Synod 2018: A millennial’s perspective

I have been a member of the Parish Council for almost two years and have really enjoyed seeing the background workings of the church. When it came to preparing for Synod, it was noted that we did not have any reserve Synod Representatives. I was reassured I would not need to do anything so I put my name forward to Carli. Then, unfortunately John Jarvis couldn’t make it…

The Run-up to Synod

As a precaution to John Jarvis not making it to Synod, it was suggested that I attend the Pre-Synod briefing. In the car with Jamie, Suzanne and Alf, I was brought up to speed on what usually happens at these events and once there, I quickly settled into reading the supplied documentation. Archdeacon Julie ran this briefing very effectively and covered all the required topics quickly. Any relief felt from the efficiency was quickly quashed on the drive home, as I was promptly informed that Synods rarely run to time.

John Jarvis was slowly improving and was back in Australind. However, Rev Jamie was keen to have me attend. So I found myself filling out the Synod Representative profile and submitting the required documentation. What followed was the biggest eye opener for Synod 2018: the size of the Diocese. When I first joined St Nicholas I thought the Diocese covered the Australind Minster and the Bunbury Cathedral. The Diocese actually covers all of the Anglican communities from Mandurah down to Albany. Altogether, there were about 16 reports that needed to be read. I won’t bore you with the minutiae here!

Synod 2018

Synod 2018 started at 1pm on Friday at Bunbury Cathedral Grammar in the Chapel. I found myself being snapped up for discussions at any available opportunity. People were keen to see who I was and what I thought about it. I think that this was partly due to me being the youngest there.

Archdeacon Julie ran the Synod with the same punctuality that she drove the Pre-Synod Briefings. By the end of Friday, we had already discussed and passed half of the Saturday agenda items. However, once again on the drive home, my relief from the efficiency was quashed. The most controversial topics were specifically left to Saturday and most of the time gained would be needed.

For me, the evening meal on the Saturday was an opportunity to spend time with the representatives from Donnybrook and their partners. We sat together at the same table and I listened to stories from when they were young and learnt a bit about their lives. During the meal, a certain conversation made it clear of the difference in age. They were talking about their children who I commented were the same age as my parents, which made everyone laugh! It was an enjoyable and enlightening evening.

Listening to the concerns and opinions from, dare I say, the older generation really opened my eyes to the need for younger people to get involved within church. For them to understand the changes that are being made and to hear the reasoning behind it. As young people, we need to voice our approval to those in positions of making changes, and let them know of any concerns when required. As a member of the younger generation who has been getting involved in different aspects of church life, I would like to encourage you to proactively step into where you feel God may be calling you and not just wait until there is a void which desperately needs filling.

Michael Plug

The Anglican Diocese of Bunbury, WA elects a new Bishop

The Anglican Diocese of Bunbury, Western Australia joyfully elected its 10th Bishop of the Diocese during its Election Synod meeting on the 15th-16th June 2018, following a period of searching and discernment from around the country. This news is now being shared around the Diocese.

The Bishop Elect is Rev’d Dr Ian Coutts, who currently works for both Anglicare NSW/ACT and St Marks Theological Centre in the ACT. Rev’d Ian Coutts was ordained Deacon in 1989 and Priest in 1990 in Birmingham, UK.

As an ordained Anglican priest, Ian has served in parishes in Birmingham and on the outskirts of London; he has planted a church and been a priest with Permission To Officiate in London, Oxford, and Canberra & Goulburn Diocese in Australia.

Academically, Ian was awarded an M.Sc and Certificate of Qualification in Social Work (CQSW) from Jesus College Oxon; a Post Graduate Diploma of Theology from St John’s College, Nottingham and a BA (Jt Hons) in Sociology and Education from Warwick University. Ian completed his Ph.D after arriving in Australia on the subject of the Family from a Trinitarian theological perspective. He is also a qualified social worker with particular experience in the fields of child protection and domestic violence.

Ian and his wife Anne emigrated from the UK in 2011 when his wife was offered a school principal’s job in the ACT; and with other family already living in Australia, the decision to emigrate was simple. Ian and Anne are both Australian citizens. Ian and his wife Anne have two daughters and two grandchildren still living in England.

Ian is arguably unique in the Anglican leadership as a senior priest with a strong practice background as a social worker. Ian’s colleagues comment he is a man of profound Christian conviction, moral integrity and professional excellence. The best traditions of theological scholarship inform his thinking and scholarly learning and he is passionate about his commitment to make a positive difference in people’s lives.

Ian’s interests include flying and he has a British pilot’s licence and enjoys recreational flying but does not own his own plane; and swimming, retreats, prayer time and holidays!

The Diocese of Bunbury (and we here at St Nic’s!) is delighted with his election and are looing forward to welcoming him to the Diocese in the coming months.

For further details, please contact the Diocesan Office on 0408 916 129 or 08 9721 2100.

Reproduced with permission. Italicised text added.