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Report from the Second Synod of the Diocese of Toliara, November 10-13, 2016

Report from the Second Synod of the Diocese of Toliara, November 10-13, 2016

Overall the Second Diocesan Synod went extremely well.  The main topics under discussion include:

1. Women’s Ordination – There was a unanimous acceptance of women’s ordination, with only two abstentions.

2. New Liturgy – Two new liturgies for Morning Prayer and Holy Communion were accepted as provisional liturgies for the next three years. We will have 400 booklets printed and sold to the members in the Diocese.  The Liturgy Task Force continues to meet to create new music tunes indigenous to southern Madagascar. 

3. Approval of Assistant Bishop – All agreed the need for Bishop Todd to appoint an Assistant Bishop to help assist with the work in this fast-growing and very extensive Diocese.

4. Miaraka Community – Synod approved the idea of beginning the Miaraka Community in the Diocese of Toliara and the Vocational Task Force will draft an initial synopsis discerning the model for the Community to present to the upcoming Task Force meetings in March 2017.

While the Miaraka Community will begin at the Diocesan Headquarters, the ultimate goal is that in addition to this crucial ministry, the Miaraka Community will also run the MRS guesthouse in Anakao.

The Synod approved the initial budget for one or two aspirants to lead the Miaraka Community.  The pay scale is the same as a student evangelist ($30/month.)  Other members will commit to the community and life of the Diocese on a volunteer basis.

Other News from the Diocese:

1. Women’s Center – The hardworking and eager women at the Women’s Center have been very industrious since its dedication on September 4th .  The Center has been named Trano Filongoa (Community Center).

In order to help publicize and market the handicraft and Days for Girls products, Chretienne (assistant coordinator) and the women plan to meet locally with the Minister of Population, the Minister of Health, Local Clinics and the Government hospital, local schools and local NGOs.

Other weekly activities at Trano Filongoa include:

Monday:           Teaching reading and writing by Tantely

Tuesday:          Praying in Color led by the women

Wednesday:      Bible Study with Rev. Patsy

Friday:            Zomba exercise led by Chretienne, Tantely and Rev. Patsy and French classes with Chretienne.

2. Educational Department – Rev. Patsy is now the Chair of the Educational Department and busy working to create systems for the branches of the Department (Mother’s Union, Men’s Group, Youth, Scouts, Sunday School, Diocesan Schools) and the 57 educational scholarships provided by the Diocese of Toliara.

3. Famine Update

This is the second year in a row where parts of the Diocese, mainly in the south (Ambovombe, Amboasary, Ampanihy, Betioky etc.), have been hit by famine once again. It has impacted 850,000 people directly.  Rev. Donne reports that the price of  rice has doubled in Ft. Dauphin over the last two months due to the famine.

More information can be read here.

The Diocese has received $6,500 for famine relief and were able to distribute rice to parts of four parishes, providing rice for over 1,200 people.  USPG is sending £6,000 to help assist with this need.

4. Undesignated donations needed before year end:

Many donations received in recent years have been, quite understandably, designated by the donors for specific projects.  In order to complete those projects as quickly as possible, the Diocese of Toliara has supplemented those donations by using undesignated gifts too.  This has depleted the funds available for other important work, such as training and paying evangelists, helping needy parishes, and the work of other Diocesan staff.

As a result, there is now a considerable need for donors to make undesignated gifts to the Diocese of Toliara accounts at SAMS and CMS, so that the money can be used in whatever way is most needed for the everyday running of the Diocese.