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Special Synod ratifies decision to postpone annual gathering


With COVID-19 restrictions forcing the postponement of the 2020 Synod, a quorum of Synod members attended a special session to pass a canon to defer the next ordinary session of Synod to 2021

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The extraordinary historic events of 2020 have had ramifications on the Diocese of Brisbane in another way, with COVID-19 restrictions triggering the postponement of the annual Synod meeting for the first time since World War II.

As the fallout from COVID-19 unfolded through the middle of the year – and with the Synod Canon mandating that an ordinary session be held annually –  on the advice of Diocesan Council, the Archbishop of Brisbane, The Most Rev’d Dr Phillip Aspinall, asked that steps be taken to postpone the 2020 ordinary session of Synod to 2021.

On 24 August, Synod representatives were contacted via email and asked to confirm their attendance at a Special Synod meeting, which was held on Thursday 24 September.

A quorum of 10 clergy and 20 lay members was required, and was comfortably attained with 18 clergy and 22 lay members attending in person at St John’s Cathedral and a further 36 Synod members attending via Zoom. It was the smallest and quickest Synod meeting in history, lasting just 15 minutes!

The special Synod meeting had 40 clergy and lay members attend in person (physically distanced) at St John’s Cathedral. COVID-19 restrictions triggered the postponement of the annual Synod meeting for the first time since World War II

There were just two matters of business – a procedural motion to allow members to attend the special session by zoom videoconference, and a proposed canon to enable the ordinary session of Synod to be postponed.

After opening prayers and a brief opening address by the Archbishop, the following motion was put by the General Manager Mr Tim Reid and seconded by Mr Allan Thomson:

“That so much of Standing Orders be suspended that would prevent members of Synod attending the special session online by way of a virtual meeting platform.”                                                                                                                                               

The motion was passed unanimously. The Synod Deferral Canon 2020 was also moved by the General Manager and seconded by Mr Dan O’Connor. It was also passed unanimously.

One of the key purposes of the canon is to maintain the status quo for all office holders elected by Synod and to allow them to continue until the anticipated ordinary session of Synod 2021.

While the ordinary session of Synod will not take place in 2020, Synod members have still received written reports about the work of the various parts of the Church and will have the opportunity to discuss the key reports at a series of online forums in October/November.

The forums will provide an opportunity for Synod members to come together on a virtual platform to hear about the work of Diocesan Council, the Cathedral and each of the Commissions and to ask questions and provide feedback.

Synod members should have received notification of the forum dates and times. Any members who wish to check these times or confirm their registration should check their emails and/or contact Assistant Registrar Lisa Sargeant via:

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