The Diocesan Synod came together on the evening of Friday 16th September at St John’s Cairns where our opening service was a Requiem Eucharist in memory of Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. We then held the business of Synod of Saturday 17th September at Trinity Anglican School, White Rock campus. The Presidential Charge can be found at this link
In the morning our finances were discussed at some length. The outlook is not exciting. However the assets of the Diocese exist to support the mission of the Church, not the other way round, so a way ahead has been identified which will both honour our obligations to the victims of historic sexual abuse and enable our continued ministry. There will be more detailed discussion of this at regional consultations to be held later this year.
Late morning we also passed a number of General Synod Canons relating to child protection. These were not controversial measures but designed to improve our response to child protection across the entire Anglican Church of Australia. Last year Diocesan Synod also asked that a Canon to change the term “Ministry Unit” back to “Parish”. A Diocesan Canon to give this effect was put forward, but after some debate this canon was not accepted. Therefore the Diocese continues to have Ministry Units, not Parishes.
In the afternoon there were a number of reports, which gave an encouraging picture of spiritual and numerical growth in a number of our Ministry Units and regions. There were also positive reports from Mothers Union, Kidz Link, our schools and Anglicare NQ. This was then followed by a discussion of a small number of motions which all passed:
- Thanks for the 30th Anniversary of the Ordination of Women to the priesthood in the Anglican Church of Australia
- Acknowledgement of deficiencies in relation to our protocols and procedures in relation to safe guarding (noting that action at Provincial level is now underway to remedy these matters and other areas of procedural weakness)
- Encouragement to evangelism
These motions also merit further discussion at our regional consultations and in our deaneries.
Finally there were condolence motions: in relation to Her Late Majesty the Queen; and for those members of the Diocese who have died since the last Diocesan Synod in April 2021.
Overall, the spirit of Synod was very positive, with a great deal of unity and cooperation as we grapple with difficult issues. As a follow up, there will be Regional Consultations later this year to consider many of the issues raised.
Yours in Christ
The Right Reverend Dr Keith Joseph
Bishop of North Queensland
Sexual Abuse contact line: 1800 242 544 or 07 3835 2216