I write to advise you that following an emergency meeting of the Synod Arrangements Committee this afternoon, in consultation with our Diocesan Chancellor, and with the consensus of the Committee, I am postponing our upcoming Diocesan Synod. The 151st Session of Synod of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island will now be held May 26-28, 2023. As the Committee met today, we heard about the significant damage and disruption that has occurred across the Diocese as a result of Hurricane Fiona. It was sobering, to say the least. People in many communities in both Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island do not yet have power and, in some cases, it is uncertain when power will be restored. In some parts of the Diocese, the infrastructure which supports daily life has been critically damaged and it is clear that repair and rebuilding will take considerable time.
While questions were raised about whether we could gather a quorum or whether some regions of our Diocese would be under-represented at Synod, those were not our fundamental concerns. Rather, we recognized that many of you – understandably so – would be coming to Synod with your hearts and minds on your families and communities. It is simply not reasonable to expect you to be engaged in the work and ministry of Synod when we are recovering from a natural disaster of historic proportions. We also considered the work that lies before us and felt confident that postponing Synod until May, 2023, was the best decision we could make for everyone at this time.
I realize that there will be questions about the implications of this decision and have outlined below some of the details which seemed most pressing. Further information will follow in due course.
Refunds for Fees Paid: A full refund will be provided to every delegate who has already paid for meals at Synod. Our Executive Administrator, Ms. Jana Gauthier, will begin this process next week. You can expect it to take three to five business days for funds to be returned to delegates. We recognize that in postponing Synod to 2023, there is the possibility that not all current delegates may be able or eligible to be elected again and, therefore, we cannot consider redirecting fees paid to 2023 fees.
Refunds for Accommodations: Delegates who have made reservations for accommodations should contact the appropriate establishment as soon as possible to cancel those reservations. If there are cancellation fees, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will reimburse delegates for the cost of the cancellation fees. Dalhousie University has confirmed availability of the Student Union Building for May 26-28. Once we have further information about potential accommodations at Dal, we will share those details.
This information will be shared with your Parish Synod Delegates in an email Friday morning, however we wanted to advise you in advance. I would ask you to check in with your delegates sometime tomorrow, if possible, to ensure that they have received this information.
While Maritimers are known for putting their heads down and getting work done, this is a time when our work is not to gather in Synod (however much as we might like to be together in-person), but to hold one another in prayer and love. I will be leading the Diocese in a Prayer Vigil at 7:15 p.m. on October 14th, the time when we would have been gathering for the opening Synod Service. There, candles will be lit for each of our 301 delegates who, collectively, represent every parish and region of this Diocese. In the meantime, know that prayer is being offered for you from all over the world. As further resources become available to support you and your parish, they will be shared widely.
I offer these words below from Jan Richardson, an artist, poet, author, United Methodist minister, and director of The Wellspring Studio, LLC. May they help to calm your soul and remind you that we are standing in the storm with you, in solidarity and hope. And may the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord; and may the blessing of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be upon you now and in the days and weeks ahead.
The Right Reverend Sandra Fyfe
Dear Clergy, Delegates and Representatives,
Many of you will notice that the timing of this Synod is much different than in recent years. Synod has been held on the last weekend in May. This year, however, we were unable to secure facilities at Dalhousie University or another adequate venue at that time. Changing our timing by one week meant we would have been unable to access the technical support we’ve relied on for many years. Considering other events in the Diocese and holidays, mid-October seemed the most reasonable timing.
Synod is also being held from Friday to Sunday, rather than from Thursday to Saturday. We recognize that expecting Parish clergy to be present in Synod on a Sunday when they would normally be in their respective parishes is a big expectation , but we think it is important. Over the years, we have been working hard to expand our demographical range with respect to participation in the committees, VSSTs and councils of the Church. We have heard that many younger potential delegates are unable to give a full workday on Friday to participate at Synod. We hope that holding Synod over a full weekend will enable an increased level of involvement by many who have otherwise been unable to share their voices with us at Synod. The timing of Synod is always evaluated before the end of our gathering, so there will be opportunity to give feedback on these decisions, as well as many other aspects of Synod.
Please ensure that your Certificate of Election forms are submitted to the Synod Office by March 31st 2022. This will ensure all delegates get entered into our database and received all the pertinent information that will be forth coming soon.