Diocesan Council met on Friday June 4 and Saturday June 5. We met via Zoom owing to the continuing restrictions on travel between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, and the ongoing restrictions in Nova Scotia.
Bishop Sandra reported on the work she has been doing since our last meeting in April. In May she was able to attend the College for Bishops, which is a three year educational program offered by the Episcopal Church of the United States. She has been visiting parishes virtually, often by tuning into online worship. This has been a good way for her to engage with a lot of different parishes. She also offered a sermon for Trinity Sunday, which was pre-recorded. She continues to meet with different VSSTs, and familiarize herself with their work. She also continues to meet with the various Regional Councils.
Bishop Sandra updated the Council on some staffing changes. Peter Flemming has come back as the Interim Controller. The job postings for Executive Director and Controller have been posted, and applications are being reviewed as they come in.
Allie Colp the Youth and Family Ministry Coordinator reported to Council that her work is going well. The YFM VSST is running again with a new chair, the Rev. Kristin MacKenzie. Allie has been working to create online courses for youth ministry leaders.
Frances Drolet-Smith, the Vocations Coordinator, reported to Council that she continues to be busy in her work. She continues to work with ordinands and postulants and those who are discerning their vocation. She is also working with Lisa Vaughn on how to help areas of the diocese where there are few clergy or lay leaders over a large geographic area.
Lisa Vaughn, the Parish Vitality Coordinator, reported that her work is going well. She continues to be involved with a podcast she co-hosts, Pew and Beyond. She is also involved in many conversations at the diocesan, provincial and national levels about the future of the church, and creative forms of church. The Connectors Three, the missional cohort group continues to meet, and are beginning to take their first missional steps into their neighbourhoods.
Laurie Omstead, the Diocesan Coordinating Chaplain reported on her work. She generally reports to Council once a year. Since she began her work, she has been very busy. As the only Anglican Chaplain, she covers several facilities. Working in hospitals during a pandemic is busy and stressful, and there are a lot of extra steps and procedures to follow to be able to see patients. However the work is important, and rewarding in its own way.
Kristin Mackenzie reported on behalf of the Youth and Family Ministry VSST. The Diocesan Youth Conference is happening this summer (August 20-22) in order to coincide with the Canadian Anglican Youth Gathering (CLAY). CLAY is being offered online this summer, and DYC will incorporate that. The Connect group is continuing to work on the online courses for youth ministry. There is a group that is working on ways to help parishes welcome families. The VSST and Allie are working on developing a Youth Leadership Project.
The MOST VSST did not submit a report, however a subgroup, the Diocesan Environment Network did. They updated council via a written report on the work they have been doing. In response to a request Council passed a motion “that Diocesan Council continues to endorse the Diocesan Environment Network in its ongoing efforts to stand in solidarity with Mi'kmaw communities as they work out how to implement their right to a moderate livelihood fishery.”
The Creating Missional Communities VSST gave an oral report, updating Council on what they have been working on. They are open to new members joining this important VSST.
The Financial Management and Development VSST gave their report in two parts. On Friday night, Council heard from the Audit Subcommittee. Ted Johnson reported that the Audit process went smoothly, although it was impacted by the lockdown restrictions. There were no issues discovered as a part of the Audit.
On Saturday Matthew Sponagle reported about the rest of the work of FMD. They had a discussion about the state of offering in the various parishes represented at the meeting. People in this diocese still prefer their Diocesan Times in a printed version, and this will continue for the time being.
John Morrell reported for the Human Resources VSST. He presented, and Council approved with some comments, a list of Tasks and Responsibilities for parishes. This document seeks to outline various tasks that parishes have to complete, and help parishes assign responsibility for those tasks.