20 April 2022
The Australian General Synod will be livestreamed for the first time to minimise disruption from COVID-19, allowing delegates to participate in the conference virtually if they are isolating.
Organisers say the decision was a response to the COVID-19 situation, which meant synod delegates might have to isolate at the last minute, possibly even going into isolation during the conference.
A seminar-style livestream will also be available to some people who would normally view the conference but not participate.
It comes after the 2021 Melbourne Synod in October was fully livestreamed during a lockdown.
General Synod Standing Committee general secretary Anne Hywood said the livestream would allow isolating delegates to participate fully in synod, from their homes or potentially even their hotel rooms.
Ms Hywood said two livestreams would be available: the one for delegates that allowed them to participate fully, and another viewing-only stream for groups such as media that would normally attend in person.
Read more: In person General Synod set to go ahead
She said the committee had until recently been planning a fully face-to-face event, after several changes during the past year that reflected a changing COVID-19 situation. At various stages a fully online event was planned, while at others a hybrid event.
Ms Hywood said as General Synod neared, it became obvious to organisers that dioceses would have confirmed who their members were, but then might to change them with only a few days’ notice – often without enough time to secure alternates.
She said the technology for livestreaming to delegates had allowed the synod committee to offer a livestream to other people who would normally attend, which might curb the number of people attending in person.
Ms Hywood said information would be provided directly to dioceses about who would be able to register to view the livestreams of the business sessions.
The event will be the first Australian General Synod in five years, after several postponements due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Australian Primate Archbishop Geoffrey Smith has confirmed that the blessing of same-sex marriage will be among the topics discussed. It comes after the Anglican Church’s top legal body the Appellate Tribunal approved a controversial Church blessing for same-sex marriage.
General Synod will run from Sunday 8 May to Friday 13 May.