Monday, May 31, 2010
Tasmanian Synod Round Up
Overall the mood was non-combative, with parishes grouped around tables and lots of opportunities for socializing and hearing about various ministries operating around the Diocese. Most of the motions were about the accounts of diocese and proposed legislation. Will Briggs headed up a committee that suggested some substantial changes to the composition of Synod, which makes representation clearer. There were also substantial changes to assessments (the tax parishes pay to fund the Diocese). A motion basically to allow better access by the Masonic Order to Anglican funerals was defeated and a mildly controversial motion about how much money the diocese needs was passed without incident. Will's other significant motion (he's synodical animal!) was about the Covenant. It was a fairly mild resolution, basically saying the Tasmanian representatives to Australian general Synod should be familiar with the Covenant. Regarding the covenant, I applaud extra measures to discipline the rogue T.E.C. but wonder if we're closing the barn door too late and the ecclesiological landscape has already changed. Elections results were somewhat mixed with some committees proving to be much more popular then others. Finally, several of the reports were very insightful and well presented. For example I applaud Paul Cavanough's candor and direct presentation of the Imagine Project's feedback.
I enjoyed my time and meet lots of interesting people. However, I think the Synod suffers from being too much like an annual general meeting. Generally most motions took to long to process, with people wanting to be involved in the technical details of motions while ignoring the larger theological issues involved. Synod's format needs to be streamlined and more time allocated to debating the theological direction of the Diocese. This makes sense because Diocese HQ does most of the technical organization efficiently anyway. (The photo is the view from the Launceston Grammar boarding house.)