“The Holy Spirit was present” – Synod 2023

 on June 1, 2023

Our 101st synod was held on Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13, 2023­. On the first night, we celebrated the eucharist in person at our diocesan cathedral and Bishop Anna Greenwood-Lee gave the homily which served as her charge to synod. She reminded us that “the future will not look like the past, and the future is bright.” The full text of her charge can be found here and we heartily recommend it to anyone who didn’t join us either in person or online. After the homily, those present renewed their baptismal vows before coming to the altar for the Lord’s Feast. A lovely wine and cheese reception in the Chapel of the New Jerusalem followed the service.

On Saturday, we moved online to handle the business of synod. We passed some amendments to our present canons and elected willing and faithful volunteers to the various posts that keep our diocese operating and that link us to the wider church. We also acknowledged the members of diocesan council that have been elected by their respective regions. Elected or appointed were:

To diocesan council:


Mid-North Island
Lay Vice Chair: Barb Henshall*
Lay Representative: Elizabeth Murphy
Clergy Representative: Marion Edmondson

Cowichan Mid-Vancouver Island
Lay Vice Chair: Pip Woodcock*
Lay Representative: Laura Dey
Clergy Representative: Trish Vollmann-Stock

Greater Victoria
Lay Vice Chair: Debra Brown*
Lay Representative: Ian Alexander
Clergy Representative: Heather Robinson

Western, Peninsula and Gulf Islands
Lay Vice Chair: Walter Stewart*
Lay Representative: Helen Love
Clergy Representative: Juli Mallett

(Individuals indicated with an * were elected to serve as lay vice chairs but are not members of diocesan council)


And elected to additional posts:

Joel Hefty: treasurer
Walter Stewart: lay diocesan court
Jane Morley: lay diocesan court
Elizabeth Northcott: clergy diocesan court

General Synod Representatives
Lay: Ian Alexander
Lay: Elizabeth Murphy
Lay: Michael Wolff
Clergy: Clara Plomondon
Clergy: Alistair Singh-McCollum
Clergy: Christine Conkin

Provincial Synod Representatives
Lay: Anna van de Hooft
Lay: Elizabeth Murphy
Lay: Julie Foster
Clergy: Stephanie Wood
Clergy: Alistair Singh-McCollum


Another major decision taken at this synod was to direct the canons committee to undertake a complete review and re-write of the canons and regulations in time for the next synod. As Isabel Weeks, chancellor for the Diocese of BC, pointed out, the canons were first written in the 19th century, and since then have been tweaked and amended, but never wholly updated. The direction from synod is that the canons committee bring to the next synod canons and regulations that are internally consistent, use plain language, better reflect our actual practices, and are flexible enough to meet the needs of the bright future about which the bishop spoke.

And while the future is bright, the present is pretty amazing too. Synod watched three videos that showcased a few of the major initiatives in which the diocese is already engaged. Sheila Cook spoke of the work that is going on in the north of the diocese, Jibril Mohamed talked about the work of the refugee program, and Brendon Neilson gave us a quick overview of the many ways we are beginning to develop better ways for us to use our wonderful properties across the diocese. These videos are inspiring and can be viewed on the diocesan website at https://bc.anglican.ca/synod-2023/videos-from-synod-2023.

Synod 2023 closed with a motion of thanks for all the synod staff who managed the technical aspects of offering synod online. This was followed by a closing comment from Bishop Anna and a blessing.

In her remarks, Bishop Anna advised that it is intended that the next synod will likely be in person, and that we will hold the 102nd synod in no more than two years, and perhaps even sooner.

Throughout Synod 2023 it was clear that the Holy Spirit was present. Debate was honest and respectful, and the outcome of each issue considered was arrived at prayerfully with an eye to living out our baptismal vows. Delegates and staff made the 101st synod a great success. Now the work of the diocese between synods begins. In doing so, we will keep before us the bishop’s message — the future will not look like the past, and the future is bright.


  • Eric Partridge

    Eric Partridge is the executive archdeacon of the diocese, acting as the head archdeacon in charge of the regional archdeacons

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