Parishes create new structure out of Cariboo’s ashes

Stephen Muir
Editor, APCI News
Special to

Bishop urges new organization to simplify and ‘keep it light’

Members of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior met for the first time since the demise of the diocese of Cariboo for a constitutive assembly to create a new model for corporate decision-making to replace the old synod structure. The assembly, held June 15 at St. Hilda’s Church in the village of Savona, was attended by 73 delegates representing 17 staffed parishes and several more mission churches scattered throughout a vast but sparsely populated 166,000 km square in the interior of British Columbia.

The meeting was necessary because the diocese of Cariboo ceased to function as of December 31, 2001 as a result of ongoing residential school litigation. Since Jan. 1, 2002, the region has been known as the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (APCI). Archbishop David Crawley, the metropolitan (senior bishop) of British Columbia and Yukon, has assumed the role of bishop for the region.

In a sermon during the opening worship, during which he wore the pectoral cross of Bishop Adams, the first bishop of Cariboo, Archbishop Crawley used the analogy of the church as wagon train to describe the challenges APCI faces. He said if the church is like a wagon train crossing the frontier, then God is the wagon master and Christ is the scout leading the way. He said the temptation of being a pilgrim people lies in wanting to quit traveling and settle down before the journey is complete. It is a temptation the church faces when the movement it is called to be becomes a static institution. APCI, he said, has an opportunity to create a governing structure that can allow for the church to move forward. ìKeep it light,î he said, ìso that in the morning you can pack it all up and put it in the wagons and set off. We have an opportunity to simplify our institutional life.†

The one-day event focused on a proposal for a governance structure prepared last spring by a task group. The proposal calls for an annual assembly of the APCI parishes that will feature a brief business meeting similar to a synod but will focus “on matters of mission and ministry” more educational than business.

The assembly will elect a co-ordinating council to meet regularly during the year to support the work mandated by the annual assembly. That council will be augmented by an administrative committee that will oversee budgets, handle administrative matters and recommend policy. An additional body, already formed, is the Fraser Basin Property Society. This society holds title in trust to all the property of APCI such as parishes and rectories. The administrative committee will provide liaison with the property society.

In addition, the three deaneries have been instructed to form regional councils made up of lay and clergy representatives for the deanery parishes. These councils are to encourage the sharing of resources and program among the deanery parishes.

The new structure will be evaluated by the annual assembly in 2004. The resolutions setting up the new governance structure passed with a minimum of debate.

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