General Synod 2013 – Thursday 6 June Morning Session

June 6, 2013

General Synod 2013 started with the Synod Eucharist during which the Most Rev David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church delivered his Synod Charge (PDF below), and spoke of the need to be both strategy-led and spirit-led. The Primus then welcomed Ecumenical Delegates and guests to General Synod and then business got underway with the approval of the Minutes of General Synod 2012 and an overview of the Accounts, Budgets and Quota from Mr David Palmer, Convener of the Standing Committee. Mr Palmer outlined some of the issues that the Standing Committee had considered during 2012 including: Maintaining an overview of the Whole Church Mission and Ministry Policy; Continuing to monitor the financial position of the General Synod and the budgeting process; following up the Pension Fund valuation, including the consultation within the Church to test affordability issues and take soundings on the possibility of changing the benefit structure. The Standing Committee agreed the revised Pension Fund Recovery Plan which was then submitted to the Pension Fund Regulator; it also agreed a revised De-Risking Investment Protocol which was proposed by the Pension Trustees and which is aimed at reducing exposure to stock market volatility. Additional online resources were provided for vestries through the SEC website and the Standing Committee considered and followed up the recommendations of the Organisation Review Committee, which advises on the planning and running of the General Synod. It oversaw the design of the 2012 Synod including the debate on the Anglican Covenant and followed up that debate by communicating the outcome of the discussion on the Covenant to the Anglican Communion Office and subsequently to the Anglican Consultative Council in Auckland, New Zealand; The Committee also considered the issue of ethical banking which led to the closure of the Synod’s account with Barclays Bank and opening an account with Triodos; and also started the follow up to the gender audit carried out previously. The Standing Committee session continued with a presentation on Membership Statistics by the Most Rev David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church (PDF below) in which he said "We have to take membership figures seriously. In far too many situations, people have been complacent as if it was somehow unworthy to think about numbers. Numbers tell a story – they tell a number of stories. They tell the story of the challenge which faces institutional churches in a secular age. They tell the story of the challenge of building community in an age of individualism. They tell the story of the need for a quality of church life which addresses intentional congregation building".