In preparation for the 2023 District Synod, the DCC have been engaging with various groups and individuals towards the 2023 Bishop election.
The District Church Council held 3 consultations with the District over Zoom on the 6th, 11th, and 14th of September.
In total, 64 attendees from almost all congregations attended the sessions, which were held at various times and days. Sessions were hosted by WA District Bishop Mike Fulwood, with District Treasurer Lester Dreckow and DCC Chair Chris Antonini.
There was good engagement across all sessions, many good questions were asked and answered, as well as a broad range of suggestions.
It was clear to the DCC that there were gaps in understanding of the role of bishop in WA and the LCA, and with the current and proposed funding model. It was heard that congregations and pastors need ministry support and that the bishop currently has an important role in providing this across the District. It was acknowledged that there is much for the bishop to do and simultaneously a difficult balance between the funding for the role and broad range of expectations. The majority expressed a low value on administration tasks delegated to the bishop, and reflected the size of the WA District not having any other paid staff in the District Office or Bishop Office.
The DCC has taken on suggestions for the preferred kind of pastor who might take on the bishop role in 2023, and general consensus of majority of attendees to continue pursuing a 0.5 FTE District Bishop role with additional possible 0.5 FTE funding by agreement with congregations for equipping for local ministry to revitalise mission. DCC will bring the the 4 year term, 0.5 FTE WA District Bishop role recommendation to a Synod convention soon, to ensure that the nominations process can continue with good process. In the meantime we are also liaising with LCA Bishop Paul Smith in anticipation of choosing individuals for nomination.
We are also looking beyond the 2023 Bishop election to how we will ensure the longevity of ministry in the District, short and long term funding model, and broader strategy of structure of the LCA. This will be our focus of 2023 and look forward to reporting to the District Synod in 2024/2025, halfway through the initial 4-year Bishop term.
We pray God’s blessing and guiding across all those in ministry in the District, and trust in His provision and grace for His church ✝
Chris Antonini, DCC Chair