By Davor Milicevic
Photos: MJ Idzerda
More than 400 registered participants – clergy members and lay delegates – gathered on Sunday, May 28, at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral for the opening of 176th session of the Synod of the Diocese of Huron.
The theme for this year’s Synod is “One Body, One Spirit – Live a life worthy of your Calling” – highlighted by Bishop of Huron Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls both in her opening remarks and in her homily during Synod service which followed. She asked the participants to keep this message in mind over the next few days – Monday and Tuesday – when considering the life of the diocese and the challenges it faces.
The most pressing issue seems to be the engagement in finding new ways of ministry that would fit the resources the churches across the diocese have available. Being vibrant in faith and sustainable is the objective clearly defined by Bishop Linda Nicholls in her recent interview with Huron Church News. It is expected that she will ask the congregations to deliver their mission and ministry plans which would set their goals, including those for their financial sustainability.
The reshaping of diocesan stewardship program will also be a topic of interest as well as further projects within the Huron Hunger Fund (as a part of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund) and outreach programs. It is expected that the diocese will reaffirm its strong commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations.
This year’s Synod will mark the beginning of the consultation process on the change to the marriage canon, as required by the constitution. There will be no vote on this topic at Synod, since Bishop Nicholls committed the diocese to the process outlined by General Synod. Last year’s General Synod’s first affirmative vote to change the canon must be confirmed by a second vote in 2019 in order for the change to be fully legal within the Anglican Church of Canada.
On Bishop Nicholl’s invitation, the guest at Huron Synod are Rt. Rev. William Cliff (Bishop of Brandon) and three members of his diocese. They will participate in the consultation process on the change to the marriage canon. Bishop Linda and the representatives from Huron will share in their Synod in October.
Guests at Huron Synod are also Bishop Saulo de Barros of Amazonia – Huron’s companion diocese – and Bishop Michael Bird from the Diocese of Niagara.
The Synod service on Sunday was Linda Nicholls’ first service as the Bishop of Huron in the Cathedral which opened its door on May 14 following a six-month period of closure due to renovation of the church.
At the service Bishop Nicholls installed Very Rev. Paul Millward as the Dean of Huron and Rector of the Cathedral.
Synod resumes its session on Monday at the Convention Centre in London.