Archbishop Glenn Davies, after consultation with the Standing Committee, has decided not to call Synod in October.
Synod is, in effect, the parliament of the Diocese, with more than 600 members – mostly lay and clergy representatives – called together from each parish.
A special Synod in August to elect the next Archbishop had already been cancelled and Archbishop Davies, originally due to retire in July, will now stay on until next March.
“Ordinarily, the first session of the 52nd Synod would have been held in the second and third weeks of October this year,” Dr Davies wrote to Synod members. “However, COVID-19 has made many disruptions to our lives.
“The Government’s restrictions on gathering, under the current Public Health Order, make it not feasible for me to summon the Synod in the next couple of weeks. In consultation with the Standing Committee, I have therefore decided not to summon the first ordinary session of the 52nd Synod in October 2020.”
Diocesan secretary Daniel Glynn reported to the Standing Committee, which meets when Synod is not in session, that extensive research had failed to find a suitable way of holding the Synod under current health restrictions.
Dr Davies will consider calling a one-day session of the Synod later in the year, possibly on a Saturday, but this will depend upon the Public Health restrictions at the time. If such a session does not eventuate in 2020, the Archbishop will call a double meeting early in 2021 with the first ordinary session of the 52nd Synod in April, prior to a special session of Synod to elect a new Archbishop.
“Since my retirement as Archbishop will now take place in March next year, we have set aside the week beginning April 19, 2021 for a special session of the 52nd Synod for the purpose of electing an Archbishop,” he said. “If it is not feasible to hold the first day of the first ordinary session of the 52nd Synod before that week, then Monday, April 19 will become the first day of the first session presided over by Bishop Hayward, as the Administrator. The Election Synod will then be conducted over Tuesday-Friday, April 20-23.”
Dr Davies said the good governance of the Diocese is effectively being undertaken by the Standing Committee, alongside the Archbishop, regional bishops and archdeacons. “However,” he added, “in order that our various boards and councils may continue to operate effectively, the Standing Committee has recommended to me that October 12 be deemed as the first day of the first ordinary session of the 52nd Synod for the purposes of elections.
“These are challenging days for all of us, when our usual routines are disrupted… I pray that we shall all play our part with grace and generosity, as we seek to honour our Government, in order to honour the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:1-2).”