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Report of the 135th Synod (2005) of
The 135th Synod of the Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands in the Province of the West Indies was held over the period March 29 - April 01, 2005 under the theme "Growing In Christ, Sharing the Love of God". The Synod started with the Service of Evensong at 4:30pm. on Tuesday March 29 at the Parish Church of St. Peter The Apostle, Falmouth, Trelawny, at which the Rector, the Very Rev. Michael Brown officiated.
A combined choir, comprising members from the St. Peter's Church, Falmouth; St James Parish Church, Montego Bay; Holy Trinity Church, Westgate and St. Ann's Parish Church, St. Ann's Bay, under the direction of Mr. Karl Fuller, led the singing in the service and sang the Anthem - "Christ being raised from the Dead."
The Bishop's Charge
Lord Bishop's Charge (Part 1)
In his sermon, the Lord Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Alfred Reid, delivered, the first part of his Charge to Synod and to the nation, based on the Theme "Growing in Christ, Sharing the love of God." This was an extremely powerful and cogent charge to the Diocese, Clergy, Laity and Anglicans in general and was delivered in the usual brilliant style of oratory typical of the Lord Bishop. The Bishop used as his text words from Ephesians 4:vv 15-16 "Speaking the truth in love we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the Head" He asked the Synod to focus on "Growth", - specifically human development as a Christian imperative, "maturity" and progress towards maturity.
In considering the matter of "Growth" he argued that
we should not be mesmerized by statistics as the present unprecedented
reign of terror and viciousness in Jamaica coincides with phenomenal
"Church growth" and it is well known that people join
Churches for various reasons, some of which has little or nothing
to do with the purposes for which the Church exists. So while
we must at all costs be committed to the eternal salvation of
every person, we should not become so paranoid about numbers that
we are tempted to use the wrong strategies to attract the wrong
people for the wrong reasons. Instead, we should seek God's grace
and power to become the kind of Church that will be an effective
instrument of His redemptive purpose in this sick and suicidal
society. Above all we should seek to become "A real church"
rather than a "Great Church". Also, there can be no
growth or progress for either the individual or the Church without
unity, as a house divided against itself is destined to fall.
The concern ranges from simple thoughtfulness, loving kindness,
forgiveness as well as mutual support and respect within our local
congregation, to a larger concern for the breaking down of social,
racial, cultural and religious barriers within our society. He
also expressed the need for the Church to have a clear, consistent
and unified position on social and theological issues, based on
the Gospel, to be able to speak with integrity, without being
co-opted for partisan and sectional interests.
Lord Bishop's Charge (Part 2)
The Lord Bishop in the second part of his charge dealt with news from the Province and wider Anglican Communion, highlighting:
(a) The Windsor Report
(b) Upcoming Conferences
(c) Other Matters
The Lord Bishop also addressed Diocesan matters, highlighting:
Condolences were expressed to members of the church family who lost loved ones during the year. A moment of silence was held. Birthday greetings were extended to Rev. Marcia Forbes, Mrs. Norma Kerr-Clarke and Mrs. Gloria Reid - the wife of the Lord Bishop.
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Election of a Suffragan Bishop of Kingston
The President resolved the Synod into an Elective Assembly. There were present 105 Clergy and 220 Laity, representing more than seventy-five percent of the membership of the Synod. The President outlined to the Synod the purpose for which the Elective Assembly was called - that was to elect a Bishop to fill the Suffragan See of Kingston in its redefined form. The Chancellor, the Hon. Mr. Justice Lensley Wolfe, O.J. read the mandate from the Archbishop of the Province authorizing the election. This for many, proved to be the high point of the Synod.
The Bishop nominated the Rev. Canon Dr. Robert Thompson, to fill the vacancy and went on to tell the Assembly of the reasons that led him to make the nomination and of the benefits that were likely to accrue to the Diocese if the nominee were elected. In the process, he advised that glowing reports had been received in support of Father Robert's candidacy from Professor Ian Douglas - his Professor during his Doctoral studies in Cambridge and from the Archbishop of Canterbury. The latter had been interacting with him in his capacity as a member of the Anglican Consultative Council - representing the Province of the West Indies.
Other speakers included Rev. Astley Lindo, Bishop Daniel, Mr. Crafton Miller, Rev. Everton Cunningham Rev Robert McLean and a young lady from Mount James. All of these presentations were replete with encomiums in support of the candidate. A presentation was made by Mr. Douglas Folkes on behalf of the Saint Andrew Parish Church, and this was very well received. Although Father Robert was the only nominee, the election process still had to take place and in order to be successful he had to get 2/3 of the votes of each of the Houses of Clergy and Laity and 75% of the Elective Assembly. In keeping with established norms, the candidate was not allowed to be in the room during the process. Before voting, the Assembly invoked the guidance of the Holy Spirit by singing -"Come Holy Ghost, our souls inspire".
After lunch the Assembly received the results of the election which showed that the nominee, the Rev. Canon Thompson , received 77 of the 105 Clerical votes and 193 of the 220 Lay votes - being more than two-thirds majority of the votes cast in both orders and more than75% of the Elective Assembly- the President declared that Canon Thompson was duly and canonically elected. The Bishop - elect and his wife Mrs. Charmaine Thompson were escorted into the Assembly and were greeted with tremendous applause.
A warm welcome was then extended to him by Bishop of Montego Bay,
the Rt. Rev. Howard Gregory, on behalf of the Clergy, while Mr.
Michael Fennell welcomed on behalf of the Laity. Father Robert
replied appropriately. He was obviously elated but took it all
in stride with great aplomb and humility.
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Mr. Michael Fennell, Chairman of the Diocesan Financial Board presented the draft financial statements for 2004 and the estimates for 2005 as follows:
The Chairman lamented the slow pace of the Returns of Financial information to Church House. At the due date of February 15,2005 only eighty-eight of the two hundred and sixty-eight congregations had submitted returns for 2004. The Lord Bishop noted however, that our Accounts are all "above board" and funds properly accounted for as the Accounts are regularly audited and reported to the Diocesan Financial Board.
Following consideration and approval of the Budget, Mr. Fennell
was re-elected Chairman of the Diocesan Financial Board.
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Education and Youth Department
The Department of Education and Youth made a presentation on the state of the Anglican Teachers in Anglican Schools, and the resultant reduction of Anglican influence, because of the low numbers. Our own Miss Sasha Lumsden who is currently the Youth Director of the Diocese reported on Youth Ministry. Rev. Michael Allen, the Director of Education and Mr. Phillip Hamilton the Director of Schools also made presentations. Mrs. Bridgeth Gordon spoke on the offerings and achievements of the Church Teachers' College, and Dr. Maureen Samms Vaughn spoke on issues in Early Childhood Education.
The Youth Director noted that the heritage of the Anglican Church to the nation includes:
She then disclosed that 10% or less of teachers in Anglican affiliated schools are Anglicans. The statistics with respect to Anglican students in Teachers' Colleges were equally if not more depressing, as of the 641 and 647 students registered at St. Josephs Teachers' College and Shortwood Teachers' College, only 4 and 5 respectively, are teachers, and this seems to be representative of the position system wide. In order to address the problem, and given the commitment of the Education & Youth Department to "Educating and Evangelizing for the next Generation", Miss Lumsden advised that the Department had set itself a goal of increasing the population of Anglican Teachers by 100 in 5 years. In this regard, initiatives presently being considered and/or taken by the Department include:
Tribute to the work of the Venerable Dr. Alvin R. Stone
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Jamaica Church Missionary Society (JCMS)
The Chairman of the JCMS, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Harold Daniel presented the report on the Society. Congregations contributed $ 3.22 million, an increase of .01% from $ 3.21 million the previous year, but fell far short of the projected target of $4.04million.. Special mention was made of St. Michael's, Kingston; St. Ann's Parish Church; St.Ann's Bay; St. Luke's, Cross Roads; St. Mary's, Molynes Road; St. Andrew Parish Church and St. James' Parish Church - each having exceeded $100,000. Holy Trinity Church, Westgate, Montego Bay, was again, particularly strong in their support, as their contribution exceeded $320,000. With respect to the contribution from our own Church, we noted that contributions for the past three years have been steadily declining, having reduced from $164,380 in 2002 to $145,893 in 2003 and now, $117,949 in 2004.
As in previous years allocations exceeded Contributions. Grants were disbursed to a number of projects including Lay Training & Missions ($1,001,677); Greater Portmore Mission ($ 250,000), St. Michael & St. George, Free Town ($450,000); St. Patrick's Chapel of Ease, Devon Pen, St. Mary ($515,000). For 2005 income has been projected at $4.055million.
During the discussion on the report:
Report on the Committee on HIV/AIDS
The Rev. Patrick Cunningham presented a report on the Diocesan Aids Committee which, stated among other things, that:
In the ensuing discussions it was also pointed out that Drug Companies are preventing accessibility to cheaper generic drugs. A suggestion was made that Clergy be trained to deal with PLWA's who come to them for counseling and help. Deaconess Dr. Evelyn Vernon did a presentation on the holistic approach being considered by the Church and the training of Church Leaders in Voluntary Counseling Training.
State of Children's Homes
The Lord Bishop noted that while there are continuing concerns in the wider society regarding abuse of inmates in children's homes, the Diocese has three such homes and there are no allegations of abuse in any of these.
Address By Dr. Patricia Holness
Dr. Patricia Holness CEO of the Registrar General's Department
addressed the Synod on Marriage Officers' Licences. Members of
the Clergy were invited to state the challenges they were facing
in their interaction with her Department. Dr. Holness dealt with
the concerns which surfaced.
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Update on Previous Resolutions / Canons
A number of Canons were amended at the Synod. The full details of which may be requested from the Church Office. Of note were the following changes:
The Synod for the year 2005 carried on the trend of passing timely resolutions with potentially far-reaching impact.
Resolution Concerning Family Life Initiative
Resolution Concerning Missionary Activities in the Cures
Resolution Concerning the State of Education in Jamaica
Resolution Concerning the Establishment of a Clergy Directory
Resolution For a Diocesan Environmental Project to be Established
Resolution Concerning Training for the use of Caribbean Art
Forms in Worship
However, approval of the resolution would have had budgetary implications for the Diocese and the 2005 budget had already been passed without any allocations being made for such an expenditure. It was agreed that in, principle, this was a worthwhile initiative and it was the desire of the Synod for the work to go forward. It was therefore decided that Churches in the Diocese should feel free to embark on such a programme, with required funding to be arranged at the local level. The 136th Synod in 2005 would be prepared to reconsider the matter for Diocesan support, subject to appropriate budgetary provisions being made.
Resolution Concerning the Change of Name of the Eastern Region
Resolutions/Recommendations From Cluster Groups
The following resolutions/ recommendations covering various subject matters, made by six Cluster Groups formed from the Synod Membership, were passed and /or accepted for further consideration:
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Appointments Of Members Of The Church
Please note that the following members of our church serve at a
Diocesan Level and will welcome your input.
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Each day started with Matins at between 6:00 a.m. and 6:30 am, followed immediately by the Holy Eucharist. Between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. each day the sessions closed with Evensong -with evening sessions commencing at or about 8:00 p.m., after supper break. This helped to set the tone for the Synod and this time spent with the Lord was essential and invaluable.
Friday afternoon the Bishop thanked those who had made the Synod possible and had laboured long hours. He again congratulated Canon Thompson on his election and asked the Synod to pledge their prayers as he undertakes his challenging work going forward. He further indicated that once he returns to Church House, he would be sending the required documents to the Archbishop of the Province of the West Indies advising of Canon Thomson's election as Bishop of Kingston. Thereafter, the necessary arrangements would be made for his consecration, once confirmation is received from The Archbishop and the House of Bishops. He also expressed special thanks to The Venerable Archdeacon Stone for his support as Administrator of the Kingston Region during the vacancy in the position of Bishop of Kingston.
At approximately 1.45pm, with the singing of the Doxology, what had proven to be a very involved and worthwhile meeting of the Synod ended.
Some Final Observations
We were also heartened by the fact that Synod spent so much time
on this subject and dedicated much effort to mapping out strategies
for implementation of greater youth involvement in the Ministry
of the Church. We trust that this will materialize very soon as
it is our considered view that greater involvement is critical
to not only attracting but also retaining the young people in
the Church, with their abundance of energy and multitudes of talent.
Lay Representatives to Synod 2005
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Page last updated: April 9, 2005
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