Synod in Past Years
1996 Report of the Standing Committee
This report covers actions taken by the Standing Committee since the October 1995 Synod session. The duties of the Standing Committee, under the Standing Committee Ordinance 1897 and numerous other ordinances, include -
More of the duties of the Standing Committee are referred to in item 3.5 of the 7th Handbook.
The Standing Committee meets 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 and Fax (02) 9261 4485). Office hours are 9 am to 5 pm.
1.3 Meetings and Members
Since 11 October 1995, the Standing Committee has met 11 times and a further 2 meetings are anticipated before the Synod meets in October 1996. The members at the date of this report were -
Canon Bryce Wilson retired as a member of the Standing Committee on 20 November 1995 and the vacancy was filled by Archdeacon Diane Nicolios.
Archdeacon Trevor Edwards became a member of the Standing Committee on 5 February 1996 upon his appointment as Archdeacon of South Sydney.
Archdeacon Paul Perini, the Archdeacon for Ordination and Ministry Development, ceased to be a member of the Standing Committee on 5 February 1996 but continues to attend meetings of the Standing Committee by invitation, having the right to speak but not to vote.
Archdeacon Stan Skillicorn's appointment as Registrar was extended to 31 January 1997 and his retirement as a full-time Archdeacon was extended to 28 February 1997. The Archbishop intends to re-engage Archdeacon Skillicorn for 2 days each week as an assistant to the Registrar from 1 March 1997, with a review in 12 months, and he will work mainly on Vision 2001 and the development and administration of the Sexual Misconduct Protocol.
The Archbishop has appointed Canon Peter Smart as Registrar and personal assistant to the Archbishop from 1 February 1997.
1.4 Management and Structure
The work of the Standing Committee is done through individuals, committees and the staff of the Sydney Diocesan Secretariat. The major committees of the Standing Committee are listed in item 3.5 of the 7th Handbook. We are grateful for the people who served on our committees during the year.
1.5 Major Activities Since October 1995
The major activities have been -
1.6 Death of Deaconess Mary Andrews
The Standing Committee was sorry to hear of Mary Andrew's death and has recorded the following minute -
A memorial service was held in the Cathedral on 23 October.
2.1 Actions Under the Extra-Parochial Ordinance 1919 and the School Chapels and Chaplains Ordinance 1975
The Archbishop-in-Council declared as extra-parochial the William Branwhite Clarke College (from 15 September 1996) and the Macarthur Region Anglican Church School (from 31 December 1996). Page 127 of the 1996 Year Book has a list of the buildings, institutions and schools which have been declared extra-parochial under these ordinances.
2.2 Actions under the Parishes Ordinance 1979
The Archbishop declared Regents Park to be an assisted provisional parish for 3 years from 1 February 1996.
The term of the assisted provisional parish of Bossley Park was extended until 31 December 1997 by the Standing Committee.
The terms of the following provisional parishes were extended -
(PARC extended the terms referred to in (c), (d) and (g) and WARC extended the terms referred to in (e) and (f).)
For 1995 the following parishes did not meet the "local revenues" test under clause 8 of the Ordinance.
The parishes of Peakhurst and Mortdale were amalgamated with effect from 1 January 1996 to form the parish of Peakhurst/Mortdale.
2.3 Actions under the Presentation and Exchange Ordinance 1988
Approval was given for 3 parish representatives of Peakhurst/Mortdale to be elected at the Peakhurst annual general meeting and 2 at the Mortdale annual general meeting.
The Archbishop-in-Council was not required to determine any disputes under this Ordinance.
2.4 Actions under the Church Administration Ordinance 1990 and the Church Grounds and Buildings Ordinance 1990
The name of the parish of Regents Park with Birrong was changed to Birrong with effect from 1 January 1996.
The name of the provisional parish of Helensburgh was changed to Helensburgh and Stanwell Park with effect from 9 February 1996.
The constitutions of the parish councils of Peakhurst/Mortdale, Fairfield and Watsons Bay were modified: Peakhurst/Mortdale and Fairfield were also given authority to hold combined annual vestry meetings.
Approval was given for the parish of St Ives to elect its Synod representatives at a combined annual vestry meeting.
3.1 Accounts, Audits and Annual Reports Ordinance 1995
Every organisation of the Synod which manages church trust property must make an annual report to the Synod. These reports include the audited accounts and must be lodged with the Standing Committee by 30 June each year. A few organisations have later reporting dates as a balance date other than 31 December has been approved for them.
There are several reasons for these reporting requirements.
Among the papers to be tabled in the Synod on 28 October will be annual reports and audited accounts for 47 organisations for 1995. The Standing Committee will report on any major problems.
The Annual report and audited accounts of an organisation may be circulated to Synod members: see item 4.3 of the 7th Handbook for the rules which apply. The Council of The King's School claims that the Accounts Ordinance does not apply to the Council. The Legal Committee has been asked for an opinion on this matter.
3.2 Audited Accounts of the Standing Committee
The audited accounts for the Synod Fund and the Sydney Diocesan Secretariat have been printed for the information of Synod members, and those of the Sydney Diocesan Account (a small group of sub-trusts and clearing accounts) will be tabled in the Synod.
3.3 Ordination Training Fund
Bursaries of $356,164 were paid direct to Moore Theological College in 1995 as an offset to the fees of candidates for ordination in our Diocese ($300,775 in 1994).
The terms on which bursaries are paid require that a student who varies his candidature for ordination from Sydney to another diocese or denomination must repay all bursaries received. The Standing Committee has requested that the Diocesan Executive Board, in consultation with the Ordination Training Fund Committee, prepare guidelines for consideration by the Standing Committee to allow for the non-repayment of bursaries paid to a candidate if the candidate varies his candidature to that of another diocese.
3.4 Ordinances Passed Since last Report
The following table shows the numbers of ordinances passed and assented to for the years 1990 to 1995 and for 1996 so far.
A list of the ordinances passed by the Standing Committee since the last report to Synod has been printed with this report and an updated list will be tabled at the Synod session.
Last year it was reported that the Standing Committee had appointed a committee to review the composition of church school councils, some members of which are elected by Synod or appointed by the Sydney Diocesan Secretariat or the St Andrew's Cathedral Chapter, on a range of matters (including size, method of election, mix of members, appointment of chairpersons, limitation on tenure, etc). This Committee is yet to present its final report.
3.5 Ordinance Fees and Large Receipts
The Standing Committee approved the following scale of fees -
The fees for 1997 are based on a 75% recovery of costs, and equate favourably with the cost of briefing solicitors and barristers for an Equity Court hearing, which is an alternative.
3.6 Distributions of Funds Under Ordinances
Several distributions of funds were approved -
Hurlstone Park Sale Ordinance 1983: $13,000 for MADCOM for an English as Second Language Co-ordinator.
Neutral Bay Rectory Sale Ordinance 1989: up to $14,957 for parish purposes.
Vaucluse and Rose Bay (North Bondi) Land Sale Ordinance 1995: application of the balance of certain proceeds of sale as follows -
3.7 Assessment Authorisation Ordinance 1975
Relief from 1995 assessments of up to $3,500 was granted to Harbord for any contributions made to the Superannuation Fund on behalf of the former Acting Curate-in-Charge.
Relief was also granted to the parish of Birrong and the assisted provisional parish of Tregear to the extent of the actual superannuation contribution for 1 assistant minister.
3.8 Arrears of Assessments Payable by Parochial Units
The following table compares the arrears as at 15 August 1994, 31 July 1995 and 31 July 1996.
3.9 St Peter's Hornsby Variation of Trusts and Land Sale Ordinance 1978
This Fund is held upon trust to apply the income as directed by ordinance of the Synod. Appropriations of income feature regularly in diocesan income and expenditure ordinances. A condition at the time the Fund was created was that interest-free loans be made to St Mark's Berowra and St Luke's Hornsby Heights. As at 24 July 1996, the status of these interest-free loans was -
The repayment rate of the loans will be reviewed by 31 December 1996.
3.10 Parramatta '54 Free Fund
This Fund is held upon trust to distribute the income among objects of the Diocese of Sydney determined by the Archbishop-in-Council. A distribution of $7,000 was made this year towards hospitality costs of the 1996 Australian Bishops' Conference ($7,000 for 1995) held at Gilbulla.
3.11 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 Deputy Registrar, and registry staff (including Archives' staff), 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 $40,000 pa in 1995 and 1996 for the Archdeacon of Women's Ministries.
Provision was made to pay grants of up to $40,000 in 1996 ($34,375 in 1995) to the AMC for media services.
3.12 Estate of Late M.A. Grant (Sisters' Endowment)
The Archbishop-in-Council appropriated $60,000 from this Estate for distribution by the Archbishop in assisting clergy, clergy widows and clergy children or orphans who are in need.
3.13 Increases in Borrowing Limits
Increased borrowing limits were approved for 5 organisations.
3.14 Crawford Village Parramatta
Anglican Retirement Villages Diocese of Sydney has now taken control of this project, has made arrangements to pay the Endowment of the See $1.9m and assumed the liabilities of the Village.
3.15 Proposal to amend s.23 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936
On 11 February 1996 the (then) Federal Treasurer, Mr Willis, announced plans to amend section 23 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 so that a charitable trust would lose its income tax exemption if its trust deed allowed distributions to bodies not approved under section 78 of the Act. The intention was to close a "loop-hole" which enabled "wealthy" tax payers to use charitable trusts to avoid Australian income tax. The Standing Committee authorised a letter to the new Federal Treasurer, Mr Costello, which said that while we appreciated the importance of closing tax "loop-holes", we were concerned to ensure that the proposed amendment does not prejudice the income tax exemption of legitimate charitable trusts, in particular trusts for the general or specific purposes of the Anglican Church or any of its agencies. The Standing Committee has asked for the opportunity to comment on draft legislation should the new Government proceed with the amendments.
3.16 Glebe Administration Board
Standing Committee has given the Board authority to invest in futures contracts, subject to guidelines which have been set by the Board in its policy manual and notified to the Standing Committee.
3.17 Jesus Video - Gift to the Nation
The Standing Committee has approved contributions of $12,500 in 1997 and 1998 from Synod Fund Contingencies towards a Life Ministries Campus Crusade for Christ project to provide each home in Australia with a Jesus Video by the year 2000.
The appointment of persons to serve on committees etc, continued to be a major part in the Standing Committee's business.
From October 1995 to July 1996, 53 such positions were filled (65 for the same period last year).
4.2 Employment Policy
The Standing Committee has encouraged the appointment of Christians in the staffing of organisations under ordinances of the Synod and has requested that the Diocesan Secretary suggest a workable protocol to the Standing Committee at a future meeting.
4.3 Gilbulla Outdoor Education and Conference Centres
Since 1994 the future of Gilbulla as a diocesan conference centre has been under review. The accounts for 1995 suggest that Gilbulla is still experiencing financial difficulties. The matter is still under review.
The Standing Committee has received a report reviewing the results of Gilbulla for 1995 and its business plan. Prior to taking any further action, the Standing Committee has established a committee to review the current capacity of all diocesan conference facilities and the overall ministry needs and future strategies for conference facilities in the Diocese. The committee is to be convened and chaired by Mr David Fairfull, the Chief Executive Officer of the Sydney Diocesan Secretariat.
4.4 Parish Counselling Services
Last year we reported that a committee had been established to report on insurance for parish counselling services, with a view to the Standing Committee establishing guidelines and/or making a policy statement for the guidance of the Property Trust and parishes. The committee is yet to report.
4.5 Protocol on Sexual Misconduct by Church Workers
The Standing Committee supports the Archbishop's release of his Protocol on Sexual Misconduct (see items 4.11 to 4.13 of the report on the Synod Appropriations Ordinance 1996). The Archbishop has made it clear that he will keep the protocol under review and the Standing Committee has referred to him any suggestions it has received for the amendment of the protocol.
4.6 The Ministry of Women
A 51-page report to the Archbishop on this matter by Archdeacon Nicolios was released to the Standing Committee on 23 September 1996. The report has 3 headings for its main recommendations.
Archdeacon Nicolios moved the following motion on 23 September-
Amendments were moved but the debate was adjourned due to time limitations. The mover was unable to attend the October meeting and the debate will resume on 18 November.
5.1 1995 General Synod Session
The 10th General Synod was held from 2 to 7 July 1995 in Melbourne. A separate report has been printed on the canons passed by the 10th General Synod.
The 11th General Synod will be held from 14 to 20 February 1998 in Adelaide.
5.2 Provincial Synod Session
The 31st Provincial Synod must be held before February 1999.
5.3 Constitution Ordinance 1994
This ordinance, which revises the 1902 Constitutions, should come into effect in 1998 after the new Constitution has been authorised by a canon of the General Synod.
6.1 Resolutions Passed by the Synod in 1995 and not Mentioned in this Report
Circulars were sent to parishes and organisations about the matters arising from the 1995 Synod session. Copies of Synod resolutions were sent to appropriate persons and organisations.
6.2 29/92, 43/94 Amendment of Section 26 of the 1917 Act
The Archbishop wrote to the Attorney General requesting that the proviso to section 26 of the 1917 Act be amended, in so far as it applies to Sydney, in the manner proposed by resolutions 29/92 and 43/94. The Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn also wrote to the Attorney General requesting that the proviso to section 26 be repealed in so far as the proviso applies to his Diocese. Subsequently the Director General of the Attorney General's Department wrote to the Archbishop for further information, which has been provided. The Attorney General's Department has referred the matter to the Crown Solicitor for advice about any legal impediments or barriers to the requested amendment.
6.3 7/94 Copyright Licences for Parishes
Synod resolution 7/94 was -
In 1994 the Standing Committee reported that discussions were taking place with Christian Copyright Licencing Incorporated ("CCLI") on the development of a diocesan copyright licence.
A proposal was received and further discussions with CCLI are to take place.
6.4 14/94 Retirement Housing for Church Workers
Synod resolution 14/94 asked the Standing Committee to investigate alternative accommodation or remuneration packages that enabled church workers to retire with equity in a residence.
A committee was appointed to investigate the matters raised in the Synod resolution and report to the Standing Committee by 31 March 1996. The committee has not yet reported.
6.5 23/95 Festival '96 with Dr Billy Graham
The Synod gave its support to Festival '96 and, among other things, asked the Standing Committee to consider ways of providing financial and practical support to the organising committee.
As illness prevented Dr Graham from attending, Festival '96 was restructured as a smaller crusade, based on Parramatta Park. The Standing Committee approved a grant of $15,000 to assist in meeting the costs.
6.6 33/95 Standing Committee Meetings
Synod resolution 33/95 encouraged the Standing Committee to hold occasional meetings in different areas of the Diocese.
The Standing Committee has declined to implement this resolution for the following reasons.
Meetings of the Standing Committee normally start at 6 pm. A closing time of 9.30 pm has been set, unless by 9.15 pm the Standing Committee decides on an extension.
6.7 40/95 Anti-Discrimination Acts: Exemptions
Copies of these resolutions were sent to members of Parliament in accordance with the terms of the resolutions.
6.8 46/95 Euthanasia
Copies of this resolution were sent to the members of the Australian and New South Wales Parliaments and the Australian Medical Association in accordance with the terms of the resolution. A large number of replies have been received.
Following the unsuccessful challenge to the Northern Territory legislation in the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory the Standing Committee has agreed to assist the Coalition against Euthanasia in the Northern Territory by -
Last year this was a "State" issue but now it is a "Federal" issue also. The Standing Committee has requested the Social Issues Committee to encourage concerned church members to urge their local members of the Australian Parliament to support legislation to overturn the Northern Territory legislation permitting euthanasia.
6.9 51/95 Parishes Ordinance 1979
Synod Resolution 51/95 referred the matter in item 25 of the report on the bill for the Parishes Ordinance 1979 Amendment Ordinance 1995 to the Standing Committee for report to the next Synod. Item 25 suggested the following solution to the viability of parishes -
The Standing Committee decided not to proceed with this suggested solution.
6.10 Sale of Liquor from Church Trust Property Leased for Commercial Purposes
Under the Church Trust Property (Declaration of Certain Purposes and Objects) Ordinance 1979, the Standing Committee has declared that its policy on the letting of church trust property for or for the use, benefit or purposes of the Anglican Church of Australia in the Diocese of Sydney was that church property must not be used for a number of purposes including -
The Standing Committee received a request from a parish to permit a lessee, using church property as a coffee shop, to apply for a wine licence which will enable wine to be sold with meals. In effect, this means a licence to serve liquor with meals.
Section 18(2) of the Liquor Act 1982 enables the granting of different types of liquor licences: a hotelier's licence, an off-licence, an on-licence and a caterers licence. An on-licence is the most appropriate licence for a restaurant (or coffee shop) as it authorises the sale of liquor for consumption on specified premises. Competition from licenced coffee shops and restaurants etc has made life difficult for the lessees of unlicensed premises, and that is the context in which our policy was queried.
It was submitted to us that most of our church members have no problem with drinking wine with meals, that most of our leading clergy and lay people drink wine with meals as a matter of course, that there has been a major change in the attitudes of evangelicals on this subject over the last generation, and that our present policy has "a faint whiff of hypocrisy about it".
The Standing Committee is willing to change its policy to permit in principle the leasing of church property for the conduct of licensed restaurants so that each parish council may decide whether the policy should apply to property held on trust for that parish. However, before changing the policy, the Standing Committee wishes to give the Synod the opportunity to consider the matter and a motion is being proposed.
6.11 Special Reports
A number of special reports have been printed as supplements to this report: see the Contents pages for details.
6.12 Ordinances for this Session
The drafting and language of bills for ordinances for this session promoted by request of the Standing Committee or Synod has been or will have been examined by members of the Standing Committee's Ordinance Drafting Panel before the Synod meets.
6.13 Corporate Governance Principles
The Standing Committee has asked the Diocesan Executive Board to report on appropriate corporate governance principles for diocesan organisations.
For and on behalf of the Standing Committee
4 February 1997
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