This regular column reports on the activities and decisions of Diocesan Council, the “synod between synods” of our diocese. Download monthly meeting minutes at www.bc.anglican.ca/diocesan-committees/diocesan-council.
Diocesan council (DC) continues to meet via Zoom conferencing. At its January meeting reports were made about the Refugee Sponsorship Program, Christ Church Cathedral School Educational Society and Transforming Futures. The council also approved the 2021 budget (see charts on this page).
Refugee Sponsorship Program
Staff members, Tony Davis and Kimme Russell provided a program update to council, highlighting the number of people the program is currently serving and their expectations for the demands on the program over the next three years.
The program has grown significantly over the years. Prior to 2015 there were four active parishes and approximately 25 refugees sponsored each year. By the end of 2016, 29 parishes were involved. Since 2016 there have been 820 submissions and 465 people have arrived. There are currently 360 people waiting to be approved for resettlement to Canada and 400 people waiting to submit applications. The costs of supporting the program have similarly increased over the years, while diocesan resources are shrinking. Over the coming months, DC will assess options for sustaining the program.
Stuart Hall, head of Christ Church Cathedral School, shared with the DC some exciting to expand the physical plant by purchasing and installing four prefabricated, two-storey “learning pavilion” structures on the grounds of cathedral precinct, to accommodate a growing school population. Diocesan council approved the plan, in principle, making way for the school to take the next steps in its redevelopment efforts.
Walter Stewart, volunteer co-chair of Transforming Futures (TF), reported that in spite of the pandemic, several parishes across the diocese continue to work on their TF case development, integrating what they have been learning over this last year into their future plans. The TF team will be working with Bishop Anna Greenwood-Lee over the coming months to develop next steps for the initiative as we look forward to post-pandemic life.
The budget deficit will be funded from diocesan reserves from disestablished parishes, as well as a surplus from the fiscal year ending December 31, 2020. The final figures for 2020 will be reported in spring 2021.