Hero photograph
Collage of people from Facebook livestream 
Photo by Andrew Metcalfe

Praying, Listening, Speaking, Deciding, Connecting: Synod 2021

Andrew Metcalfe —

The first part of Synod took place on-line on Saturday 18 September. We have some highlights of what took place plus links to inspirational Synod video presentations.

The Office began to get ready for Synod from around 7:15 and with Synod representatives being admitted into the meeting from 8 am. Some photos taken of the prepearations on the day are included in this article. 

After morning prayer the Bishop presented his charge which included the challenge first given to St Francis of Assisi ‘Rebuild My Church’ - to bear witness to Jesus Christ in words, actions, buildings and to be a blessing to others.

Bishops Charge: Diocese of Dunedin, Synod 2021 Called South

Synod then commenced with various procedural motions, including appointing officers, receiving reports and the Diocesan Reports-Accounts for 2020.

[Mr Steve Mitchell acknowledged former accountant Ginny Kitchingman and the hard work by those in the Diocesan Office after Ginny's resignation]. 

MOTION NO.5: Standing Orders

Moved by: The President - The Rt Rev’d Steven Benford

That the following clause and schedule be added to the Standing Orders of the Dunedin Diocesan Synod:

99. In the event that Synod is required to meet electronically, the provisions in the First Schedule of these orders will apply. 

(The schedule that was passed effectively allows Synod to continue if not able to meet in person and can be seen on pages 62-64 of the Synod Book Part 1)

Nicola Wong, Host, attendance and voting facilitator of Virtual Synod. — Image by: Andrew Metcalfe

General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui Appointments

An election took place for Clergy (one was not required for lay members of Synod) and the following people were elected onto General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui [Information in brackets refers to Archdeaconry]:


The Ven Dr Anne van Gend [Rural Ministry]
The Rev’d Canon Michael Wallace [Dunedin City]


Mrs Glennys Faulds [Dunedin City]
Dr Penny Field [Dunedin City]
Mr Keith Gover [Southland]

During the election polling, we listened to a presentation from Anglican Missions:

Anglican Missions: Diocese of Dunedin Synod 2021 Called South

Michael Hartfield, National Director, acknowledged the generous support by the Diocese during this past year. He also asked us to continue to remember Fiji and how the Covid pandemic has affected them.

He spoke of the Te Ara Hou Strategic Plan that has been adopted:

  • Mission Action as a catalyst – what we do and where we work
  • Mission Together as a co-ordinator – who we do our mission work with
  • Mission Profile – as a champion – how we tell our stories

Steph Fry, Programme Manager, described Anglican Missions as the Mission Aid and Development organisation of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia. She shared how the five marks of mission are covered: Tell, Teach, Tend, Treasure and Transform. The three main operational aspects are Mission, Aid and Development, and Emergency Response – working in Partnerships with other organisations.

$100,000 has been raised to date through the ‘Get One Give One’ campaign. 

Connecting Faith: Dunedin Synod 2021 Called South

We also watched a Connecting Faith video presentation featuring All Saints, Dunedin North Fruit and Veg and Otago Peninsular Parish, Waverly Community Music and Playgroup

The following motions were also carried:

MOTION NO. 6: Accommodation Supplement 

Moved by:
Mrs Dot Muir [on behalf of the Social Justice Committee]
Seconded by: The Ven Jan Clark

That this Synod notes the ongoing inadequacy of the Accommodation Supplement which has been stagnant since 2018 despite huge rises in rental costs across our Diocese and asks the government to urgently review Accommodation Supplement rates and the inequities inherent in the present area system used to determine maximum thresholds.

MOTION NO. 7: Climate Change

Moved by: The Ven Jan Clark [on behalf of the Social Justice Committee]
Seconded by: Ms Lisa Burton

That this Synod recognises that we all have a responsibility to rethink the way we live to meet the challenges of climate change and urges individuals, parishes and organizations across the Diocese to take action and seek to live more sustainably.

That Diocesan Council establish an environmental audit process for all Diocesan activities and institutions to enable us to care for creation better.

For motions 6 and 7, have a look at the detailed notes on the Synod Book from pages 64-66: worth a read, and thanks especially to the Chair of the Social Justice Committee, Ondine Godtschalk, for her work on pulling together supporting information for these.  

MOTION NO. 8: Anglican Overseas Mission 

Moved by: Mrs Dot Muir
Seconded by: Mrs Anne Gover

That this Synod:

a) Give thanks to all members of the Diocese who have supported all Missions, especially Missions overseas, in the 2020 year.

b) Recommends all Parishes actively support The Anglican Missions Board, by continually supporting their partners.

c) That the Diocesan AMB target for the year Jan - Dec 2022 be $60,000.00 (in 2020 the target for 2021 was $63,000).

[Jan Clark – concerned that over the last few years, we haven’t met target yet the Anglican Missions Board (AMB) have set a budget based on our proposed target. Asked if we should perhaps set our target a bit lower in order to meet the target and help AMB to be able to budget based on a realistic target. Noted that this needs to be investigated with Anglican Missions Board]

Laren Pegg (Chancellor) and Bishop Steve Benford in the Boardroom. — Image by: Andrew Metcalfe

MOTION NO. 9: Draft Diocesan Budget 

Moved by: Mr Steve Mitchell
Seconded by: The Very Rev’d Dr Tony Curtis SCP

That the Draft Diocesan Budget be adopted as the budget for 2022.

[Steve Mitchell spoke to the motion, giving thanks to Fiona Gray for her work in providing a balanced budget. Gillian Lynch asked a question about funding for proposed Asssitant Bishop role, the Bishop answered by advising that this is not a bishopric funding issue, it would be part of any future position brought to an electoral Synod if Bill No 2 is enacted in November.]   

Fiona Gray, Diocesan Accountant — Image by: Andrew Metcalfe

MOTION NO.10: Proceeds of Property Sales

Moved by: The President – The Rt Rev’d Steven Benford 

That the proceeds of current and future Diocesan property sales are treated as follows:

1. The proceeds are invested in the DDTB Income Fund on behalf of the ministry unit (Parish, Regional Deanery, Local Church or other Diocesan Institution) concerned.

2. The DDTB Fund investment sits on the balance sheet of the said ministry unit.

3. The income from the fund on that investment is available to the same said ministry unit only for particular projects as approved by Diocesan Council.

4. Capital from the fund may be made available to the ministry unit only for particular projects as approved by Diocesan Council.

5. The Diocesan Office will make payments from the fund towards these projects on production of suitable invoices which have been approved by the wardens or other authorised officers of the ministry unit.

Explanatory Note

The above motion was carried by Diocesan Council on 22 January 2019 and was taken to Synod 2020 with the intent of it becoming a standing resolution, but some of the words were accidently omitted. The above motion is now correct and should be able to become a standing resolution next Synod (if this is required due to any delays in bringing an appropriate Bill to Synod).

Anne Gover, Lay Secretary (from the Facebook live feed) — Image by: Andrew Metcalfe
Rev’d Sandra Baird, Clerical Secretary. — Image by: Andrew Metcalfe

MOTION NO.11: Electronic Availability of Diocesan Synod Papers

Moved By: The President - The Rt Rev’d Steven Benford 

That the Registrar be instructed to make material to be considered by each session of the Diocese of Dunedin Synod (Order Paper, Bills and Motions of which notice has been duly given, and Reports to the Synod) available to all members of the Synod and the church (public) prior to the session, in accordance with Statute 8 Clause 5 (c) and Statute 39, in electronic and printed form on the basis that electronic copies and/or where requested printed copies be received 28 days before each session.

Provided that the Registrar does not consider that such material should remain confidential to the Synod until it has been considered by Synod.

Explanatory Note

This motion is intended to become part of the Standing Resolutions after the appropriate process as outlined in Statute 31 (“A statute to provide for Standing Resolutions of the Synod”). It allows for an ongoing practice of making paperwork available electronically and in paper (hard copy) when requested. This recognises the increasing use of electronic communication, reduces the environmental impact and cost of printing while still making printed versions available on request. 

Rev’d John Graveston, video, PowerPoint and Live Feeds — Image by: Nicola Wong

MOTION NO 12: Milton Church Cemetery Land

Moved By: Rev’d Esther Clarke-Prebble
Seconded by: Mr Joel Stutter 

That this Synod notes that the 2022 Synod is likely to be asked to approve a change to the wording of the trust affecting the Milton Burial Ground, under the Anglican Church Trusts Act 1981 and provided that prior approval is given to this course by two people. The background to this motion is explained in the accompanying Explanatory Note.

Explanatory Note

This land at Back Road, Milton is held subject to a trust imposed by the donor on 1 March 1860 indicating that it is to be held in Trust as a site for a church and as a site for the burial of the dead “forever”. The church was never built, but the land was used for the burial of the dead until 1926. In recent years this burial aspect has been the subject of a research project carried out by the University of Otago. At its meeting in April 2021 the Diocesan Council requested that the DDTB (who hold this land in Trust) engage with lawyers to begin the process of changing the Trust Deed for this cemetery in accordance with the Anglican Church Trusts Act 1981.

Usually, when a Trust has a specific purpose attached to it which, for example, can’t be carried out, the Charitable Trusts Act has a process to assist in changing the purpose. A “scheme of arrangement” is prepared, the Attorney-General’s office (Crown Law) is consulted and then this Scheme is submitted to the High Court with an application to vary the stated purpose. A public consultation will normally be part of this process.

The Anglican Church Trusts Act (1981) is a parliamentary statute which makes a different arrangement for Anglican Trusts. The application is made to Synod rather than the High Court, but a Scheme still needs to be prepared (and advertised), and this also includes gaining a report from the Attorney General and from the Diocesan Chancellor. When this is then submitted to Synod, Synod can change the terms of the Trust.

Mr Diccon Sim (former Diocesan Chancellor, also a Partner at Gallaway Cook Allan, the Diocesan lawyers) is assisting with the Scheme, and will work with the Worshipful Lauren Pegg (our present Chancellor). The Chancellor has an independent role and will also compile the report to Synod. The Registrar anticipates that this will come to Synod in 2022. This will update the terms of the Trust, with the intention of retaining the portion of the site occupied by existing graves and subdivide this from the remaining land which will be sold as it is not currently needed for a church, and never has been. Part of the process involves the removal of a caveat over the land.

This motion, although not technically required, allows Synod to have a prior indication that the process is taking place and to agree in principle to the work currently being undertaken.

Andrew Metcalfe’s desk, co-host of Virtual Synod — Image by: Andrew Metcalfe

MOTION NO.13: Standing Resolutions of Synod

Moved by: The President – The Rt Rev’d Steven Benford

This was considered "in Committee" by Synod which then reported back the result of the discussion to Synod. The following was carried: 

That this Synod adopts the recommendations of Diocesan Council regarding Standing Resolutions, as set out in the attached Schedules A and B

A - Schedule of Resolutions passed at Synod 2020 which in the opinion of the Diocesan Council should be maintained in force (i.e. become a Standing Resolution)

It is recommended by Diocesan Council that the following motions should become Standing Resolutions and listed in Section 4 - Synod: Motion 14 (Future Synod arrangements). This motion, and the accompanying Explanatory Notes from 2020 Synod, read as follows:

Motion 14 [2020]: Future Synod Arrangements - That future sessions of Synod continue to take place on the first weekend following the second Tuesday of September each year in an appropriate physical location, and/or electronically if required.

Explanatory Notes

1. Previously Synod locations have rotated between various archdeaconry areas, but in recent years attempts to do so have failed due to capacity issues for some areas to host Synod. We are open to any offers to host Synod but recognise that Balclutha and Dunedin city and the area between those two places provides the most geographically central locations for Synod representatives across the Diocese. It is also preferable that facilities for hosting Synod are comfortable venues with appropriate access to existing information technology systems (sight, sound, internet) to facilitate business.

2. Considerable disruption due to a pandemic (including a national lock-down) has taken place during 2020 which has impacted on our ability to meet in person. Allowing the option of some or all of Synod to take place using virtual technology will help avoid such problems in the future.

B – Schedule of Resolutions of earlier Synods which in the opinion of the Diocesan Council should continue to be Standing Resolutions of Synod

It is recommended by Diocesan Council that all existing Standing Resolutions set out in the existing Handbook should remain in force.

Explanatory note re all Standing Resolutions:

1. Standing Resolutions relate only to Motions, since Bills that are passed (enacted) become Statutes and remain in force until they are repealed by another Statute.

2. Standing Resolutions are dealt with by Statute 31 (“A statute to provide for Standing Resolutions of the Synod”). Under clause 7 of Statute 31, any Resolution not included in the Standing Resolutions remains in force only until the start of the next ordinary session of Synod.

3. All Synod members should have a copy of the Handbook referred to at the start of Schedule B. Existing Standing Resolutions will be found after Standing Orders and before the Diocesan Statutes. They are also available on-line via the Diocesan Website: http://www.calledsouth.org.nz/diocesan-procedures/

4. These recommendations are the result of a resolution of Diocesan Council at its meeting on 8 June 2021.

5. The term “Schedule” is used above because Diocesan Council is required by Statute 31 to provide two such schedules to Synod.

After Midday Prayer (at 11.45 am) Synod adjourned with prayer at 11.51 am. We are planning to meet in person on Saturday 6 November [venue to be confirmed] from 10am for 10.30am start