Posted Thursday 07 June 2012
General Synod 2012 got under way this morning at Palmerston Place Church in Edinburgh with the opening Eucharist during which the Primus, the Most Rev David Chillingworth, delivered his Charge (see below).
Following his Charge, the Primus said “In our minds at this time is the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen. It was an honour for me to attend the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on Tuesday. I wrote to Her Majesty on behalf of our Church to offer our congratulations and good wishes. This is what I said:
“We honour your sense of vocation. We admire and respect your unfailing commitment of service to your people in every walk of life; and we value the way in which you have quietly expressed the faith which strengthens you as you fulfil your calling.”
After a short break, Synod resumed with the Primus welcoming ecumenical delegates.
Motion 1 - The minutes of General Synod 2011 were approved.
The Convener of the Standing Committee, Mr David Palmer, spoke to the Annual Report and Accounts of the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) which gave a summary of the activities and financial performance of the Church during the last year. Boards and Committees exercising restraint in their expenditure contributed to the generation of a surplus during the year and it is hoped that this will be continued in to the current year. The general surplus reflects the continued prudence of Dioceses, Boards and Committees and the Convener thanked the various Boards and Committees for this. The accounts of the SEC show a reasonably healthy position for the SEC but care will be required to ensure that this continues.
Motion 2 - that Synod accept the Annual Report and Accounts of the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church for the financial year ended 31 December 2011 - was approved.
David Palmer provided an overview of the general budgetary position of the SEC in what is a challenging financial climate and reported on the financial information contained in the Annual Report and Accounts. One of the key issues for the Standing Committee in the forthcoming year will be the identification of the priorities of the SEC in future years.
Synod adjourned for lunch at 12.50pm.
After lunch, Synod resumed to consider Motions 3 and 4 and the Convener of the Standing Committee, Mr David Palmer, explained the background to both Motions which involved minor changes to current Rules of Order in respect of Synod going into groups for informal discussions during Synod and to allow this to be permitted. Both Motions were carried.
Session 2 with the Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney in the Chair considered Canons presented to Synod for both first and second reading. The various motions were presented by the Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway; and Mr Jeremy Auld, Convener of the Committee on Canons, provided background explanations. Synod was advised that Motions 13 and 14 had been withdrawn and Provost Auld explained that this was following legal advice in respect of forthcoming changes in employment law. With these exceptions, Motions 5 to 16 were carried.
The Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, Convener of the Information and Communication (I & C) Board, spoke to the Report of the Board. He commented on the Church’s publications, Inspires and Inspires Online The content of the print magazine Inspires was intended to focus on reflective articles and most of these are commissioned. In contrast, Inspires Online, focuses on time-sensitive news and items for discussion. The proportion of subscribers to both the print and online versions of Inspires is about 10% of Church membership. The Board has considered the costs of production and distribution of the print version of Inspires and will continue to review this, particularly in light of the recent increases in postal costs. Developments in the use of social media will also be considered.
Provost Holdsworth highlighted the provision by the I & C Board of Website templates for congregations, Dioceses, Boards and Committees to use in building their Websites.. Provost Holdsworth also advised Synod that the absence of information on Websites may well be perceived as nothing happening in churches and therefore stressed the need for all churches to have an up-to-date Website. A variety of views were expressed by members of Synod on the use of Social Media and on the content of print and online communications generally.
Following a short break, Synod reconvened with a Report by Mr Simon Mackintosh, Chairman of the Pension Trustees, on the SEC Pension Scheme. The Convener of the Standing Committee, Mr David Palmer, then spoke to Motions 17, 18 and 19 in respect of the Scheme and the Pension Fund Triennial Valuation. These motions were carried.
The Convener of the Provincial Committee for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults, Mr Hugh Donald, then spoke to the second reading of Canons 65 and 54. He explained the legislative changes that prompted the amendments to both Canons and the conseqential adoption of the new Schedules that led from this. Motions 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 relating to the protection of vulnerable people were carried.
Evening Office brought the first day of General Synod 2012 to a close.
Resources related to this news entry:
- Primus' Charge (PDF)
Category: General Synod 2012