Report of the 136th Synod (2006) of
The Church in Jamaica and The Cayman Islands
in the Province of The West Indies
April 18 - 21, 2006

"Working with God in Testing Times"

Table of Contents

Introduction
The Bishop's Charge
Financial Matters
Canons
Resolutions
Jamaica Church Missionary Society (JCMS)
Education and Youth Department
Address By Attorney General, The Hon. A. J. Nicholson
Appointments of Members Of The Church
Closing Remarks

Introduction

The 136th Synod of the Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands in the Province of the West Indies was held over the period April 18 - 21, 2006 under the theme "Working with God in Testing Times". The Synod started with the Service of Evensong at 4:30pm on Tuesday April 18 at which the Rector, the Very Rev. Canon Justin Nembhard officiated. The Church was filled to capacity, and the dignitaries in attendance included His Excellency The Most Hon. Professor Kenneth Hall and the Most Hon. Mrs. Reima Holding-Hall and the Prime Minister The Rt. Hon. Mrs. Portia Simpson-Miller.


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The Bishop's Charge

Lord Bishop's Charge (Part 1)

The Lord Bishop based his sermon on the theme "Working with God in Testing Times". This was an extremely relevant charge not only to the Diocese, Clergy, Laity and Anglicans in general, but to the nation as a whole. The text was from Genesis 4:9-11 in the context of Genesis 4:1-16. The Lord Bishop began by reading from Ecclesiastes 3:1-10 and then began his charge by asking the questing "What time is it now?"

He said that this period of our history could best be described as "confusing times" and quoted from Charles Dickens book A Tale of Two Cities which begins with the words "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredibility; it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we are all going direct to heaven, we are all going direct the other way". He spoke of it being a time of social division and psychic dislocation, and strongly charged that either we are one people or we are no people. He spoke about the disunity in the church and reminded the congregation of St.Paul's letter to the Galatians 3:28 "For you all are one in Christ Jesus".

He asked specifically what time it is in Jamaica, and answered that we live in a time which is defined by violence and murder. He likened Jamaica to the story of Cain and Abel - of brother killing brother; a story of unreasoned hatred, jealousy, envy, paranoia and betrayal of trust. He pointed out that we should be our brother's brother, sister and friend rather than our brother's keeper. He asserted that there was no doubt about it, these are times that test our souls, but as St. Paul says "It is high time to awake out of sleep". He stated that the challenge of the times is to recover our God-given capacity for love and mutual caring. He spoke of the miracle of unconditional forgiveness and reconciliation found in Genesis 50:15-20 and charged that the Church must take seriously our calling to the ministry of reconciliation (11Cor5:19). He charged us as servants of unity to help our people reconnect and as heralds of hope not to accept the present situation as unchangeable or inevitable, but to work to rebuild our country in what Daniel calls "troublous times" (Daniel9:25).
(The full text of the Bishops charge is available at the church office and on the website).

Lord Bishop's Charge (Part 2)

Bishop Reid began by welcoming the Bishop of Haiti Bishop Zache Jean Duracin and invited him to give a brief address to the Synod. He also welcomed His Commissary in the Southern United States of America, The Rev. Canon Horace Ward.

The Lord Bishop in the second part of his charge, dealt with news from the Province and wider Anglican Communion, highlighting:

  • That there was a record number of ordinations last year

  • That Haiti was the largest Diocese in the hemisphere - including USA, Canada and the West Indies

  • That Lambeth Conference was to be held in 2008 in Canterbury

  • That a native African had been appointed Archbishop of York and Primate of England. The new Archbishop had been a former High Court Judge under the Dictator Idi Amin.

  • That the Anglican Consultative Committee would be holding its next meeting in Jamaica in 2009, and that this would see representatives from the Communion worldwide attending, including the Archbishop of Canterbury.

  • That three new Bishops had been appointed - one in Belize, one in the Windward Islands and one in the Bahamas

  • That the Archbishop of the West Indies would be retiring in 2008

  • That Rev. Boyd, the newly elected Bishop of the Bahamas, would be appointed his successor

Recognition of persons who received National Honours and Awards were noted and congratulations offered. These persons included the President himself as well as Mr. Mike Fennell - both receiving the Order of Jamaica- among others.

Condolences were expressed to members of the church family who lost loved ones during the year. Those mentioned included the son-in-law of Mrs. June Spence, Mr. Bradley Foote among others.


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Financial Matters

The financial report for the year 2005 and estimates of receipts and expenditure for the year 2006 were presented by Mr. Mike Fennell, Chairman of the Diocesan Financial Board. The Budget for the Diocese for 2006 was:

Recurrent Budget

Details
Budget
2006
Actual
2005
Change (%)
Budget
2005
Variance
2005 (%)
Recurrent Expenditure
$ 115,785,934
$ 95,020,703
21.9%
$ 100,998,126
5.9%
Financed by:
Income earned by the Diocese
$ 33,343,272
$ 32,028,146
4.1%
$ 30,860,227
3.8%
Assessments
$ 73,491,673
$ 65,036,878
13.0%
$ 65,036,878
0.0%
Unutilised Budget Funds from previous year
$ 8,950,990
       

Representing:

  • Variances in 2005 primarily due to:

    • Savings in salaries resulting from vacancies / partial vacancies

    • Certain planned programmes which did not materialise

    • Unanticipated Budget surpluses brought forward from previous years

  • Projections for 2006 based primarily on:

    • 13% increase in stipend and salaries of Clergy and Full-time Church workers

    • 10% increase in salaries of Administrative and Ancillary Staff

    • Appointment of three (3) Rectors and a Curate, Deacon and Church Army Officer

    • Filling vacancies for Director of Mission and Ministry and other clerical and lay workers

    • Provision for three (3) Suffragan Bishops and four (4) Regions

    • 13% increase in Assessments on Churches and Missions

Capital Budget

Capital expenditure of $ 9.68 million is proposed for the year 2006, representing:

  • Replacement of Motor Vehicle - Bishop of Mandeville

  • Publications and video presentations for Education and Youth Department

  • Repairs and renovation - Hillcrest Diocesan Retreat Centre

  • Establishment of an Anglican Teachers Education Fund

  • Loans to Churches and Missions to support computerization and communication

  • Other programmes mandated by the Synod in previous years

The audited accounts for 2005 were presented and the Auditors Messers Paul Goldson and Company were reelected as Auditors for the Diocese.

In the afternoon, a short presentation on the Anglican Church Insurance Fund was tabled by the Chairman of that fund Mr. Lloyd P. Brown who informed Synod that at the end of 2005 the balance in the fund was $88,357,570 and that properties registered with the fund were valued at $2.25B.


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Canons

The only Canon amended at this Synod was Canon XIX Article 3 which replaced the existing Article 3. The effect of this amendment is to clarify the persons holding the Bishop's license who are entitled to vote at the Elective Assembly.


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Resolutions

The Synod for the year 2006 carried on the trend of passing timely resolutions with potentially far-reaching impact. The following resolutions were debated and passed:

Resolution Concerning the Jamaica Church Pension Scheme

This resolution was presented in three parts:

  1. That the Rules of the Jamaica Church Pension Scheme be amended to be in accordance with the Pensions (Superannuation Funds and Retirement Schemes) Act, 2004 so that the Scheme would satisfy the relevant conditions in respect of Approved Superannuation Funds.

  2. That pensions be also provided to surviving spouses of female members.

  3. That the rules be amended to distinguish between member's additional voluntary contributions and basic contributions.

Resolution Concerning Preservation of Heritage

It was agreed that the Lord Bishop in Diocesan Council should establish the procedure for the implementation of an Endowment Fund to properly inventory the historic and treasured artifacts of the Church.

Resolution Concerning the Effective Management of Diocesan Assets

As the income of the Diocese is derived mainly from assessments levied on congregations, an increasing number of which are unable to meet their assessment, the Synod approved that a business process to identify and inventorize assets of the Diocese be conducted, with a view to developing properties to optimize income potential and enhance the mission of the church. This would generate income and improve returns to provide greater assistance in meeting the expenses of the Diocese. At the same time, the method of assessments should be reviewed to determine how these can be restructured to lessen the burden on churches.

Other Resolutions

The only Resolution brought to Synod and not passed was one asking that at future Synods Principals or their representatives of High Schools and Tertiary Institutions be invited to the Department of Education and Youth session so that they could participate in discussions.


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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.

  • Contributions from congregations moved from $3.22 million in 2004 to $3.46 million in 2005 - an increase of 6%. Special mention was made of Holy Trinity Westgate which exceeded $300,000.

  • Training in evangelism and church planting for clergy and laity in how to effectively carry out this work was being planned and information would be circulated concerning that programme.

  • Our own Mr. Godfrey Perkins and Mrs. Marie Isaacs were returned to the General Committee of the Society.

  • Bishop Daniel was presented with a gift for 25 years of service as Chairman of the Society.


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Education And Youth Department

A very well prepared and impressive presentation entitled "Educating and Evangelising the Next Generation" was made by Rev. Michael Allen, Mr. Phillip Hamilton and our own Mrs. Sasha Wright of the Department. This was well received and seemed to inject new energy and hope in the Synod. The highlights of the presentation were:

  • The response of the church to the needs of the people - It was pointed out that the music of our country, though often loud, aggressive and unfit for airplay, proclaims some of the needs of the most affected members of our population. Those needs and the required response of the church include:

    • Isolation - Community

    • Cynicism - Seeing with the eyes of the child

    • Injustice - Justice

    • No One Hears - Compassion

    • No Voice No Representation - For whom did Jesus come?

    • Education - Renewal of the mind

  • The Teacher Initiative - The synod was reminded that our children spend a significant part of their time at school and as such the church must play a role in ensuring that we have teachers who will teach, instruct, guard and direct. The synod was informed of the ways they can support this initiative:

    • Encourage young people to become trained teachers

    • Encourage Deaneries and Congregations to support teachers in training

    • Make pledges to the Teacher Education Fund

    • Invite students to your home and Church home

    • Organize a group to be: "Friends of a School"

    • Assist with fundraising projects

    • Visit a basic school

    • Offer yourself as a Lay Chaplain

  • Youth in Ministry - Youth must not only be on the receiving end of ministry, but they must be facilitated in being a part of the ministry team

  • Christian Formation - The department highlighted the difficulties faced by young people on their journey to Christian maturity and suggested that, given this difficulty, it is important that Intentional youth ministry must be ministry that will include a paradigm shift where, youth lead from the front pushed and supported by older members. The department informed the synod that the purpose of Christian education is to Inform, Form and Transform and highlighted a quote from Maria Harris "…the church does not have an educational programme it is an educational programme. Our faith formation is an integrated process involving teaching, prayer, liturgy and sacraments, justice and service, community life and proclamation of the word."


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Address By Attorney General, The Hon. A. J. Nicholson

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice was introduced by the Hon. Barbara Gloudon. He spoke to the Synod on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and outlined the valid issues which are causing concern and which are being examined by the Government with a view to responding to these concerns raised by various interest Groups. He admitted that there could be potential loopholes in some instances, and that is why the Government was advocating a break away from the Privy Council where it would be most likely that misinterpretation of the intent of the Charter could take place. The Minister responded to questions after which a presentation was made to him and Mr. Vivian Crawford gave the vote of thanks.


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Appointments Of Members Of The Church

Please note that the following members of our church serve on the following Boards and Committees and welcome your comments.

MEMBER
APPOINTMENT
Rev. Robert McLean Diocesan Board of Education and Youth
Sister Doris Levein Church Army Committee
Mrs. Elsie Aarons Board of Mission and Ministry
Mr. Mike Fennell Diocesan Financial Board & Jamaica Church Pension Scheme
Dr. Vin Lawrence Member Incorporated Lay Body & Nuttall Trust
Mr. Alvaro Casserly Member Incorporated Lay Body
Mr. Frank James Diocesan Financial Board

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Closing Remarks

Each day started with Matins at 6:30 am and the Eucharist at 7:00 am which was led by the Bishop of each region each day. Each day closed with Evensong at about 5:30 pm. 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. At 12:00 noon with the singing of the doxology and the blessing by the President, Synod was prorogued.

Some Final Observations:

  • There was evident concern by some churches on the method of calculation and amount of assessments being levied

  • Some concern was expressed on the seeming dwindling numbers of members in some churches and the aging congregations, with the attendant observation that the church needs to refocus on growth through reengaging the youth

Copies of documents are available thorough the Church Office.

Now, as we go forward together in peace, may we in these testing times, work with God.

Lay Representatives to Synod 2006

Andrea Chin See
Frank James

May 21, 2006.


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