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Camp Medley was a busy spot on June 1, with a retreat ending, a planned work day getting underway, and Diocesan Council members gathering for a meeting.

The Rev. Rob Montgomery provided musical accompaniment for the service of Holy Eucharist, which remembered the martyrdom of Justin, an early church writer. 

“People think martyrdom is a thing of the past, yet we’re aware of Christians around the world who will be martyred or are moving toward martyrdom,” said Archbishop David Edwards. “There are lots of people persecuted for their faith.”

During his university days, Bishop David told those gathered about an event he attended that focussed on the persecution and death of Christians behind the Iron Curtain.

One of the comments from a fellow student was, ‘wouldn’t it be great to have to suffer for your faith.’

The leader’s response was one he has never forgotten: ‘Yes, many do, but if you squeeze a tube of toothpaste, what comes out?’

“If you squeeze a Christian, what comes out is what’s inside,” said David. “Are we an empty tube?”

The Ven. Paul Ranson sent a letter resigning as assistant secretary of synod, as he is moving to Sussex Corner to take on a position in the Parishes of Waterford and St. Marks. Council will wait to appoint a new assistant secretary.

The Rev. David Peer, secretary of synod, gave an update on planning for the 139th session of Synod, to be held Nov. 2 at Christ Church Cathedral. The planning committee has met and will meet again in July. Great Chapter meetings will take place in October. He is hoping the Cathedral has its lift repaired in time to make the hall barrier-free.

• The Ad Hoc Committee that had been studying the organizational structure of diocesan committees provided their report for discussion. Council discussed a number of committees that are no longer required to support the current work of Council. 

1) Historical Properties Committee (former subcommittee of Archives) — The role should be fulfilled by parish corporations and any questions could be handled by the property committee or territorial Archdeacon. 
2) Administration team — Ineffective at the time and the role is now filled by the Executive Officer 
3) Episcopal Team — Role fulfilled by the Executive Officer, territorial archdeacons, regional deans and synod staff. 
4) Mission and Outreach Team — Role partially met by the archbishop’s new advisory group on mission. 
5) Parish Support and Development Team — Need is met by the Director of Mission and Ministry (formerly, Parish Development Officer). 
6) Spiritual Development Team — Should be transitioned to under the bishop’s mandate. 
7) Stewardship and Financial Development Team — An officer is needed to support clergy, but a committee is not required. 
8) Youth and Intergenerational Team — Could possibly be covered by the archbishop’s advisory group on mission. 
9) Companion Diocese — Transition to under the bishop’s mandate; committee functioning well. 10) Creation Matters — Transition to under the bishop’s mandate; currently inactive as chair has left the diocese. 
11) PWRDF — New diocesan representative in place; requirement for a committee is unclear.
12) Communication Committee — No specific role at this time, but may be reactivated in the future. 

• Diocesan Council recognized that the following committees should remain active and support Diocesan Council: 
1) Finance (with its subcommittees on Property & Investment) 
2) Constitutions and Canons
3) Nominating Committee 
4) Human Resources Committee 
5) Executive Committee 
6) Archives Committee (appointed by Diocesan Council to assist the diocesan archivist)
Diocesan Council voted to accept the report and eliminate the recommended committees, with the understanding that any could be reanimated, based on Council’s need.

Under new business, Gerry Laskey noted the benefits of in-person meetings and the lack of give and take during Zoom meetings, normally held in February and the fall. He asked that council consider holding the September meeting in person.

He said he believes there is a cost to members not meeting in person and getting to know one another better. His motion to hold the fall meeting in person was passed. A date and location will be determined.

Chancellor David Bell, in his report, told members the last time the Provincial Court of Appeal was convened was 1976. Nevertheless, there is always the possibility of a case requiring triers, and he put forth four names: Perry Cooper and Christopher Tapera (clergy); and Deidre Wade and Kelly VanBuskirk (lay). Council approved the nominations.

While the diocese already has a Safe Church policy, it is not mentioned in our canons. A proposed amendment, said chancellor David Bell, would include our existing Safe Church regulation in Canon Four.

“As David Peer and I are working through the Safe Church regime, it occurred to us, whereas most all other recommendations have a fairly identifiable anchor in the canons, this one doesn’t,” he said.

Council passed the motion to recommend to synod that the canon amendment be made to include Safe Church. Only diocesan synod, not council, has the authority to amend canons. 

Chair Susan Jack focussed on grants during her report. The Finance Committee approved the final annual grants, bringing the 2024 total to $83,000. Three parishes will receive funding:
• Coldbrook - St Mary, $7,500 for energy efficient lighting
• Salisbury & Havelock, $15,000, for outreach programs
• Richmond and Woodstock, $4,500 for their open-door outreach 

Phil Shepherdson appeared at council for the first time. He was hired in March as the synod controller and appointed treasurer of the synod at the last meeting. He thanked everyone for the warm welcome he and wife, Maria, the rector in the parishes of Richmond and Woodstock, have received. 

“At this stage, I’ve got no qualms about income or spending,” he said as he went over the income statement. “Overall expenditures are on track.” 

Phil further noted the following in his report:
• Parish contributions to the Diocesan Shared Ministry Budget to the end of April were at 97 per cent, in line with last year. The shortfall total was $11,365.
• A new firm has been engaged to review the 2023 financial statements. They are in the middle of their review.
• Financial markets declined in April from March as the market generally continues to be somewhat volatile. The portfolio market value at the end of April has increased 2.88 per cent for the year. The portfolio is being actively managed by our investment team at PH&N and they have removed a lot of the volatility of the previous investment manager, allowing us to receive with more certainty interest and dividend income.
• Synod office staff have not identified a suitable candidate for the centralized parish bookkeeper position. This project has been put on hold as we get to understand whether there is still a need for this role.

Camp director John Galbraith gave a short history of the camp, which opened in 1945 “to get kids out of the city at the end of the war,” he said.

In recent years, the camp has installed a completely new lawn and a new deck. The old dining hall has been upgraded. An outdoor amphitheatre was built in memory of Jonathan Young, and heat pumps have been installed in the dining hall.

These days the camp hosts weddings, retreats, school outings, private events, and of course, summer camps. In May, the camp hosted a medieval enthusiasts’ gathering of 200 people from all over the Maritimes, Quebec and New York state.

Now, in 2024, there are two projects on the horizon. One is the replacement of the 60-year-old pool, which was to have a lifespan of 30 years. The concrete is deteriorating, it is unheated and it offers no accessibility for those with mobility challenges.

The second project is the construction of a proper maintenance and storage facility. 

The pool would serve not just the camp, but the community as well. There is no pool available to the public in the Gagetown area.

“It would be a blessing to have one in the community,” said Gerry Laskey.

The maintenance building would offer storage for tools, equipment and program supplies, plus a shop where repairs could be done.

A visioning exercise put the total cost of the two projects at $2.8 million. John took various questions from council members, who gave him a round of applause at the end of his presentation. 

John cautioned that they are in the very early stages of this project, and that research needs to be done on funding sources, including private and government sources. 

The next meeting of Diocesan Council will be in-person in late September or early October at a location to be named.  

1.  Diocesan Council members line up for lunch at Camp Medley on June 1.
2.  The Rev. Canon Gerry Laskey rises to make a point during the meeting of Diocesan Council June 1.
3.  Camp director John Galbraith offered council members a chance to check out the latest equipment, pedal carts, at Camp Medley. The Rev. Jasmine Chandra took him up on the offer.
4.  Camp director John Galbraith, in yellow, points out the newly painted pool at the camp and its many drawbacks, including crumbling concrete and a lack of accessibility for those with mobility challenges. 
McKnight photos

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