Synod in Past Years
2005 Report of the Standing Committee
The Standing Committee is constituted under the Standing Committee Ordinance 1897. Its duties arise under a number of ordinances and include the following -
Meetings are held in St Andrew's House, Sydney Square and mail should be addressed to "The Diocesan Secretary, Standing Committee of Synod, PO Box Q190, QVB Post Office NSW 1230" (telephone (02) 9265 1555; Fax (02) 9261 4485; E-mail email@example.com). Office hours are 9 am to 5 pm.
A report on each meeting is published a few days after the meeting on the Synod's website at www.sydney.anglican.asn.au/synod.
1.3 Meetings and members
Since October 2004 we have met 9 times. The names of the members will be listed in the 2005 Diocesan Year Book and on the Synod's website at www.sydney.anglican.asn.au.
During the year, the following changes took place to the membership of the Standing Committee -
We are thankful for the service of the former members.
1.4 Resignation of Mr Mark Payne as Diocesan Secretary
In December 2004, we noted Mark Payne's resignation as Diocesan Secretary. Mark had served as Diocesan Secretary since 1998. We expressed our gratitude to God for Mark's significant ministry as Diocesan Secretary.
1.5 Retirement of long-serving members
We noted that our meeting on 26 September was the last meeting for Mr Richard Lambert, Mr Warwick Olson AM and Canon Bruce Ballantine-Jones OAM. We gave God thanks for their dedicated service on the Standing Committee since 1972, 1975 and 1979 respectively and prayed for God's continued blessing on their ministry in this Diocese
1.6 Management and structure
Each meeting of the Standing Committee is like a small Synod meeting. The major committees are -
Other committees are appointed from time to time for special jobs. We thank God for the faithfulness and expertise of the people who serve on our committees.
2.1 Diocesan Mission Strategy
In 2002, the Synod adopted the mission strategy for the Diocese including the following Mission Statement -
The initial goal of the Mission adopted by the Synod is -
The fundamental aim of the strategy is -
The Mission Strategy continues to direct much of the work we have undertaken during the year. A more complete statement of the Mission Strategy and the policies that underlie the Strategy are printed in Acts, Ordinances & Regulations 2005 Edition.
2.2 Recasting the Mission
We supported the Archbishop's proposal to hold the first day of the 2005 session of Synod at the Sydney Town Hall. This proposal is intended to give representatives from parishes and diocesan organisations, in addition to Synod members, the opportunity to hear the Archbishop's presidential address and the Mission presentations on the first day. With the commencement of a new Synod, it is considered desirable to "recast" the Mission to as broad an audience as possible.
2.3 New capital project
Last year we passed an ordinance to appropriate up to $1 million from the Diocesan Endowment to fund the first stage of the New Capital Project. The first stage involves the development of a set of strategies to realise capital, including the preparation of a comprehensive database of diocesan assets.
We have monitored the development of this project noting -
A report about the current status of the New Capital Project is printed separately.
We have also requested that -
The motion, bill and an explanatory statement for the bill will be printed separately.
2.4 Current and future property needs of Moore Theological College
During the year we received a letter from the Principal of Moore College about the current and future property needs of Moore Theological College. The College Council is in the process of considering whether Newtown remains the best site for the College in light of the Diocesan Mission and the increasing number of students at the College.
We encouraged the College to continue consideration of the options available to provide for its property needs. We also -
2.5 Mission Property Committee
Under the Mission Property Ordinance 2002, the Mission Property Committee is required to prepare and submit for our approval a strategic plan which deals with the areas in the Diocese in which -
Such a plan is to be provided no later than 6 months before the first session of each Synod.
We approved an updated strategic plan for the period ending June 2004. We noted the Mission Property Committee's recommendation that, in light of its financial position, the prioritised strategic goals for acquisition of land need to be reassessed.
2.6 Reform of parish structure and administration
Last year the Synod passed the Parishes (Special Administration) Ordinance 2004 to enable parishes to be administered as a whole by reference to their constituent congregations rather than by reference to their church buildings.
This year the committee which has been established to implement this and other initiatives under the fourth policy of the Mission Strategy (the "Policy 4 Committee") has -
The bill for the Associated Congregations (Amendment) Ordinance 2005 enables congregations which do not meet in a church building of a parish to be associated with a church of the parish. It is proposed that members of an associated congregation are to be treated as parishioners of the church for vestry meetings and all other purposes. In this way members of an associated congregation will be entitled to participate fully in the administration of the church and parish.
The report on parochial structure and administration proposes, among other things, that the Parishes Ordinance 1979 and the Recognised Church Ordinance 2000 be rewritten in order to put in place a revised system of ministry classification. This includes a proposed review process for provisional parishes and a new "experimental ministry" category.
We requested that the bill and a motion to enable consideration of the matters outlined in the report be brought to the Synod. A copy of the bill, explanatory statement for the bill and report are printed separately.
3.1 Estate of Late M.A. Grant (Sisters' Endowment)
The Archbishop-in-Council appropriated $35,000 from this Estate for distribution by the Archbishop to assist clergy, clergy widows and clergy children or orphans who are in need.
3.2 Parramatta '54 Free Fund
The income of this fund is to be distributed among the objects of the Diocese of Sydney as determined by the Archbishop-in-Council. A distribution of $3,757 was made to pay the costs of the Archbishop and Sydney bishops attending the 2005 Australian Bishops Conference.
3.3 Parishes of Waverley and Lakemba - right of presentation
The parishes of Waverley and Lakemba became vacant during the year but the Archbishop was unable to declare that the parishes had complied with clauses 8 and 15 of the Presentation and Exchange Ordinance 1988. Both matters were referred to the Archbishop-in-Council which determined that, in the circumstances, the parish of Waverley should have the benefits under the Ordinance but the parish of Lakemba should not.
3.4 Declaration of Roseville College as extra-parochial
The Archbishop-in-Council declared Roseville College to be extra-parochial under clause 7 of the School Chapels and Chaplains Ordinance 1975.
4.1 Accounts, Audits and Annual Reports Ordinance 1995
Organisations of the Synod which manage church trust property must report annually to the Synod. These reports include audited accounts and must be lodged, together with liquidity reports, by 30 June each year. A different lodgement date has been approved for a few organisations whose financial year does not end on 31 December.
The annual reports and audited accounts for about 40 organisations will be tabled in the Synod. Any major problems found by the Finance Committee from a review of these accounts will be reported.
4.2 Audited accounts of the Standing Committee
The audited accounts for the Synod Fund are printed separately. Those of the Sydney Diocesan Account (a small group of sub-trusts and clearing accounts) will be tabled.
4.3 Borrowing limits for organisations
An increased borrowing limit was approved for 2 organisations.
4.4 Ordination training fund
From this Fund, bursaries are available to -
Bursaries of $805,000 were paid in 2004 ($776,303 in 2003).
The Ordination Training Fund Committee has decided -
This new arrangement will bring the Fund within the funding allocated by the Policy 3 Committee and takes into account the new FEE-HELP arrangements that began at Moore College from the start of 2005.
The following table shows the numbers of ordinances passed and assented to in 1999 to 2004 and in 2005 to 26 September.
Sydney Diocesan Superannuation Fund Ordinance 1961 Amendment Ordinance 2004 enabled the transfer of the members and assets of the Sydney Diocesan Superannuation Fund to a trustee of a complying superannuation fund with effect from 1 December 2004. In effect, the ordinance enabled the body corporate known as the Sydney Diocesan Superannuation Fund Board to be replaced by AMP Superannuation Limited as trustee of the assets currently held in the Fund. Further information about this matter is set out at 4.16 below.
The Sydney Anglican Property Fund (Wind Up) Ordinance 2004 provided for the winding up of the fund known as the Sydney Anglican Property Fund. Historically, the Sydney Anglican Property Fund has been a vehicle by which trustees of church property could pool funds for investment in commercial and industrial property.
The Church Administration Amendment Ordinance 2004 allowed electors at vestry meetings and parish meetings to vote for less than the number of candidates to be elected. Further information about this ordinance is set out at 8.13 below.
The Parish Cost Recoveries Appropriation Ordinance 2005 appropriated $1.3 million from the Diocesan Endowment to provide working capital for the Parish Cost Recoveries Fund.
The Sydney Elections (Sydney Town Hall) Amendment Ordinance 2005 provided for the ballot for Synod elections to be conducted on the second and third days of the first session of the 47th Synod instead of the first and second days. The change was made in view of the proposal to hold the first day of the session at the Sydney Town Hall.
The Sydney Church of England Finance and Loans Board Amendment Ordinance 2005 prevented the Finance and Loans Board from making loans to parochial units or diocesan organisations which will be or may become subordinated to loans secured by mortgage. The ordinance does however provide that if there are particular circumstances which make it appropriate to authorise a subordinated loan, this can be done with our approval.
The St Philip's Sydney York Street Property Leasing (Special Distribution) Ordinance 2005 provided for a special distribution of rent from a lease of property known as 1 York Street, Sydney. The special distribution is approximately $45,000 per annum to be paid to the churchwardens of St Philip's Sydney in the years 2005, 2006 and 2007. The special distribution is to be made from amounts that would otherwise be available for distribution by the Synod.
The Tribunal Ordinance 2005 appropriated an amount of up to $140,000 from the capital of the Diocesan Endowment for the purposes of meeting costs and expenses incurred in a recent hearing before the Diocesan Tribunal. We subsequently determined that certain costs and expenses arising from that hearing be paid pursuant to the ordinance.
The Anglican Provident Fund Ordinance 1990 Amendment Ordinance 2005 enabled the transfer of members and assets of the Anglican Provident Fund to a successor fund chosen by the existing trustees. The mechanism of transfer facilitated by this ordinance is similar to that which enabled the members and assets of the Sydney Diocesan Superannuation Fund to be transferred to AMP Superannuation Limited as trustee. The ordinance was passed pursuant to powers recently delegated to the Standing Committee pursuant to the Delegation of Powers (Provident Fund) Amendment Ordinance 2004.
The Pyrmont (Special Arrangements) Ordinance 2005 enabled a building in Pyrmont in which the Peninsula Community Church meets to be licensed as a church despite the building not meeting the usual requirements for the licensing of such a building under the Church Grounds and Building Ordinance 1990. It is intended that the ministry undertaken by Peninsula Community Church will have the status of a provisional parish following such licensing.
Sydney Diocesan Superannuation Fund Amendment Ordinance 2005 provides for superannuation choice for clergy and also contains provisions which effectively extend the age for which superannuation is payable for clergy from age 65 to age 70. Further information about this matter is set out at 4.11.
4.5A Diocesan Development Fund
In August, we received a paper from the Chief Executive Officer of the Secretariat about a proposal to establish a Diocesan Development Fund. The proposal involves the assets of the Sydney Church of England Finance and Loans Board and the Sydney Anglican Car and Insurance Fund being incorporated into the Diocesan Endowment as seed capital for the Development Fund. We agreed in principle with this proposal and agreed to consider an enabling ordinance at our September meeting. We also appointed an ordinance review panel comprised of representatives from the Standing Committee, the Glebe Administration Board and the Finance and Loans Board to review the enabling ordinance and to report to us at our September meeting.
The panel reviewed a bill for the Diocesan Development (Provision of Capital) Ordinance 2005 and recommended that we pass the bill to give effect to the proposal. Subsequent to the panel making its recommendations, 4 of our members requested in writing that the Archbishop refer the proposed ordinance to the Synod pursuant to clause 5(3)(b) of the Delegation of Powers Ordinance 1998. In accordance with clause 5(3)(b), the Archbishop has referred the bill to the Synod.
We requested that the bill nonetheless be promoted to the Synod "by request of the Standing Committee" in a form which includes a new recital D.
The report of the review panel and the bill are printed separately.
4.5B Ongoing costs of the Diocesan Tribunal
We agreed, as an interim measure, to consider reimbursing the legal costs incurred by a respondent before the Diocesan or Church Discipline Tribunal in accordance with a Scale of Costs where the Tribunal recommends that such costs be reimbursed.
4.6 Capitalisation of Income
Last year we agreed to review the policy issues associated with the capitalisation of income on funds invested by the Property Trust. The review has been completed and we adopted the following policy in relation to the proportion of income which should generally be capitalised in order to preserve the real value of the funds invested by the Property Trust -
4.7 Synod income 2006 - 2008
We agreed to recommend to the Synod that special distributions from the Diocesan Endowment of $700,000 in 2006, $600,000 in 2007 and $200,000 in 2008 be made to supplement the income otherwise available to Synod. This should raise the total available for distribution by Synod to approximately $10.2 million in 2006, $10.5 million in 2007 and $11 million in 2008 subject, of course, to the year-to-year performance of the Glebe Administration Board.
Before deciding to make this recommendation, we received comments from the Glebe Administration Board about the impact of making special distributions from the Diocesan Endowment and the capacity of the Glebe Administration Board to maintain the real value of the Diocesan Endowment to enable distributions to the Synod to grow.
We also requested representatives of the Glebe Administration Board and the Mission Taskforce to confer with a view to developing recommendations for a policy setting out the principles to be followed in relation to maintaining the real value of the Diocesan Endowment and producing a suitable income stream for the Synod. Recommendations in relation to this matter have not yet been made.
4.8 Parochial cost recoveries - arrears
The following table compares the arrears of cost recovery charges as at 30 June 2003, 2004 and 2005.
The Archdeacons are in regular contact with parochial units in arrears with a view to finding a solution to the situation. They report initially to the Finance Committee.
4.9 Annual financial returns from parishes
Under clause 5 of the Assessment and Charges Ordinance 1975 parochial units are required to lodge their annual financial returns (including audited financial statements) by 15 April for the previous year ending 31 December.
We received a report from the Finance Committee indicating that as at 15 July 2005 24 parochial units had not lodged their annual financial returns and a further 13 parochial units had lodged incomplete returns. We asked the regional archdeacons to investigate and report to us on the status of the audited financial statements and annual financial returns for each of these parochial units.
4.10 Local revenues test for parish status
During the year the Finance Committee advised that no parish had failed the 3 year test for retaining parish status under clause 8(1) of the Parishes Ordinance 1979. The parishes of Ashfield, Bankstown, Clovelly, Five Dock/Haberfield, Kingsgrove and Merrylands West each had local revenues below the requisite amount in 2003, however in each case these parishes had sufficient local revenues in the previous year. These parishes have been advised of the importance of ensuring their 2004 and future revenues meet the relevant threshold figures.
4.11 Superannuation choice
From 1 July 2005 certain employees became entitled to choose the superannuation fund into which contributions on their behalf are paid by their employer. This entitlement is known as "Superannuation Choice".
Clergy licensed to parishes are not "employees" and so are not required to be provided with choice of superannuation fund. Nevertheless we determined that a form of superannuation choice should be offered to clergy from 1 July 2006.
In order to implement this decision, we passed the Sydney Diocesan Superannuation Fund Amendment Ordinance 2005 (see 4.5). This provides for superannuation choice for clergy as follows -
Following the passing of the ordinance, we made regulations about the exercise of the choice option.
In addition to providing for superannuation choice for clergy, the amending ordinance also contains provisions which effectively extend the age for which superannuation is payable for clergy from age 65 to age 70. This is in accordance with current superannuation law and with existing practice for full time and most part time parish clergy. These provisions will be administered on the basis that where a member is aged more than 65 years and is not entitled to superannuation contributions under the terms of the existing ordinance, such contributions to which he or she may now be entitled are only payable for service undertaken after the commencement of the amending ordinance.
4.12 Parochial cost recoveries for 2006, 2007 and 2008
Under clause 11 of the Assessment and Charges Ordinance 1975, we are required to prepare for the first session of the 47th Synod an ordinance which specifies the cost recoveries charge and ministry and property costs to be paid by each parochial unit in 2006, 2007 and 2008, or the method or methods by which those charges may be determined.
A bill for the Parochial Cost Recoveries Ordinance 2005 and the accompanying explanatory report are printed separately.
4.13 Synod appropriations and allocations for 2006 - 2008
In 2001, the Synod adopted the report "Focussing Resources for the Gospel". In 2002, the Synod approved the Synod Appropriations and Allocations Ordinance 2002 and Explanatory Report which acknowledged the Diocesan Mission and the initial goal "to see 10% of the people of Sydney in Bible-based churches in 10 years".
Last year the Synod adopted a report setting out the target allocation percentages we proposed for the triennium 2006 - 2008. These percentages have formed the basis of detailed work being undertaken to bring an Allocations and Appropriations Ordinance for the 2006 - 2008 triennium to Synod this year.
A bill for the Synod Appropriations and Allocations Ordinance 2005 and an explanatory report are printed separately.
4.13A Stipends, Allowances and Benefits for 2006
We approved the minimum stipends for ministers, assistant ministers and lay ministers for 2006. We also approved minimum rates for occasional services. A circular advising these minimum stipends and rates has been sent to all parishes.
We have not yet considered the travel allowance payable in 2006.
4.13B Appointment and membership of the Stipends and Allowances Committee
Each year the Synod has reappointed the Stipends and Allowances Committee with power to co-opt and directed that it report its findings and recommendations to us for action (see 8.8).
We received a report from the Chairman of the Stipends and Allowances Committee about a proposal to change the way in which the Stipends and Allowances Committee is appointed. Having considered the report, we -
We have requested that a motion be moved at the Synod to seek Synod's approval of our proposal to appoint the Stipends and Allowances Committee for a 3 year term.
4.14 Endowment of the See (various approvals)
The stipends, allowances, superannuation, long service leave, housing and office costs of the Archbishop, Assistant Bishops, the Registrar and Archdeacons, the salaries of the registry staff (including the Archives), and the stipend, allowances, superannuation, long service leave and housing costs of the Dean are met from the Endowment of the See. These costs are not a charge on Synod funds except for $60,000 in 2005 for the promotion of women's ministries.
4.15 Sale of the Gilbulla Memorial Conference Centre
In 2001, the Synod passed the Gilbulla Memorial Conference Centre Sale Ordinance 2001 to authorise the sale of the Gilbulla Memorial Conference Centre. In 2003 we reported that the sale was completed in November 2002.
The proceeds of sale, and income earned thereon, are held for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, adopting and/or renovating a property or building to be used as a conference centre and retreat house in connection with the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Sydney.
To date, no substantive progress has been made in finding a replacement for Gilbulla.
4.16 Anglican SuperFund - Sydney
Last year we reported that the Board of Anglican SuperFund - Sydney (ASF) had indicated there was an imperative to merge with another fund in order to deliver the benefits arising from economies of scale in the areas of member costs, administration and investment. Mergers with Anglican Superannuation Australia and Christian Super had been contemplated, however negotiations with these funds were not concluded.
During the year the Board of ASF entered into negotiations with AMP Superannuation Limited for a merger of the Fund as a sub-plan in the AMP Superannuation Savings Trust known as "AMP Signature Super". In order to facilitate this merger we passed the Sydney Diocesan Superannuation Fund Ordinance 1961 Amendment Ordinance 2004. The merger of ASF as a sub-plan in AMP Signature Super has now been substantially completed although there are some administrative issues associated with the merger that still need to be resolved.
4.17 Sydney Anglican Car and Insurance Fund
Last year we agreed in principle to wind up the Sydney Anglican Car and Insurance Fund and agreed that as funds are released from the winding up, they should be used for purposes determined by us or the Synod at a future time. However in principle we agreed that the funds should be used to meet capital or infrastructure costs to further the Mission.
The Fund is progressively being wound-up. We have however proposed that the assets of the Fund be incorporated into the Diocesan Endowment to facilitate the creation of a Diocesan Development Fund. We have requested that a bill for the Diocesan Development (Provision of Capital) Ordinance 2005 be promoted to the Synod for this purpose. See item 4.5A.
4.18 Refurbishment and use of St Andrew's House
We received reports from the Chief Executive Officer of the Glebe Administration Board about a proposed refurbishment of St Andrew's House and its long term usage.
4.19 Sickness and Accident Fund
The Sickness and Accident Fund provides for the payment of medical and related expenses incurred by parish and certain other clergy up to a prescribed amount where such expenses are not payable from any other source.
We changed the prescribed amount payable under clause 10(2) of the Sydney Diocesan Sickness and Accident Fund Ordinance 1969 from $500 to $1,000. The new limit applies to claims paid after October 2004.
The appointment of persons to serve on committees etc, continued to be a major part of our business. Some appointments are to fill casual vacancies among Synod appointees, and these appointments fall vacant at this coming Synod session. Other appointments are made by the Standing Committee in its own right.
From November 2004 to June 2005, 33 such positions were filled (37 for the same period in 2003-2004).
5.2 Membership of the Synod
Under part 7 of the Synod Membership Ordinance 1995, the Archbishop is entitled to nominate a number of ministers to be members of the 47th Synod. The maximum number of ministers who may be nominated cannot exceed 10% of the total number of "parochial ministers" (as defined in the ordinance) determined on 1 January 2005. The Registrar has advised that this number is 24.
The Archbishop has advised that he intends nominating 24 ministers as members of the 47th Synod under part 7. As at 10 August 2005, the Archbishop had appointed 23 of these 24 ministers.
For every nominated minister proposed to be nominated by the Archbishop, we can elect a lay person to be a member of the 47th Synod under part 8 of the ordinance. We have elected 24 lay persons to be members of the 47th Synod.
In addition, under part 6 of the ordinance, we may declare up to 7 Diocesan Boards, departments or organisations to be "nominated organisations" for the purposes of the 47th Synod. The effect of such a declaration is that the Chief Executive Officer of the nominated organisation is a member of the 47th Synod. We have declared the following organisations to be "nominated organisations"-
5.3 Reports from regional councils
Under clause 9 of the Regions Ordinance 1995 each regional council must give us an annual report for inclusion in our report to the Synod. The annual reports are printed separately, together with any reports for the reclassification of provisional parishes as parishes under the Parishes Ordinance 1979.
5.3A Proposal to reclassify Hoxton Park as a parish
We requested that a motion by which the Synod may assent to the reclassification of Hoxton Park as a parish be moved at Synod. A report about the proposed reclassification is printed separately.
5.4 Pastoral care and assistance to victims of abuse
Last year we reported about the implementation of the Pastoral Care and Assistance Scheme for victims of abuse. The Care and Assistance Scheme has been put in place by the Professional Standards Unit as an alternative, non-litigious response to persons alleging and those who are victims of abuse by clergy, church workers and employees of Anglicare.
The Scheme has been widely promulgated and advertised. At the present time a number of claims in relation to Anglicare and in relation to clergy and church workers have been received. The Director of the Professional Standards Unit is aware of a number of other claimants who have indicated that they are interested in participating in the scheme.
We requested that the Director report to us at least every 6 months about the progress of the scheme and any payments made.
5.5 Review of the Presentation and Exchange Ordinance 1988
In 2002 we reported that we had appointed a committee to review the Presentation and Exchange Ordinance 1988, and report with recommendations by 31 May 2003.
The committee has now reported and made a number of recommendations about the Presentation and Exchange Ordinance 1988 and about guidelines used to facilitate the presentation process.
We asked the Policy 4 Committee to assess the recommendations of the committee, refine the guidelines already in existence for the presentation process and recommend necessary changes to the ordinance with a view to their promotion to Synod in due course.
The Policy 4 Committee has not yet completed its work.
5.6 Review of the Regions Ordinance 1995
The Regions Ordinance 1995 provided for the formation of regions and establishment of regional councils across the Diocese. In the explanatory statement which accompanied the proposed ordinance we indicated that a review of the effectiveness of regionalisation should be undertaken in 2005, or earlier if circumstances require. To date no formal review of the effectiveness of regionalisation has been undertaken.
We are not aware of any compelling need to review the concept of regionalisation generally, or the terms of the Regions Ordinance 1995 more specifically. However the regional bishops and regional councils have been asked to consider whether a review of regionalisation is necessary and, if so, the nature of the review that should take place.
We will consider the responses from the regional bishops and regional councils as they are received before deciding whether to take this matter further.
5.7 Anglican Media Council
During the year we commenced a review of the operations of the Anglican Media Council as required by clause 33 of its ordinance. The main issue arising during the review was whether television programs should continue to be produced as an additional function of the Council under clause 5(2) of its ordinance. In considering this issue, we noted the difficulties faced by the Council in continuing to produce television programs due to the reduced funding available to the Council under Policy 2b and also the decision to focus on internal Mission communications such as the launch of the new internet site www.sydneyanglicans.net.
We deferred further consideration of this matter until the Mission Taskforce considered whether in the next triennial budget it was able to recommend reinstatement (or not) of the grant required for the Council to continue television production as currently required under clause 5(2) of its ordinance. We also requested the Mission Taskforce and its policy and finance committees to consider, without prejudice, ways and means of reinstating the Council's funding for television production.
Having considered this matter, the Mission Taskforce was unable to recommend the reinstatement of funding for television production. This is reflected in the bill for the Synod Appropriations and Allocations Ordinance 2005.
We intend to complete our review of the operation of the Council after the 2005 session of the Synod.
5.8 Bullying in Schools
We requested that the Anglican Education Commission prepare a short issues paper in plain English on "Bullying in Schools" -
The Commission has provided a paper. We requested that a copy of the paper be sent to the Chair and Head of each school under diocesan control with the request that each school -
We will consider the reports from the schools once they are received.
5.9 Remarriage of divorced persons
Over previous years, we reported that we were seeking the comments of the Doctrine Commission on proposals for legislation to authorise the remarriage of divorced persons. In 2003 the Doctrine Commission provided its report which we have not yet considered.
5.10 Review of the lay ministry licensing system
In 2002 we advised that we had considered certain recommendations made by the committee appointed to review the lay ministry licensing system in the Diocese under the Deaconesses, Readers and Other Lay Persons Ordinance 1981.
We intend to resume consideration of this matter once a revised form of bill for an ordinance for lay ministry licensing is prepared. Such a bill has not yet been prepared.
6.1 Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Tolerance) Bill 2005
During the year, an independent member of the Legislative Council of NSW, the Hon Peter Breen MLC, introduced the Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Tolerance) Bill 2005 into the NSW Parliament. The stated purpose of the bill was to "promote religious tolerance and for other purposes". To this end the bill provided for the insertion of a new part 4H in the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 to make vilification on the grounds of religious belief and activity unlawful and to create a criminal offence of "serious religious vilification".
In many respects the bill resembles legislation which is currently in force in Victoria and which has received considerable media attention in the "Catch the Fire" Tribunal case. However one obvious difference with the Victorian legislation is the absence of an exception to vilification in respect of a public act done reasonably and in good faith for religious purposes.
We considered that, if the bill were to become law, it would significantly undermine religious freedom in this State. Accordingly we asked a group of people to formulate and implement a strategy to oppose the bill. This group, among other things, wrote to the Premier and Leader of the Opposition expressing our concern about the bill.
The Premier has recently announced that the State Government would not be supporting laws on religious vilification and has written to us confirming the Government's position. The Leader of the Opposition has also advised us of its opposition to such legislation.
We welcome the Premier's announcement as a positive step in maintaining religious freedoms in this State. We are however keeping a watching brief on this and related matters involving the Anti-Discrimination Act.
6.2 Draft taxation rulings on the tax treatment of charities
Last year we reported that the Government had decided not to proceed with a legislative definition of charity following the release of an exposure draft of the Charities Bill 2003. The Government had instead decided to retain the common law meaning of charity, subject to a statutory extension to include as charities certain non-profit child care and self help groups, and closed or contemplative religious orders. The extended definition of charity applied from 1 July 2004.
During the year the Australian Tax Office (ATO) issued 2 draft rulings on the tax treatment of charities. It appears that the draft rulings have been issued as a "wrap up" to the Charities Definition Inquiry.
The first draft ruling is Income Tax and Fringe Benefits Tax: Charities (TR2005/D6). This sets out the Commissioner's views on the meaning of "charitable institution" and "fund established for public charitable purposes" for, among other things, income tax-exempt purposes.
The second ruling is Income Tax: Companies Controlled by Exempt Entities (TR2005/D7). This concerns the income tax exemption of companies (broadly defined) which are not carried on for the profit or gain of their individual members and which are controlled by an entity or entities that are exempt from income tax. The focus of this draft ruling is the tax treatment of entities within religious groups.
In a response to a request from the ATO for public comment about the draft rulings, we appointed a group to prepare and lodge with the ATO a submission on our behalf. A submission has been lodged with the ATO. The executive summary of our submission is as follows -
"The draft rulings TR 2005/D6 and TR 2005/D7, while undoubtedly seeking to provide the charitable sector with certainty in the area of charities tax law, do so at the expense of accurately representing a number of key principles of the law.
The draft rulings are in many respects helpful summaries of the case law. However the draft rulings suffer at key points because of a fundamental methodological error in that they draw key definitions and principles from cases which are not relevant to the matters being addressed and either ignore or down-play the importance of the cases which are both relevant and authoritative. The result of adopting this methodology leads to an understanding of the term "charitable institution" which, in important respects, is narrower than that which is justified by the relevant case law.
The draft ruling TR 2005/D6 departs from TR 1999/D21 in some significant respects which are not warranted by the case law. Of particular concern is the reformulation of the dominant purpose test and the inclusion of the discussion on commercial activity. The discussion on commercial activity in particular evidences a tendency in both rulings to confuse objects and the activities which are undertaken in pursuit of those objects.
The general departure from the common law understanding of charitable institutions in both draft rulings justifies concern about the use of tax rulings as de facto legislation.
If the draft rulings are left to stand in their current form, we consider that they will not only have the effect of significantly undermining legitimate expressions of charitable activity in Australia but will also increase the potential for disputed decisions and litigation."
We have asked the group appointed to prepare our submission to continue its work in formulating and implementing a strategy to respond to the issues raised by the draft rulings.
7.1 Appointment of Archbishop as Chair of the General Synod Doctrine Commission
During the year, the Archbishop was appointed as the Chair of the General Synod Doctrine Commission. We congratulated the Archbishop on his appointment and prayed for God's blessing on him in this new responsibility.
7.2 Appointment of Mr Robert Tong to the Archbishop of Canterbury's Panel of Reference
During the year, Mr Robert Tong was appointed to the Panel of Reference set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Panel of Reference is to enquire into and report on serious disputes involving parishes who cannot as a matter of conscience accept the episcopal oversight of their bishop. We congratulated MR TONG on his appointment and assured him of our prayerful support in this responsible and challenging role.
MR TONG attended the first meeting of the Panel in July 2005.
We have requested that a motion be moved at the Synod about the establishment of the Panel of Reference.
7.3 Appellate Tribunal reference concerning women bishops
During the year the Primate referred the following question to the Appellate Tribunal under section 63(1) of the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia -
1.the opinion of the majority of the Appellate Tribunal, expressed in its 1991 opinion, was, that it was the constraint imposed by section 71(2) of the Constitution that then prevented the ordination of a woman as a priest or the consecration of a woman as a bishop in the Anglican Church of Australia;
2.in the case of the ordination of a woman as a priest, such constraint has been removed in a diocese which has adopted by ordinance the Law of the Church of England Clarification Canon 1992; and
3.the definition of "canonical fitness" as it relates to a person elected bishop contained in section 74(1) of the Constitution was amended to its present form with effect from 5 June 1995;
is there anything in the Constitution which would now prevent -
1.the consecration of a woman in priests' orders as a bishop in this church in a diocese which by ordinance has adopted the Law of the Church of England Clarification Canon 1992; or
2.the installation of a woman so consecrated as a bishop of such a diocese?"
We appointed a committee to respond to this reference on our behalf.
The Tribunal held a preliminary hearing on 8 July 2005 at which it permitted the Dioceses of Canberra - Goulburn and Sydney to join the proceedings as parties and to make both written and oral submissions in relation to the reference. The Tribunal permitted Anglicare Australia and Equal but Different to make written submissions. The Tribunal also indicated it would accept any written submission made by Forward in Faith or the Rev John Potter.
At the preliminary hearing Anglicare Australia and the Diocese of Canberra - Goulburn indicated they would argue that both questions in the reference should be answered "No". Mr Michael Orpwood QC, representing the Diocese of Sydney, indicated that the Diocese of Sydney would argue that both questions should be answered "Yes". However Mr Orpwood requested that the Tribunal first determine 2 preliminary issues.
Firstly, whether the matter referred to the Tribunal is a "question" within the meaning of the Constitution to which the Tribunal should properly respond. Mr Orpwood would argue that it is not.
Secondly, if the Tribunal determines that the matter referred to it is a proper question, whether the Tribunal should nonetheless decline to answer the question. Mr Orpwood would argue the Tribunal should decline to answer the question on a number of grounds including the fact that the question has already been fully answered by the Tribunal in its 1991 opinion on women's ordination.
The Tribunal has set a timetable to determine these preliminary issues. We have lodged a submission on the first preliminary issue and are awaiting the Tribunal's determination.
A hearing date to determine the questions themselves has also been provisionally set for 19 August 2006.
7.4 General Synod legislation
The 13th General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia met in Fremantle between 2 and 8 October 2004. A separate report is printed about the proceedings of the General Synod. A further report is printed about the canons made at the General Synod, together with ordinances and explanatory statements by which we propose the adoption of or assent to some of these canons.
7.5 Provincial Commissions Ordinance 2002
The Provincial Commissions Ordinance 2002 was passed by the Provincial Synod to formalise the means by which commissions and taskforces of the Provincial Synod are created. By clause 8 of the Provincial Synod Constitution Ordinance 1907, an ordinance made by the Provincial Synod for the order and good government of the Church in the Province is not binding on the Church in any diocese unless and until the ordinance is adopted by ordinance of its synod.
We are concerned that if the Provincial Commissions Ordinance 2002 is adopted by our Synod we will have no control over the composition of commissions constituted under the ordinance or the level of funding that may be required to be paid by way of assessment to support the operation of the commissions. We do not believe that there is a demonstrated need for change at present and that the present informal system should continue until such need arises.
Accordingly we have recommended that the Provincial Commissions Ordinance 2002 not be referred to the Synod for adoption. We have also asked that the synods of the other provincial dioceses be informed of our position.
8.1 14/00 Administration of confirmation by presbyters
By resolution 14/00, the Synod requested that we appoint a committee, to include lay persons and not necessarily to be confined to members of Standing Committee -
Last year the chairman of the committee (Bishop Glenn Davies) provided a preliminary report about progress in the matter. We agreed to allow the committee to report to the 2005 session of Synod.
The committee has now completed its work and a separate report is printed.
We requested that a motion in response to the committee's recommendations be moved at the Synod. We also requested that the report (including the minority opinion in the report) be sent to the Sydney Diocesan Doctrine Commission for it to consider and to report back to us.
8.2 3/02 Training and recruiting teachers for Church Schools
By resolution 3/02, the Synod asked that we investigate the ways in which our church schools are, or are not, seeking to train and recruit Christian teachers. By resolution 4/02, the Synod asked that we complete our task of reviewing and enacting legislation for church schools which are set up by ordinance.
We propose dealing with these matters once a diocesan policy statement on education has been finalised.
8.3 1/03 Review of Church ordinances and abuse matters
By resolution 1/03, the Synod appointed a committee to review the Tribunal Ordinance 1962, the Church Discipline Ordinance 2002 and the Relinquishment of Holy Orders Ordinance 1994 in light of recent experience and the basic principles contained in the proposed national model legislation for dealing with abuse matters, and consistent with biblical teaching. The committee was also asked to prepare any draft amending ordinances for consideration by Synod in 2004.
The committee has provided a report and prepared a bill for the Discipline Ordinance 2005. We requested that the bill be promoted to the Synod and that a motion which would allow for special arrangements for the consideration of the bill be promoted to the Synod. These arrangements provide for consideration of the bill to be adjourned after its introduction at Synod in 2005 and for Synod members and the Professional Standards Board to make comments to the Diocesan Secretary about the bill by 31 March 2006.
The bill and the report of the committee are printed separately.
8.4 2/03 Congregations of other churches joining the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Sydney
By resolution 2/03, the Synod requested that -
By resolution 21/04, the Synod requested that we -
We appointed a committee to consider these resolutions. The committee has prepared an initial report about the way in which resolutions 2/03 and 21/04 might be implemented. This initial report is printed separately.
Following consideration of the initial report, we requested that the committee provide a further report and a bill for an ordinance to give effect to the proposal. A further report and a bill for the Affiliated Churches Ordinance 2005 have been prepared and are printed separately.
8.5 7/03 Protocol regarding inheritances from parishioners
By resolution 7/03, the Synod requested that the regional archdeacons draft a protocol regarding the propriety of clergy, employees of parishes, Diocesan officials, and employees of Diocesan organisations, receiving inheritances from parishioners.
Drafting of the protocol is yet to be finalised.
8.6 25/03 Freemasonry
By resolution 25/03, the Synod, noting the 1988 report to Synod entitled "Freemasonry Examined" and subsequent resolution 9/88 of the Synod -
By that resolution Synod also -
Last year we commissioned the preparation of a draft of a booklet referred to in the resolution for review by the Archbishop prior to production and distribution. The booklet has not yet been finalised.
8.7 26/03 Lay and diaconal administration of Holy Communion
By resolution 26/03 the Synod requested that a bill be brought to the 2004 session which incorporates the recommendations of a committee we appointed to consider the options, consistent with the law, for the practice of lay and diaconal administration. The Synod also requested that a report be brought to that session about the possible consequences of passing an ordinance which authorises diaconal and lay administration and how any adverse consequences in so doing can be avoided.
Last year we decided that, in the circumstances, it would not be appropriate to bring a bill to the Synod to authorise lay and diaconal administration. Instead we decided to promote a motion to Synod to address this matter.
The Synod subsequently referred the motion back to us for further consideration. We are still considering the matter.
8.8 2/04 Stipends and Allowances Committee
By resolution 2/04, the Synod reappointed the Stipends and Allowances Committee and directed that it reports its findings and recommendations to us for action. A report on the work of the committee is printed separately.
8.9 10/04 Amendment to the Synod business rules
By resolution 10/04, the Synod requested that we bring to this session of Synod an ordinance to amend the Conduct of the Business of Synod Ordinance 2000 to provide for a simple mechanism for the President to vacate the chair in cases of personal emergency or conflict.
A bill for the Conduct of the Business of Synod Amendment Ordinance 2005 and an explanatory statement are printed separately.
8.10 13/04 Review of clauses 8 and 15 of the Presentation and Exchange Ordinance 1988
By resolution 13/04, the Synod requested that we review clauses 8 and 15 of the Presentation and Exchange Ordinance 1988 and consider the possibility of amendments which would allow the rector of a parish to voluntarily accept less than the minimum stipend and allowances for an agreed period of time without necessarily compromising the status of the parish under that ordinance.
We have asked the Policy 4 Committee to consider this matter as part of other work they are undertaking in relation to the Presentation and Exchange Ordinance 1988 (see 5.5).
8.11 18/04 Safe Ministry Policy
By resolution 18/04, the Synod -
"The Anglican Church of Australia is committed to the physical, emotional and spiritual welfare and safety of all people, particularly within its own community. To ensure the safety of children and vulnerable people in our communities, the Church will -
A report from the Professional Standards Board in response to the request referred to in paragraph (a) of the above resolution is printed separately. In response to the recommendations of the Board set out in its report, we agreed to promote to Synod at our request a bill for the Safe Ministry Ordinance 2005 together with an accompanying motion.
8.12 19/04 Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care
By resolution 19/04, the Synod -
Anglicare has provided a response to the Senate Standing Committee's report which has been presented to the Board of Anglicare. The response has also been presented to the Archbishop and us for action.
A report outlining Anglicare's response and the action taken to give effect to this response is printed separately.
8.13 29/04 Amendment to the Church Administration Ordinance 1990
By resolution 29/04, the Synod -
We have given effect to Synod's request by passing the Church Administration Amendment Ordinance 2004. This ordinance allows electors at vestry meetings and parish meetings to vote for less than the number of candidates to be elected.
8.14 33/04 The Windsor Report
By resolution 33/04, the Synod noted the publication of The Windsor Report 2004 by the Lambeth Commission on Communion. The Synod thanked the Commission for its work and requested that we give careful consideration to the report and its proposals, in particular the proposed "Anglican Covenant" and advise members of Synod of our views.
We are considering the Windsor Report in the context of broader developments within the Anglican Communion. We will advise Synod of our views in due course.
8.15 35/04 Use of the word "Priest"
By resolution 35/04, the Synod -
Due to the pressing nature of other business, we have not yet considered this matter.
8.16 Resolutions made by the Synod in 2004 and not mentioned in this report
Circulars were sent to parishes and organisations about the matters arising from the 2004 Synod session. Copies of Synod resolutions were sent to appropriate persons and organisations.
8.17 Ordinances for this session
The bills for ordinances for this session of the Synod are printed separately, together with explanatory statements.
For and on behalf of the Standing Committee
28 September 2005
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