Financial officers meet, learn, go out to serve
Key financial and executive staff from Anglican dioceses across Canada met in Mississauga, Ont. June 10 to 12 to learn, network, and share feedback with General Synod. Through workshops, keynotes, and informal discussions, the 31 participants focused on how to improve their service to dioceses and build community among people in this ministry.
"It was about engaging the financial officers in the work of the Anglican Church in Canada as a whole," said Michèle George, General Synod treasurer. "Essentially, you're taking people out of their silos so they can see what they have in common. They see diverse issues, common issues, and they see that we're all one church."
The meeting was facilitated by Suzanne Lawson, a well-known facilitator in the church and voluntary sector, now on staff with General Synod's Resources for Mission department.
Workshops covered statistics, congregational development, planned giving, information technology, and more. Several participants said they especially appreciated a presentation from Terrance Carter, a lawyer and expert in charity law. Many of the workshops touched on priorities and practices named in General Synod's strategic plan, Vision 2019.
Networking was also highlight for many participants, who attended from dioceses large and small.
"It was an opportunity to connect with the other financial officers and executive officers in our ecclesiastical province," said Rob Dickson, business administrator for the Diocese of New Westminster. "We're geographically spread out and though we communicate by email and phone, it's much easier to connect face to face."
Mr. Dickson serves on a diocesan staff team of 14, where he is responsible for managing financials and property insurance. He also oversees the work of archives and communications. Nationally, he chairs the Financial Management Committee and is a member of the Philanthropy Committee.
Sarah Usher, administrative officer for the Diocese of Yukon, works in a very different context.
"Because I come from a small diocese and because I am, aside from the bishop, the only one in the diocese, I found it very helpful to be able to speak to others who are in similar positions," she said. "It's very different when you have 10 people in your office versus one. It's interesting to hear how others handle what comes along."
The Financial Officers Conference happens approximately once every three years, with frequent participation from diocesan executive officers. Participants strive to keep in touch and offer each other support between meetings. Previously, they have connected by email but after this meeting they plan to also use a social network—LinkedIn—to continue conversations and support their ongoing ministries.