REPORT ON THE XXXI ANNUAL SYNOD
THE DIOCESE OF THE UNITED KINGDOM, ANGLICAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
On Saturday 29th April 2023
at the Pro-Cathedral Church of St Augustine of Canterbury, Painters Forstal, Nr Faversham, Kent ME13 0DU
The Revd Mark Morgan, Diocesan Secretary, writes:
A Pontifical Mass of the Holy Ghost opened the Synod of the Diocese of the United Kingdom, Anglican Catholic Church at the Pro-Cathedral of St Augustine of Canterbury, Painters Forstal, Nr Faversham, Kent.
The celebrant was the Bishop Ordinary, The Right Revd Damien Mead, The Venerable Raymond Thompson (Archdeacon and Vicar General ) Deaconed, the Subdeacon was the Very Revd Andrew Scurr, Dean of the South. The Revd Dr Miles Maylor, Priest in Charge, Eglwys Genhadol Sant Deiniol ac Asaph ( The Church of St Deiniol and St Asaph) South Wales preached.
During his sermon Fr Maylor asked us to consider how frequently we listen to the Holy Ghost, let Him into our lives, our worship and how we allow Him to guide us in all our doings that we may be a true reflection of Christ in our lives. The Cantor at Mass was Mr Barnabas Sharp, the Organist Mr Louis Collins. The Mass was served by Mr Roy Hipkiss, Mr David Yates and Master Aiden (Fr Thompson’s Grandson). A lunch was provided for delegates by a neighbour to the Church.
After lunch, provided for delegates by a neighbour to the Church, Bishop Mead convened the business session in the Parish Room. Then followed the Credentials Report, Roll Call and data from the Annual Returns.
The Synod was pleased to raise the status of The Mission of the Good Shepherd & St Tudwal / Cehnhadaeth Y Bugail Da a sant Tudwal, Conwy, North Wales to that of a Parish Church. It was noted with sadness that the Mission of st Bede, thames ditton, Surrey and the church of Our Lady & St Edward, Bolton had both closed with the retirements of their clergy: Canon Donald Walker, Obl/OSB and The Revd Howard Marsh, respectively. The Bishop expressed his gratefulness to both priests for trying very hard to maintain things but recognised that although difficult decisions they were for the best. The Bishop also mentioned that there were a couple of other missions which would likely close in the near future. However, the growth of our other congregations, particularly in Wales, was a cause for joy.
The Secretary had distributed the Minutes previously by email accompanied by a request for questions regarding the minutes to be submitted to him by email or in writing by the Friday in the Octave of Easter (with the intention of facilitating the smooth passage of business at Synod) no such questions had been submitted before the deadline stipulated. One matter raised less than 24 hours before the start of Synod was ruled inadmissible. The minutes were unanimously agreed by all delegates present. There were no matters arising.
In his Charge to Synod, Bishop Mead commented that while there had been a slight increase in clergy numbers in recent years, and attendance at our services was also up, formal lay membership had dropped. He challenged those attending to reflect on our time spent praying and listening to God; Taking the practise of Tithing for his model, he reflected that a person attaining 79 years of age has on average spent 26 years sleeping with a further 7 trying to get to sleep, 3 years on holiday, 4.5 eating, but with an average of 2 hours per week spent in worship that would be but 342 days in 79 years! He reminded us of the words in the BCP And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto thee; humbly beseeching thee, that all we, who are partakers of this holy Communion, may be fulfilled with thy grace and heavenly benediction. And although we be unworthy, through our manifold sins, to offer unto thee any sacrifice, yet we beseech thee to accept this our bounden duty and service. He said “As Christians, we are challenged to set our hearts on what truly matters, not on the frivolous things of the earth. (Colossians 3:1–2.) Practising what we preach is essential witness and testimony. It maybe the prompt that those worshipping with us, but not committing to membership, need to see to help them take that step”. He concluded with “Remember where I started? That 79-year-old worshipping for 2 hours a week every Sunday, setting aside a total of 342 days for God during his lifetime? That is not an acceptable tithe for anyone. Is it?” The Bishop challenged us all to examine our spiritual lives and question ourselves if we give God his due and if we are truly a reflection of Him as we lead lives of Christian Witness.
Then followed the Election and Appointment to the Council of Advice, the following results were available: Mr Roy Hipkiss (St Augustine’s, Painters Forstal) was elected for the 3 years, and the Bishop’s Appointment was Mr Ron Holme (Good Shepherd & St Tudwal, Conwy) for one year.
In the House of Clergy The Rev Gordon Tall (Assistant Curate Eglwys Genhadol Sant Deiniol ac Asaph / The Church of St Deiniol and St Asaph South Wales) was uncontested for the 3 year vacancy. Deacon Mark Morgan (St Alban’s, Salford) was the Bishop’s Appointment for 1 year.
The following officers were appointed:
Chancellor: Dr Frank Wiswall
Diocesan Secretary: The Revd Mark Morgan
Diocesan Treasurer & Endowment Investment Fund Secretary: Mr Michael Smales
Assistant Treasurer: Mrs Kerry Scott
Archivist & Historian: Mrs Margaret Mead
Safeguarding Officer: The Revd Robert McBride
Risk Assessment Officer: The Very Revd Andrew Scurr
Chairman of the Board of Ministry and Education: The Venerable Raymond Thompson
Chaplains to the Anglican Catholic Fellowship, the Deans of the North and South; The Very Revd Dr Jonathan Munn and The Very Revd Andrew Scurr respectively.
Editor of the ACC DUK The Very Revd Dr Jonathan Munn
Trinitarian Promoter The Revd Mark Morgan
Auditor Mr Phillip James.
The reports had been previously distributed by the Secretary to all delegates by email. The Bishop’s Report, Archdeacon’s Reports, Dean’s Reports and Diocesan Secretary’s Report were accepted.
The Bishop, Archdeacon and Secretary had each reported on their delight in attracting three new Clergymen to our Diocese over the last year, namely Frs Gordon Tall, Robert McBride and Ronald Evans and the ordination to the Diaconate of Mr Mark Morgan.
Mr Michael Smales presented the Treasurer’s Report reflecting on the difficulties he and the Bishop had experienced in trying to gain access for the Treasurer and Trustees to the accounts (currently with Lloyds) which were not yet fully resolved after several meetings, many emails and phone calls and three submissions of paperwork. This matter was still ongoing, and the Treasurer was investigating alternative banking arrangements. It was noted that the Diocese had received a generous bequest from the estate of the late Reverend Roger Bell of £100,000, but that such levels of incoming would be unlikely to occur again, at least not for some years.
At the end of the year (2022) Diocesan Accounts showed a total income during the year of £153,810 with total expenditure (including transfer to reserve funds) of £143,643
The Diocesan Endowment Fund closed the year at £60,424 Diocesan Savings £ 25,011
The Proposed budget set for 2023 was £45,386.
The Bishop noted, with gratitude, that his Discretionary Fund had been generously supported by the Templar Knights Albion.
Other reports were presented, received and accepted The Very Revd Andrew Scurr added that it was his intention as Risk Assessment Officer to issue new guidance to all concerned regarding the conduct of risk assessments in the near future.
The Marriage Tribunal was approved to continue utilising the good offices of the Diocese of the Midwest given the small nature of our Diocese, should any such case arise, and it was approved that Consistory would be formed of appropriate persons in the unlikely event of it being required.
There were three items under Any Other Business: Firstly; the Bishop reported that while he was still in favour of assessing the possibility of approaching Churches Together for membership in the future, the proposition having been enthusiastically supported throughout the Diocese at the last Synod, the time was not yet. This would continue to be researched.
There was a proposal to move the date of Synod to coincide with our popular annual retreat with the hope of gaining a better attendance and that this (following the pattern of the retreats) could potentially be held one year in the North and the next in the South (Whalley Abbey and Aylesford Priory being likely contenders). The Deans were commissioned to make the relevant enquiries of the host locations as to their acceptance for the Diocese to hold Synod and it was proposed by the Bishop to hold the 2024 Synod on the second Saturday in May 2024, subject to a suitable venue being available then, in the Northern Deanery, to ensure Synod was held within the time period allowed in the Canons and Constitutions. These proposals were unanimously accepted.
The Bishop, reporting on his Award stated that when he inaugurated his Diocesan Bishop’s Award after his consecration in 2008, the intention at that time was there would be only one award annually and that it would be confined to recipients who were full lay members of the ACC. Although in 2015 he made an exception to the number of awards, with a double award to his parents in recognition of their unstinting support and service to the ACC.
A unique set of circumstances have caused him to award two men who, while not members of the ACC, have worked extremely hard to support raising our public profile and have been invaluable in their advice and help to the Diocesan Board of Ministry and Education. Professor Craig Paterson, Provost of the Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi Christian University (JHPCU), Miami, Florida, USA and Dr Stewart Thompson, Principal of the Victoria College of Music and Drama, London.
The Bishop and Synod concluded by offering loyal greetings to our Archbishop, the Most Revd Mark Haverland and loyal salutations to their Majesties the King and Queen for their forthcoming Coronation. The Bishop concluded the Synod with prayer.