Sydney.
In our Diocese the Synod has one sitting each year. That sitting consists of 5 days of meetings over a period of 2 weeks. Each day begins at 3:15pm and concludes at 9pm. This is in order to limit the disruption for members of Synod who work for someone other than a church.
The Synod primarily consists of three people from each of the parishes in the Diocese. The rector as well as two elected lay (not clergy) representatives. There are also representatives from various diocesan organisations as well as the Archbishop and Bishops. There are a few other complicated categories of people on Synod that we won’t go into.
The primary task of the Synod is to govern the Diocese of Sydney. All significant decisions relating to finance, property and most importantly, ministry at a diocesan level are made at Synod. During the year Standing Committee (which is a subcommittee of Synod) meets regularly so that smaller day to day decisions can be made on behalf of the Synod.
Historically the Sydney Diocese has been in a privileged position of having enough financial and property assets that the return on those assets each year was enough to pay for all the business of Synod. This includes employing our 6 Bishops, staffing and maintaining St Andrews House (head office) as well as investing in new churches and assisting parishes with grants to build up ministry. This system had allowed the finances of the Diocese to remain quite separate from the finances of each parish. That has meant that the money, people put in the plate in our parish was spent in our parish or sent missions and projects that we decided to support.
More recently, the assets of the diocese have not been producing the amount of money required. (Largely due to losses sustained in the global financial crisis). This firstly meant the Diocese has had to cut costs and streamline its operations. Money is very rarely given to parishes in grants and there are significantly fewer diocesan employees. This has also meant that parishes have been asked to contribute financially to the mission of the Dioceses, particularly to allow the Diocese to purchase property in new suburbs so that Anglican Churches can be on ground in a good location as people move in. The way the finances of a church work is a much misunderstood thing. In Sydney Anglicanism these days, there is no flow of money from the Diocese. What we put in the plate is what we have to spend on ministry, some of that we contribute to the larger work of the Diocese.
The Synods’ primary role is to support churches as they do ministry in the Diocese. It is also worth remembering that Synod is responsible for a very large collection of Anglican Schools, Retirement villages, Anglicare and Youthworks.
If you are interested in knowing more about this year’s Synod you can find all the pre reading material and the agenda for each day posted on the Sydney Diocesan Secretariat website (https://www.sds.asn.au/). There is a vast array of material there to read including several reports which were commissioned by last year’s Synod.
Finally, whilst Synod is a gathering of elected and representative members, it is also a public meeting. Anyone and everyone is welcome to come and sit in the public gallery. Synod will be meeting Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, followed by Monday and Tuesday next week. Let me know if you’d like to make an appearance!
Yours in Christ, Tim.
Good morning and welcome to Church. It’s great to have you here especially if you’re new or visiting. We’d love to meet you after church over a cup of tea.
Over the past week our church has been involved with a soccer camp run by Ambassadors Football Camps.
Unfortunately we didn’t get the required numbers to run the camp in the format we had planned. Instead it was decided that the camp would be merged with another camp in Lithgow. This meant a switch from afternoons to mornings and the change of location. Mountains Christian College provided their 12 seater bus so that the Blackheath kids could still be dropped at MCC then head down to Lithgow together.
It was a great blessing that only 1 of the kids that was registered for the Blackheath camp was unable to attend after the change of time and location. Everyone else piled on the bus and joined the fun in Lithgow.
After combining with the Lithgow camp (A partnership between Ambassadors Soccer Camps and Lithgow Anglican Church) there were around 60 kids from the full spectrum of primary schools. Part of the soccer training that the kids received was training in character development from a Biblical perspective. At the end of the camp assembly and BBQ one of the girls was awarded a prize for being the first to be able to recite the memory verse. She recited it perfectly on command, and it wasn’t a short one.. .
Philippians 3:14-16, “12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, 14 I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.”
I would like to particularly thank Michelle Seers who unexpectedly reinvented herself as a soccer coach, and Will Groenewegen who volunteered as an assistant coach and did a very fine job. Next year we will need even more of our number to be involved. Having seen the way the camp runs and getting a clearer picture in our minds we are feeling confident that next year we will be able to step up and make sure the Blackheath camp runs with plenty of numbers and enthusiasm. All the kids who attended had a great time. It would be great to pray that their positive experience and the things that they’ve learned might have a lasting impact on their lives.
Yours in Christ, Tim
Men’s Coffee Morning and the Ladies Coffee Morning will both meet on Friday 19th October at Petalura Eatery in Mt Victoria starting at 10am, all are welcome.
St Aidan’s congregation meet for prayer on Saturday 20th October in the small meeting room at Blackheath starting at 9am for approximately 1 hour.
Blue Mountains CWCI invites all ladies from the Parish to a Chocolate and Chat evening at Springwood Presbyterian Church on Thursday 25th October 7.30 – 9.30pm. The theme will be “Enjoying God in Everything” with speaker Nerida Peart. Contact Carol in the church office if you are interested in going.
Toys’n’Tucker for 2018 is on again. Flyers will be available soon. Leave any non-perishable food items or toys at the back of each church. Collection day will be Thursday 13th December.
Rhododendron Festival of Flowers – This special event is fast approaching, less than two months away. Help is needed; the number of people available this year is down. If you could spare even a short time on Friday 2nd November from about 10am and help with flower arrangements it would be very much appreciated. And of course lots of flowers are needed too. For more information contact Ann Flaherty on 4787 7956 or email@example.com or Gill Williams on 4787 7534 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Care & Share Support – if you or someone you know needs this service at any time please contact Judy Dyer, Judith Finney or Carol in the church office.