THE ANGLICAN CHURCH IN BARBADOS
It is an ancient principle of the Church that the fundamental unit of Church organisation is the territorial diocese under the jurisdiction of one Bishop. In the Anglican Communion the authority of diocesan Bishops is not absolute but constitutionally limited, on the one hand by the Canons applicable to the Province and Diocese, and on the other by the equally ancient principle that the Bishop should act after taking counsel with his clergy and people. Synod provides the means for this.
The Diocesan Synod consists of three Houses. In accordance with Provincial Canon II.11, the Diocesan Bishop forms one House; other Bishops and Clergy holding the Bishop's licence form the House of Clergy; and Lay Representatives in good standing, elected by the com-municant members of each Anglican congregation, form the House of Laity. The Chancellor, the Registrar, the Trustees, the Diocesan Secretary and the Diocesan Treasurer (if laymen and communicants) are members ex-officio. The three Houses sit as one body; but a vote by Houses may be called for and is required in certain circumstances. The vote of all three houses must be affirmative in such cases in order to be effective.
The Diocesan Synod, described as the Parliament of the Church, provides a means of consultation and makes decisions affecting the life of the Diocese. For the most part decisions are taken and resolutions adopted by a simple majority vote. However, Synod has certain entrenched provisions in its Constitution and Regulations which are not subject to change by simple majority but require either an affirmative vote of the whole Synod, voting by houses, sometimes by a two-thirds majority of each house of clergy and laity, with the assent of the Bishop.
POWERS OF SYNOD
Among the powers conferred on the Barbados Diocesan Synod by Law are:
Power to make provision for its constitution, and to vary its constitution.
v Power to receive rules, ordinances, Canons and regulations made by the Provincial Synod of the Province of the West Indies.
v Power to make rules, ordi-nances, canons and regulations as it thinks fit for the general manage-ment, discipline and good government of the Church;
v Power to make rules for the settling of its procedure, for the transaction of its business and for all other matters relating to the interests of the Church.
v Power to set up a Pastoral Committee- to advise the Bishop on appointments of the Clergy and to make Regu-lations for resignation or relinquish-ment of office.
v Power to set up Ecclesiastical Tribunals.
v Power to appoint councils, committees and officers to carry out its functions.
Meetings of Synod
Synod generally meets twice each year, with provision for additional meetings if necessary. The Annual General Meeting, which takes place in May, receives the Bishopâ€™s Charge and Reports from Synod Com-mittees and Church organisations. Election to Synod and election of Officers and Committees takes place there every two years. Another meeting is held in December. This meeting is largely concerned with Synod's Budget including Assessments. The Bishop presides over meetings of both Synod and Synod Council. Attendance at Synod is obligatory, and its decisions are binding on the whole Church until they are reviewed.
Synod Council is the Executive of Synod. It exercises the rights and powers of Synod between sessions of the same. The Synod Council advises the Bishop, as he may request, on any matter connected with the administration of the Diocese. It is comprised of Clergy and Lay persons, some of whom are ex-officio and others eleced for a two year term. The Diocesan Trustees are elected for a three year term.
General Governance of the Church
All persons claiming membership of the Anglican Church in Barbados are in duty bound "to submit to all rules and regulations of Church order and discipline passed and declared by its Synodical Authority." In addition to the Canons and regulations of the Diocese, the Provincial Canons (the laws governing all Angli-cans in the Province of the West Indies) are also binding on members.
Part of Synod's work is "Out-reach", because the family of God is concerned with making the Church's message (Gospel = Good News) known and bringing the Christian influence to bear on the various aspects of life in the community of which the Church is part. Synod therefore approves the missionary outreach of the Diocese and any matters related to it.
Barbados Diocesan Trustees
The property of the Church is vested in a corporate body, set up by the Anglican Church Act 1969 (Cap 375) as the Barbados Diocesan Trustees. This body consists of the Bishop, the Archdeacon ex officio, one member of the clergy and five lay persons elected by Synod. The Trustees have responsibility for all property (real or personal, movable or immovable belonging to the Diocese. Thus the Barbados Diocesan Trustees are in fact the only legal owners of all Anglican Church Property in Barbados. They hold it "in trust" and the Act spells out their powers and the extent of the trust imposed upon them. The property vested in the Trustees by law is held by them "upon trust for the provision of a fund for the payment of the stipends of every person who holds an ecclesiastical office and generally for the benefit of the
Church and for the furtherance of public worship." If the Trustees decide to dispose of property which in their opinion is no longer required, then they "may apply the proceeds of the sale or other disposition of the property for the benefit of the Anglican Church generally." The Trustees also have responsibility for the investment of funds of the Church, subject to the approval of the Synod.