The Archdeaconry Synod is a gather of Anglicans representing all of the congregations or "chaplaincies" in France for the Church of England's Diocese in Europe. All licensed clergy and lay readers are ex-officio members of the Synod and chaplaincies representatives in proportion to the number of people on each chaplaincy's "Electoral Role".
For several years now, Synod has taken place near Dinard on the peninsula of Saint Jacut sur la mer, in a former monastery and now conference centre known as the Abbaye de Saint Jacut.
Dani Carew and Valerie Haxton are the Synod Delegates for Saint Paul's Church, Monte-Carlo. Father Walter also attends Synod.
An interesting programme is organised for Synod, usually featuring presentations on a particular theme. This year representatives of the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) lead workshops on the role, diversity, and importance of music in the worship of the Anglican church.
Synod also has matters of business to consider, ranging from approving its own budget and electing the planning or "Standing Committee" for synod itself. This year consideration was given to the question of creating four new postings in the diocese for free-standing regional Archdeacons. This has been a topic of much discussion for the most part in opposition to the idea because of the impact of the potential cost to be born by the individual chaplaincies. An important development was announced at Synod, namely that the Church Commissioners (England) are at the point of approving funding to entirely cover the costs involved in the initiative.
While a tiny minority questiond the need for this layer of middle management in our diocese, many churches -- notably St. John's, Menton -- benefit greatly from the ministry of our own Archdeacon who is the bishop's representative and in the case of Menton, canonically "Priest in charge." Unfortunately, while we all benefit to some extent from the ministry of the Archdeacon, under the current arrangement, the Archdeacon's home chaplaincy bears most of the cost.
After much discussion, the following resolution was adopted by a large majority of the delegates:
The synod of the Archdeaconry of France
supports the Bishop and the Diocesan Synod in principle concerning the
appointment of four free-standing archdeacons, provided that:
a. They be sustainably and externally funded,
b. Further consideration be given to the location of the archdeacons and to their areas of pastoral responsibility with due regard given to the number of chaplaincies in, and size of, the Archdeaconries, and
c. A rigorous, open selection process be put in place to ensure that those appointed are capable of fulfilling the dual roles of pastor and mission enabler.