Anglican Communion Alliance - Reflections on General Synod

Reflections on General Synod 2019 in Vancouver

Thanking Volunteers and Supporters!
Thank you so much for the many assurances of prayers and support for our efforts at General Synod.  We know that hundreds of people across the country were praying for us and for the whole Church as we met in Vancouver. 

Our ACA hospitality suite was a great blessing to many delegates. Thank you to Roland and Arlene Stephenson of Calgary who were the most gracious hosts we could have hoped for! 

Visitors to the suite enjoyed Opening and Closing Receptions, continental breakfasts & light snacks throughout the day as well as Morning Prayer, Compline, debriefing sessions and very rich fellowship.

Special thanks to Al Getty, Pilar Gateman, Rob Taylor, Gene Packwood, David Kellett, Bruce Glencross and Gerry Laskey who organized and led the prayer services.  

As you can imagine there were numerous rides needed and we are so thankful for the kindness and generosity of David Kellett (from Holy Trinity, Vancouver) in driving a number of us to and from the airport and train station!

Our display table was also made possible by numerous volunteers taking shifts and graciously sharing our vision with those who passed by.  Thanks to David Kellett, Ian Falconer, Gayle Higginson, Bruce Glencross, Roland Stephenson, Jason Antonio, Siobhan Laskey, Katherine Yeo, Roger Spack for working the display table!  An extra special thank you to Julie Moser (Youth Missioner in the Diocese of Qu'Appelle) who took charge of the display table and also shared her youth ministry materials.

In addition to the times for prayer in the suite, a Prayer Team was also assembled and did regular prayer walks around the cathedral and the site of the meeting.  Thank you to them, and also to Christine Rye (Saskatchewan) who attended the plenary sessions regularly in order to provide a constant intercessory prayer presence.  I know this was a comfort to delegates!

Sunday worship was a highlight as a number of us joined Holy Trinity, Vancouver for their worship service and for a lovely lunch--it was so delicious and it is clear that in addition to their ministry of producing theological and devotional materials, this parish has a flourishing ministry of hospitality!  Holy Trinity, Vancouver and the Rev. Karl Przywala were also a great help in the months leading up to General Synod in terms of planning and organizing volunteers.  Thank you!

Finally, a special thank you to 2 members of the ACA Board--Fr. Ajit John (Diocese of Toronto) and Roger Spack (Montreal)--for sacrificing their time and resources in order to attend General Synod.  Roger's knowledge of the Church and his cheerful support was greatly appreciated, as was Ajit's pastoral wisdom and knowledge of Canon law and procedural matters!  

General Synod 2022 will be held in Calgary and, looking forward, we certainly have a fantastic team of supporters in that diocese!

Turning now to the meetings of General Synod itself, I'm going to share a few links that will provide you with a great deal of information. Most of them focus on the vote on the Marriage Canon and other developments around same-sex marriage. But I would like to say that even in the stress of General Synod and in the midst of intense struggle over the question of same-sex marriage, we also saw some wonderful things happening.  Bp. Mark MacDonald's excellent talk on discipleship; some very moving times of worship; the presentation and vote on Indigenous self-determination; the Gospel Jamboree; a beautiful testimony from a woman who was rescued from sex trafficking--those are some highlights.  Please check out the videos of General Synod in order to watch these. 

At the close of General Synod, we also enjoyed a banquet in the beautiful Vancouver Convention Centre--thanks to the kind couple who paid for tickets for me and for Fr. Ajit!  Here are a few photos from that night.

 With regard to the complex events around same-sex marriage at General Synod, best to start by reading this news story from The Anglican Planet, which outlines some of the main developments. 

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Stephen Andrews (Principal, Wycliffe College) has also written a very good analysis of the vote on the Canon and aftermath.  


One of the concerns expressed during and after General Synod centred on what seemed to some to be General Synod's endorsement of the Chancellor's 2016 Memo (which suggested that since the Canon didn't specifically prohibit same-sex marriage, it was in fact permissible).  In the lead-up to the vote on the Marriage Canon, General Synod passed the Affirmations proposed in COGS' "Word to the Church." Affirmation #2 was especially concerning. But it's important to note that in responding to questions, the Chancellor made clear that GS was not affirming the Memo itself.
"Affirmation #2…notes that it’s the bishops and synods who have authorized liturgies between persons of the same sex; it’s 'the bishops' and synods' understand that the existing Canon does not prohibit same-sex marriage.

That’s their understanding. It’s also my understanding, that’s contained in a Memorandum that was part of the Convening Circular in 2016 and it’s in our material now.

It doesn’t matter, in a certain sense, whether you accept my view or you don’t accept my view. 
Affirmation #2 doesn’t talk about that. It talks about the bishops and synods who have proceeded. They understand that the existing Canon does not prohibit same-sex marriage."

These were very significant comments.  In defending Affirmation #2, the Chancellor himself expressed the limitedness of its force.  ACA has and will continue to dissent from the Memo, and will continue to highlight the dangerous precedent it sets for future deliberations on matters of doctrine.  If you haven't yet read it, check out Fr. Ajit John's piece "The Scope of the Marriage Canon: Against the Chancellor's Memo," one of a series of essays we were pleased to offer in print form at the display booth. 

This point is made clearly in the Joint Vancouver Statement put out by ACA and the Communion Partner bishops following General Synod. We encourage you to send this link to other concerned Anglicans, or to view and share it from our Facebook page


A final note about the legislative process: following the defeat of the change to the Marriage Canon, there were some open expressions of hostility towards the House of Bishops, including to "the 14" that voted against it.  There was tremendous pressure put on these bishops, and this came with particular force on the Indigenous bishops who were assumed to have voted against the change. (The voting record is not yet public.)  Please continue to pray for all bishops of our Church, with a special focus on those who are now being attacked for holding to the traditional position on marriage.  There were also calls for the Church (through COGS) to examine the way it makes decisions.  It was openly stated that we need to find ways to reduce the power of bishops to block moves that find favour in the houses of clergy and laity.  As our Church is episcopal, not congregational, and as our bishops are to be guardians of the faith, this is a serious concern, and is a discussion ACA will monitor in the coming months and years. 

Reflecting on the events of 2 weeks ago, and looking to the future, I sense that in this time of tension, and given the sense of ours being very much a minority position, our work as ACA is more important than ever.  One of the things we try to do is to work within the councils of the Church towards our goal of "deepening Biblical faith in the Anglican Church of Canada."  We are pleased about the composition of COGS for the coming triennium.  Sad to see some folks end their time there, but there are a number of names we're very happy to see on the list

Our goal is to draw people across the country closer together as they seek fellowship and encouragement.  We want to give people a place and a community in which to stand and be faithful.  We also know that as many dioceses across the country have now endorsed "local option," in spite of the Canon remaining unchanged, in some dioceses those who hold the traditional position will come under even more pressure.  We want to be there for those who are experiencing this.  If we can be of support in terms of what's going on at the diocesan level, please let us know!  With support and fellowship being so crucial, we'd like to invite you again to join our monthly cross-country calls (just email to have your name added and to receive invitations to those calls).  And if you are on Facebook, please "like" our page.  You'll see many more links and updates as well as more pictures from General Synod.

May God bless you as you rest in him this summer,
Sharon Dewey Hetke
National Director, Anglican Communion Alliance

Council of General Synod 2019 - 2022

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Province of British Columbia and Yukon

•  Lynne McNaughton Bishop
•  Marnie Peterson  Clergy
•  Ian Alexander  Laity
•  Jody Walker  Laity
•  Dale Drozda  Youth

Province of Canada

•  David Edwards  Bishop
•  Paulette Bugden  Clergy
•  Margaret Jenniex  Laity
•  Ann Cumyn  Laity
•  Scott Potter  Youth

Province of Ontario

•  Andrew Asbil  Bishop
•  Valerie Kerr  Clergy
•  Kim Chadsey  Laity
•  Hugh Mackenzie Laity
•  LydsKeesmat-Walsh  Youth

Province of Rupert’s Land

•  Gregory Kerr-Wilson  Bishop
•  Joey Royal  Bishop
•  Amos Winter  Clergy
•  Freda Lepine  Laity
•  Michael Siebert  Laity
•  Chris Wood  Laity
•  Luke Gobbett  Youth

Anglican Council of Indigenous People 

•  The Rev. Canon Dr. Murray Still
•  Ms. Sheba McKay

Anglican Military Ordinariate

•  Major The Rev. Dennis F G Newhook

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada:  
To be named in September

Thoughts from our Delegates

A letter from Bishop Chris Harper

To our Family in faith, the Diocese of Saskatoon, as we come toward the last day of this General Synod 2019, Vancouver B.C. We, your delegates for the Diocese of Saskatoon, acknowledge that this Synod has been a tiring and trying one. Emotions and passions have taken us to highs and lows, spurring our hearts to respond with Christian love and prayers to our many realities. Long nights and early mornings are the part of the physical reality as well.  

It has been interesting to note the responses within the circle of the Synod as well as those on the outside watching across Canada and beyond. With the legislative process and wording utilized there was no way there would have been a win / win result. This means that it then comes down to our Christian response to our Brothers and Sisters in faith, no matter where they sit or stand on this conversation. It should be noted that we as Christian have failed to witness God’s love to all when we stand firm in our own views. As of late, social media has become the weapon of choice for those that are passionate about one side of the conversation or the other. Certain on line attacks are far from Christian, they certainly do not respect another who has their own context and life. 

General Synod 2019 is yet another example of Christians across this land getting together to express their faith as they practice and witness, and as Christ has opened their hearts. Whilst on this journey of faith we as Christians are not all at the same place in faith and understanding, praise God in this fact, because this shows that the Spirit of God is alive and working in and amongst us. 

What am I coming away from this General Synod with: My dear Lord!!! we are different from each other, made lovingly in the image of God, but different in the song of life and experience we build up, is ours to sing before God Almighty at our end. This song is ours and ours alone, but still part of the great Choir God our Creator has blessed this world with. I personally give thanksgiving to the Almighty, for your song and I personally respect and honor you as you sing your song and presence in our beloved church. The church and the world would be diminished and less without you. 

We need to listen more and speak less, we need to pray more, we need to walk in humility in the love that God almighty exemplified and revealed in Christ to all peoples and nations: to be peace and hope in an embattled world… That the church is not perfect nor perfected. 

Reconciliation is not only an exercise with the Indigenous, but all peoples in God’s creation.

That General Synod is always going to be a challenge to the sensitivities of all of us. To believe that the Spirit of God is leading us should challenge the controlling nature within all of us. The Anglican church has Orders of Faith in our Primate, Metropolitans, Bishops, Chancellors, Archdeacons, Priests, Canons, Deacons, Wardens, Lay Readers, Servers, Ministers of the People, and Laity, all vital parts of the body of the church.

In the imagery of the body, a head is important but is useless without the neck to turn it, the shoulder to support the head and so on…  with all the parts of the body and their function, we as people of faith in our context need to see what your place and function is… 

Yours in Christ,

+ Christopher

A letter from Alexa Wallace

Synod has been a time of extraordinary highs and lows, often in close sequence. Looking over the orders of the day, we have had workshops on respectful conversations, the elation of appointing a new archbishop and electing a new primate, far too many hours spent in meetings, and, of course, a vote which has shown the division in our Church.

The vote on the Amendment to the Marriage Canon is heartbreaking, and was going to be regardless of the decision. There is a harm in taking our diverse Church and placing it to a vote. A vote with only three options – affirm, oppose, or abstain. The nature of the vote necessitates that one side will “win” and the other will “lose,” neglecting the reality that all lose when we force division on our Church.

As a Church, we are divided. As a Synod, we are divided. As your delegates to Synod, and reflective of our Diocese, we are not of one opinion on many questions. But, on all levels, we are committed to remaining together.

Before the vote on the amendment to the Marriage Canon, Synod voted to adopt a set of 5 affirmations. Self-Determination for the Indigenous Church, the Diversity of Understanding on the existing Canon, the Diversity of Understandings and Teachings on Marriage within our Church, a Commitment to Affirm Good Faith amongst all persons and to “hold dear their continued presence in this Church,” and a Commitment to Stand together. They recognize that the Church, as a whole, is not of one mind on this issue, and commit to keeping, or making, space for all.

Our Church – regionally, provincially, and nationally – reflects a diversity of opinions. And there is work happening at Synod, right to the end, to recognize this diversity and strive to keep us in unity. Unity, but not uniformity. Because that is the marker that makes us Anglican. Our ability to include those different than ourselves. Our ability to recognize the Christ in the other and welcome them into our lives. Our ability to be bridge-builders, reaching across the expanse to acquaint those that would otherwise be divided. Our ability to reflect the diversity that makes us the body of Christ.

We need not be of one mind, but we remain one in the body of Christ. To share in fellowship. To join in communion. To show ourselves, our Church, to be the family of God. This, more than any other, has been the work of this Synod. And this is the work we bring home to our Diocese.


Yours in Christ,

Alexa Wallace


A letter from Archdeacon Ken Watts 

Monday, July 15, 2019

So far this General Synod has had its highs and lows.

Let me talk the lows first.

Certainly the failure of the motion to revise the National Marriage Canon (XXI) to pass the second reading was and is personally a real sadness for me. Yet as we, the Saskatoon delegates, met afterwards I was reminded that the Faith we believe in, the relationship each of us has with Christ and therefore with each other, is greater than any single issue.  Christ will lead us through this time and into some place something where we can all see that we are all Christians, reconciled in Christ.

The greater paradox here (not in Christ but in our current circumstances) is that this has changed nothing for the dioceses.  Each diocese continues to be free to either marry or not marry same-sex couples as determined by the diocesan Bishop. And Bishop Chris has continued the policy put in place by Bishop David, that each parish is free to seek permission from the Bishop to conduct same-sex weddings in their churches, but may only do so after receiving permission. This does not require any diocesan clergy to perform same-sex weddings.

Currently, I do not have an answer as to why this approach was taken at the national level of our church.

A couple of highs:

On Friday morning a motion was passed making Bishop Mark MacDonald, the National Anglican Indigenous Bishop, an Archbishop, so that he is now equivalent to the Metropolitans of the Ecclesiastical Provinces. This is in anticipation that one day there will be an Indigenous Ecclesiastical Province in the Anglican Church of Canada.  It was a great moment.

The other great moment took place Saturday afternoon at Christ Church Cathedral (just down the street from where we have been meeting) where we elected the Bishop of Huron, the Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls, as the 14thPrimate of the Anglican Church of Canada, to succeed Fred Hiltz as the Primate of Canada, at of the end of this General Synod. She will also be the first woman elected to lead the Anglican Church of Canada.  Bishop Linda comes with a wealth of experience across our Church and the Anglican Communion.

There is much more that could be shared (reports of a wide range of committees and issues), but the last thing I want to mention here is that General Synod also provides Anglicans from ocean to ocean to ocean to meet and talk and exchange our understandings and experiences of what it means to be an Anglican Christian today.


In Christ,

Ken Watts    

A letter from Dean Scott Pittendrigh

July 18, 2019 - A Letter to the Congregation of The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist from Dean Scott at the completion of the 42nd General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada

My Dear People of God,

Greetings from Vancouver BC, where I just finished attending General Synod as a delegate from the Diocese of Saskatoon, and Sarah was present as an Observer. The Diocese was also represented by Bishop Chris Harper, Archdeacon Ken Watts, Chris Wood, Alexa Wallace and Ruth Skinner. 

Some of you may have been following the events at General Synod on the Anglican Church of Canada website or our own Diocesan website. I will not attempt in this letter to summarize all that has happened since last Wednesday but I do encourage you to update yourselves on some of the very significant decisions that have been made - all links, documents and video are available at

In an historic vote, General Synod decided almost unanimously on Thursday July 12 to approve changes to Canon XXII that enable a self-determining Indigenous church within the Anglican Church of Canada, and to bestow the title of ‘Archbishop’ upon National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald, a position which now ranks among the metropolitans. And in a profoundly moving moment our Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, offered a sincere and humble apology for the spiritual harm the Church inflicted on the indigenous peoples of this country. Members of General Synod rose to their feet upon hearing this apology to join together in sincerely supporting this statement. 

Reporting on this moment, the Anglican Journal stated that “delivering his apology to the gathering of General Synod July 11, Hiltz laid out a confession of the ways the Anglican church demonized, dismissed and actively discouraged traditional Indigenous spiritual practices.

“For such shameful behaviours, I am very sorry. We were so full of our own self-importance. To quote the Book of Common Prayer, we followed ‘too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.’ We were ignorant. We were insensitive. We offended you. And I believe we offended God.” See here for full article:

This apology was accepted by indigenous elders on the closing day of Synod - a very important moment in the long process of healing and reconciliation.  

The first part of Friday contained some very encouraging decisions. General Synod passed - by 85% - a document called “A Word to the Church” and can be found here:

This wide ranging and generous statement, recognizing that many Anglican laity, clergy and bishops have differing understandings and beliefs regarding the sacrament of marriage and who this sacrament can be shared with, seemed to us to have the inclusivity to engage all communities. Please take the time to read this document. 

Given the wide support for this document by the vast majority of those in General Synod, many of us were deeply shocked and saddened when GS failed to pass a resolution amending the marriage canon, which would have allowed for the solemnization of same-sex marriage. A very thorough article describing this day and some possible options as we move forward can be found here:

Saturday at the Eucharist prior to the election of our new Primate: The following is a portion of an article published in the Anglican Journal that does a very good job summarizing part of Bishop Lynne’s sermon:

“In her sermon at Christ Church Cathedral the morning after the marriage canon vote, Bishop Lynne McNaughton described the day’s reading from Ezekiel 34 as “an indictment of shepherds who don’t care for their sheep.” Jesus, she said, views himself as the “good shepherd who came to bind up the broken-hearted, seek the lost, rescue the scattered and the outcast. The good shepherd calls us each by name…. The namer whispers to the broken-hearted, ‘You are precious, honoured and loved.’”

“How do we hear this?” she asked. “How do we hear this as we get up after an agonizing night at General Synod when we move from the high of yesterday morning moving to the Indigenous self-determination, through the afternoon of making affirmations of how we can live well in our diversity, to the excruciating pain of last night’s close vote?”

McNaughton moved onto the subject of bishops, a relevant topic for many upset about the vote results. While the Order of Laity and Order of Clergy both saw the required two-thirds majority in favour of the marriage canon amendment, the Order of Bishops did not meet that threshold.

“Church leaders have taken on the pastoral metaphor from scripture that pastors and bishops are shepherds…. There’s a danger when human beings take on this metaphor and forget that Jesus is the good shepherd,” McNaughton said. 

As this article was being written, the House of Bishops had met together at General Synod and were reportedly preparing a joint statement on the marriage canon vote.”  (End of AJ article)

Please see their statement here:

Speaking for myself, I was deeply aware that on Friday night many of us at General Synod were struggling.  We were struggling with a Church who says, “All are welcome…..but...”. “All are welcome but...if you are part of the LGBTQ2S+ you are not fully welcome.’” This part of the Church community that is asking to be fully and pastorally welcomed, ought to have rightful access to all the sacraments of the church and this includes the Sacrament of Marriage.  That’s what full inclusion means!  Many of the members of Synod were in deep pain because of the conversations held on that day.  The announcement of the results left many Synod members in shock.  Many were hurt and disillusioned by the failure of Synod to pass the motion to amend the Marriage Canon.  I was one of those persons.  Many of us were frustrated that the motion passed with strong majorities in the Orders of Laity and Clergy, but not in the Order of Bishops - they were short three votes. When the resolution did not receive the required two-thirds votes in the Order of Bishops some people among us—many of them our younger Synod delegates—left the room in tears.  “Our children are crying” said our Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, as he asked us to be mindful of the immense hurt and pain in the room that night. 

But as Archbishop Fred Hiltz said two days later in his sermon at Christ Church Cathedral, “We are not finished yet!” and asked for prayers to find a way to make provisions to allow same-sex marriage so that we can continue as one church and make room for one another across our differences, and that we can accommodate the diversity in people’s understanding of marriage.  

Several clergy responded with a statement of our own in the following—and I was one of the signatories to this statement:

A Statement from Clergy and Lay Delegates of General Synod 2019

July 15, 2019.

The clergy and lay delegates of General Synod 2019 have by overwhelming majorities voted in favour of the proposed change to the marriage canon to explicitly permit same sex marriage (Resolution A52-R2) and the affirmations of “A Word to the Church” (Resolution A101-R1).  We are saddened and dismayed that the change to the marriage canon was blocked by the vote in the order of bishops, though we are heartened that a strong majority of bishops (62%) voted in favour.

Therefore we affirm:

1. The full inclusion of LGBTQ2S+ people in the life, leadership, liturgies and sacraments, including marriage, of the Anglican Church of Canada

2. That in accordance with the affirmations found in “A Word to the Church”, same sex marriage can and will proceed by local option.

3. That we regret and lament the hurt and harm that has been caused by the actions of this Synod and by our church to LGBTQ2S+ people.  We apologize, and call on our Church to end the harm. (End of statement)

In our own diocese we were given a local option by Bishop David Irving to marry same sex couples after consulting with the bishop and it is my hope that this “local option” will continue in the future. As the Cathedral of our diocese I want our community to be a welcoming, safe and inclusive place for ALL of God’s children. 

But I don’t want to leave the impression that this was the only issue discussed during our week together. On Saturday following the morning Eucharist where we heard Bishop Lynne’s sermon we gathered to elect our next Primate. 

Linda Nicholls, bishop of the diocese of Huron, was elected fourteenth primate of the Anglican Church of Canada on July 13, becoming the first woman in the history of the Anglican Church of Canada and the second woman ever to hold the office of Primate.

“You have bestowed on me an honour that I can hardly imagine, and it is terrifying. But it is also a gift, to be able to walk with the whole of the Anglican Church of Canada from coast to coast to coast,” Nicholls said in a brief impromptu speech on her arrival, after the vote at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, where the election was held. For the full article from the Anglican Journal please visit:

I believe we have been blessed in past years with a wise, loving, gentle and strong Primate in Archbishop Hiltz and as a Cathedral community we will continue to pray for Archbishop Nicholls in the years to come. 

There are so many other important statements and decisions that were made during our 7 days together—more than can be included here. But I did want to be in touch with you all to assure you that as a community of faith we will continue to be the eyes, ears, hands and feet of Christ in our world—in the heart of Saskatoon—at St. John’s Cathedral. Slowly but surely, God’s transformative Love is shaping us into being the loving, generous and gracious people we were created to be. 

May this God continue to bless you all,

Dean Scott Pittendrigh 

A Statement from the Indigenous Elders

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We the Indigenous Elders of General Synod 2019, humbly receive the Apology for Spiritual Harm containing the Church’s commitments for spiritual healing. We commit to conveying Your Grace’s loving and thoughtful words to the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP) for its consideration and sharing with our communities.

Let us say first of all, that we know the Church understands that healing and forgiveness is so deeply personal, and is usually a journey, a process, not a single act.  We cannot speak for those who were spiritually harmed by the Church’s approach to colonization. Each individual and each community across this vast land has had different experiences and is at different stages in the healing process.

But we the Elders of General Synod 2019 believe that your words of apology will support this healing process. We understand and respect the deep meaning of this Apology and the commitment and honour with which it was made.  Those of us who have had the pleasure to work with and to know Your Grace, appreciate beyond what words can convey, that you have heard and understood us.  We are touched to the depths of our souls by your words and commitments.

We must clarify, however, that no single statement of ‘acceptance’ is possible on behalf of Indigenous peoples in this land. We respect the right for each individual to ponder your words and we hope that those who are at the stage of their healing to accept and forgive, will do so in the privacy of their homes and communities. Trauma can easily be reignited by simple cues in day-to-day life.  Anger, despair, hurt and humiliation can easily reappear, often without warning, even when one has embraced forgiveness.  But we sincerely hope that your words will provide comfort, and help convey God’s grace and love to those affected by spiritual harm and by the Church’s role in creating this harm.

For its part, we are sure that ACIP will want to share this good news document that embraces what God created us to be.  ACIP can be a bridge in disseminating this document within our Indigenous Nations, and sharing the love with which it was delivered.

This is an historic week in the life and future of our Church.  We did it together!  We are partners in change. It was our finest moment as a Church.  As a fully recognized self-determining people within the Anglican Church of Canada, the Apology is timely in reinforcing that the Church is walking side-by-side with us as we continue our spiritual journey for healing.

We now ask that the Council of General Synod and the House of Bishops continue in your commitment to our journey of spiritual renewal, and to being “champions of change”. We need you to strengthen your partnership with our Indigenous Archbishop. We must move forward together to demonstrate that restoration of our spiritual practices to their rightful and proper place in the Church can only strengthen Anglican discipleship across Canada.

We want to share a reflection by Grace Delaney, one of our Elders, on the personal depth and the meaning of your words of Apology:

“First, I just wanted to crawl into bed and cry myself to sleep. I wanted to cry for those who have passed on who have not had the opportunity to hear the Primate’s beautiful words of Apology for spiritual harm.  I wish that they had known that their pain was not in vain.  Though they rest in peace and are in perpetual Light, I can't help but rejoice for them too.  

There have been many, including Indigenous people, who have responded to the call to carry the Word of our Creator, and have worked hard to spread the Gospel among our people. There are those among our people who, though Christian, completely reject their own values and systems of their traditional heritage. And there are those with courage who have stood and are standing up openly in the face of criticism and anger.  They have beheld the yearning of our Saviour's heart: our previous Primate, Michael Peers, our current Primate, Fred Hiltz, and many others across this temporary earthly home of ours, defend their belief in justice and reconciliation. 

Across this land many have felt remorse and even shame, and have chosen to change the tides of the former norms of our Church.  Now our Primate takes a step, to reiterate in word, the thoughts of hearts - an apology that can help build bridges and help us be the way our Creator has intended for each of His diverse People.  Each Nation can now be true to the way Creator/God intended and fulfill their true destiny. They do not have to choose between their God and their culture. I feel such strength and release in the words of our Primate's Apology.  It couldn't have come at a better time. Many of our people, young and old, have not found their identity and are caught in a chaotic state, not being able to figure out the real "me".  I truly believe that if our Creator made us different in colour, in customs and cultures, then there really is a purpose and reason for each one of us both diverse and collective, to see one another in the image of our Triune Creator.  

This is a moment to recognize that the courage that has been displayed in this apology has come from One greater, stronger and more powerful than our Primate.  There have been great Orators throughout the history of humanity, and we were given Fred Hiltz.  In part of our Gospel reading for July seventh, Luke 10:17-21a, the seventy-two returned with joy, and said, "Lord even the demons submit to us in your name".  Our Lord responds, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven".  “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.  However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth..."  

Luke 10:17-21a

It is in that same Holy Spirit that I thank you Your Grace. Thank for listening…all my relations. 

We thank you for your courage, for your eloquent Apology and for truly listening to the compassion of our Lord's heart to accept us as your brothers and sisters with love.  In our Creator's love, and peace we welcome your words of Apology. Thank you.  May our Creator/God be always with us.

Our Delegates

Missing from these photographs is Chris Wood who has been sick. Photographs courtesy of Tracy Harper.

Bishop Chris Harper, Ruth Skinner, Archdeacon Ken Watts, delegates at GS2019

Bishop Chris Harper, Ruth Skinner, Archdeacon Ken Watts, delegates at GS2019

Dean Scott Pittendrigh, Bishop Chris Harper, Archdeacon Ken Watts and Alexa Wallace, delegates at GS2019.

Dean Scott Pittendrigh, Bishop Chris Harper, Archdeacon Ken Watts and Alexa Wallace, delegates at GS2019.

Full Video Coverage of General Synod including Highlights

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Location: Home » At Synod » Video highlights

The following are a growing selections of video highlights from General Synod 2019.

The following is a full set of videos of all plenary sessions of General Synod 2019 along with some highlights.

Wednesday, July 10

Thursday, July 11

Friday, July 12

Saturday, July 13

Sunday, July 14

Monday, July 15

Tuesday, July 16

A Message from the Prolocutor and Deputy Prolocutor

As Prolocutor and Deputy Prolocutor we address this Synod.

On behalf of the orders of laity and clergy, we express our appreciation to the order of bishops for their message to us.

We have heard and felt and acknowledge the pain, hurt and anguish of many people in this General Synod and beyond, particularly in the LGBTQ2S+ community, their families and friends.

We celebrate the strong support of the affirmations that we adopted at this Synod, affirmations which commit this Church to inclusivity and mutual respect. We recall that the affirmations are entitled:

Indigenous Spiritual Self-determination; Diverse Understandings of the Existing Canon; Diverse Understandings and Teachings; Our Commitment to Presume Good Faith; Our Commitment to Stand Together.

We also strongly endorse the proposed actions of this Synod calling for work, in the next triennium, on our governance structures, size and composition of Synod, and planning for the future. We acknowledge that it is not only ‘what’ we do at Synod but, equally important, ‘how’ we do our work, and we confess and lament that some of the ways in which we deliberated in this session of Synod caused alienation and hurt. We look forward, therefore, to reviewing these matters before our 43rd General Synod.

We pray for God’s grace and the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit as we move forward, as we work toward living fully into these commitments.

A Message from the House of Bishops

We, members of the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, see the pain and anguish inflicted on LGBTQ2S+ people, on members of the General Synod, across the Church, and in the world, as a result of the work and the vote on the matter of Canon 21, concerning marriage. We see your tears, we hear your cries, and we weep with you. We have caused deep hurt. We are profoundly sorry.

Although the bishops are not of one mind, we look with hope to the “Word to the Church” and its affirmations which General Synod 2019 overwhelmingly approved on Friday, July 12.

We are walking together in a way which leaves room for individual dioceses and jurisdictions of our church to proceed with same-sex marriage according to their contexts and convictions, sometimes described as “local option.”

Together, we affirm the inherent right of Indigenous peoples and communities to spiritual self-determination in their discernment and decisions in all matters.

Although we as bishops are not able to agree, in the name of Jesus Christ, we commit to conduct ourselves “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3).

Resolution Number A204 – Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

Subject: Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

Moved By: The Most Rev. Anne Germond
Seconded By: The Ven. Robert Camara

Be it resolved that this General Synod:  

  1. Condemn the ongoing practices of human trafficking and modern slavery and commit to working for their elimination in Canada and globally;

  2. Urge the Anglican Church of Canada to constructively engage all levels of government on relevant policy areas to combat human trafficking, slavery and enforced migration;

  3. Urge the Anglican Church of Canada to develop, promote and disseminate liturgical, theological and educational materials related to combatting human trafficking, slavery and enforced migration;

  4. Urge dioceses and Ecclesiastical Provinces to continue building relationships with local and regional networks combatting human trafficking, slavery and exploitation;

  5. Urge the Anglican Church of Canada to maintain and support a national network of Canadian Anglicans engaged in this work and to liaise with relevant ecumenical, interfaith and Communion bodies.

Source: Public Witness for Social and Ecological Justice Coordinating Committee and Partners in Mission Coordinating Committee  

Submitted By: Public Witness for Social and Ecological Justice Coordinating Committee                 

Does this motion contain within it any financial implications?      Yes     No

If yes, has the General Synod Expenditures Committee considered the implications?   Yes    No


Canada is a source, transfer and destination country in the trafficking of human beings where the two main forms of trafficking are for sexual exploitation and enforced labour. The average age of female victims for sexual exploitation is 13.5 years. Poor urban children and teens, especially girls, and Indigenous women and girls are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking. The overwhelming majority of people trafficked in Canada are born in Canada.

Since June 2017 the Global Relations and Public Witness for Social and Ecological Justice have actively engaged Anglicans across Canada in order to enhance local capacity to take action on the issue of human trafficking and modern slavery. Three regional events have been held, with a fourth event planned for April 2019. These gatherings have brought together the expertise of people with lived experience, service providers, and advocacy organizations to offer in-depth learning on these issues and how local communities can respond. Participants in these gatherings have, in turn, developed local educational events, submitted articles to their diocesan papers, established relationships with local agencies working in this area, and brought motions to diocesan and provincial synods. Seeds continue to be planted for ongoing work in this area.


In the normal course, an ordinary motion must be passed by a majority of the members of General Synod present and voting together. Six members of General Synod may, prior to the question being put, require a vote by Orders, with a majority of each Order being necessary to pass. 

If a question passes on a Vote by Orders, any six members (two from each of three different dioceses) may immediately before the next item of business require a vote to be taken by dioceses. A motion passes if a majority (or a tie) of dioceses vote in favour. 

Source: Sections 4 and 5 of the Declaration of Principles and sections 18, 19 and 20 of the Rules of Order and Procedure.

This motion was carried with a 100% majority.

A new Council of General Synod for 2019 - 2022 has been elected.

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Province of British Columbia and Yukon

•  Lynne McNaughton Bishop
•  Marnie Peterson  Clergy
•  Ian Alexander  Laity
•  Jody Walker  Laity
•  Dale Drozda  Youth

Province of Canada

•  David Edwards  Bishop
•  Paulette Bugden  Clergy
•  Margaret Jenniex  Laity
•  Ann Cumyn  Laity
•  Scott Potter  Youth

Province of Ontario

•  Andrew Asbil  Bishop
•  Valerie Kerr  Clergy
•  Kim Chadsey  Laity
•  Hugh McKenzie  Laity
•  LydsKeesmat-Walsh  Youth

Province of Rupert’s Land

•  Gregory Kerr-Wilson  Bishop
•  Joey Royal  Bishop
•  Amos Winter  Clergy
•  Freda Lepine  Laity
•  Michael Siebert  Laity
•  Chris Wood  Laity
•  Luke Gobbett  Youth

Anglican Council of Indigenous People 

•  The Rev. Canon Dr. Murray Still
•  Ms. Sheba McKay

Anglican Military Ordinariate

•  Major The Rev. Dennis F G Newhook

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada:  
To be named in September

Election of a Primate - BALLOT RESULTS


The Rt. Rev. Jane Alexander
LAY: 39 35.8% CLERGY: 24 28.9%

The Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls
LAY: 70 64.2% CLERGY: 59 71.1%

The Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls is elected the 14th Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada

Results of the third ballot for Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada

The Rt. Rev. Jane Alexander
LAY: 40 36.4% CLERGY: 16 19.1%

The Most Rev. Gregory Kerr-Wilson
LAY: 17 15.5% CLERGY: 19 22.6%

The Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls
LAY: 53 48.1% CLERGY: 49 58.3%

A motion, from the house of laity, to request more candidates from the House of Bishops was moved, seconded and defeated.

Results of the second ballot for Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada

The Rt. Rev. Jane Alexander
LAY: 36 33% CLERGY: 21 25%

The Most Rev. Ron Cutler
LAY: 6 5.5% CLERGY: 0 0

The Most Rev. Gregory Kerr-Wilson
LAY: 19 17.4% CLERGY: 21 25%

The Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls
LAY: 43 39.5% CLERGY: 38 45.2%

The Rt. Rev Michael Oulton
LAY: 5 4.6% CLERGY: 4 4.8%

The Rt. Rev. Jane Alexander, The Most Rev. Gregory Kerr-Wilson and The Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls will continue to the Third Ballot

Results of the first ballot for Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada

The Rt. Rev. Jane Alexander LAY: 34 30.9% CLERGY: 20 23.8%

The Most Rev. Ron Cutler LAY: 9 8.2% CLERGY: 0 0%

The Most Rev. Gregory Kerr-Wilson LAY: 20 18.2% CLERGY: 22 26.2%

The Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls LAY: 35 31.8% CLERGY: 33 39.3%

The Rt. Rev Michael Oulton LAY: 12 10.9% CLERGY: 9 10.7%

Election of a New Primate

The Electoral Synod begins. There are 5 candidates. All bishops have returned to the hotel. Elections are completed when one candidate receives a majority of votes in both the House of Clergy and House of Laity. Once a new Primate has been elected she/he and all bishops will return to the Cathedral to join the community.

Photograph and text courtesy of Sarah Donnelly.

Sunday Eucharist at General Synod

Photograph courtesy of Sarah Donnelly.

Photograph courtesy of Sarah Donnelly.

Electoral Eucharist - July 13 Photograph courtesy of Sarah Donnelly.

The retiring Primate now entrusts the Primatial Cross to the Prolocutor of General Synod, who receives it for safekeeping on behalf of the People until the installation of the new Primate. Photograph courtesy of Sarah Donnelly.

An honour song is offered by William and Diane Champagne and sweet grass is offered. Photograph courtesy of Sarah Donnelly.

The Electoral Synod begins. There are 5 candidates. All bishops have returned to the hotel. Elections are completed when one candidate receives a majority of votes in both the House of Clergy and House of Laity. Once a new Primate has been elected she/he and all bishops will return to the Cathedral to join the community. Photograph courtesy of Sarah Donnelly.

Marriage canon amendment fails to pass at General Synod - from Anglican Journal

BY MATT GARDNER - July 13, 2019

Primate Fred Hiltz and officers of General Synod share a tense moment of silence before results are revealed. Photo: Matthew Townsend

Primate Fred Hiltz and officers of General Synod share a tense moment of silence before results are revealed. Photo: Matthew Townsend

The Anglican Church of Canada will maintain its traditional definition of marriage after a vote to amend the marriage canon failed to pass at General Synod 2019.

The 42nd General Synod voted against Resolution A052-R2, which would have amended the marriage canon to allow for same-sex marriage, after the resolution failed to pass by a two-thirds majority in all three orders. While two-thirds of the Order of Laity (80.9%) and Order of Clergy (73.2%) voted in favour, less than the required two-thirds (62.2%) voted in favour of the resolution in the Order of Bishops.

Photo: Matthew Townsend

The final results of the vote, which took place on the evening of July 12 at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, were as follows: The Order of Laity saw 89 members (80.9%) vote Yes and 21 members (19.1%) vote No, with one abstention. The Order of Clergy had 60 members (73.2%) voting Yes, 22 members (26.8%) voting No, and two abstentions. In the Order of Bishops, 23 members (62.2%) voted Yes and 14 members (37.8%) voted No, with two abstentions.

The announcement of the result left many synod members visibly in shock. A scream could be heard. Many members began crying, and one young delegate ran out of the room in tears.

General Synod’s rules of procedure may leave room for the subject of same-sex marriage to return to the floor. Questions about ways to vote again on the matter, as well as memories of General Synod 2016’s changing vote count, suggest the topic may not be closed until General Synod concludes its business on July 16.

For example, some delegates approached the microphone and asked about potential methods by which General Synod could reconsider a vote, to which Chancellor David Jones responded. But Archbishop and Primate Fred Hiltz pointedly drew the night to a close.

“Friends, notwithstanding that there are more people coming to microphones, I am just so conscious of pain in this place,” the Primate said.

Acknowledging the observation of a member of synod, he noted, “Our children are crying. And many of you are crying, for a variety of reasons. So I think it’s time to adjourn. It’s time to leave this hall in silence. It’s time for you to go and do what you need to do—to cry, or to gather with delegates from your own diocese; to gather with friends, to gather in circles of prayer, just to try and be attentive to one another.

“If there are proposals for revisiting the matter, there are provisions for how to deal with that,” he added. “If there are proposals for other resolutions on the same matter, there are provisions for how to deal with that. But it needs to be at another moment in this synod.”

Resolution A052-R2 to amend the marriage canon, as put forward at General Synod 2019, served as the second reading for the amendment following a first reading at General Synod 2016. The resolution declared that Canon XXI, On Marriage in the Church, “applies to all persons who are duly qualified by civil law to enter into marriage.” It would have changed the wording of the canon to replace all references to “man and woman” and “husband and wife” with “the parties to the marriage.”

The amended marriage canon, based on the resolution, would also have stated that “a minister may only solemnize a marriage between persons of the same sex if authorized by the diocesan bishop.”

Earlier in the day, General Synod members voted to amend the original Resolution A052 to add two paragraphs to the preface of Canon XXI. The first stated that “faithful members of the Anglican Church of Canada have different understandings and teachings about the nature of marriage,” and that Anglicans are entitled to hold different views provided they “recognize and respect” that others may, with integrity, hold different views.

The second paragraph stated that General Synod “recognizes that Indigenous communities have particular understandings about the nature of marriage as well as their own ways of making decisions,” and that Indigenous people “will continue to discern whether same-sex marriage would be acceptable in their communities.”

A motion to divide this amendment and vote on each paragraph separately failed to pass, with 153 members (66.8%) voting No, 76 members (33.2%) voting Yes, and three abstaining. The original motion to amend Resolution A052 with both paragraphs subsequently carried, with 206 voting Yes (89.6%), 24 voting No (10.4%), and two members abstaining.

Another resolution passed during the afternoon, Resolution A101-R1, that adopted the affirmations in the document A Word to the Church concerning the amendments to Canon XXI on marriage. General Synod voted strongly in favour of this motion, with 196 members voting Yes (84.85%), 35 members voting No (15.15%), and two abstentions.

According to Resolution A101-R1, General Synod “affirms the right of Indigenous people and communities to spiritual self-determination” in their decisions regarding same-sex marriage; affirms that bishops and synods in the Anglican Church of Canada hold diverse understandings of the existing marriage canon; and affirms that there is a diversity of understandings and teachings about marriage within the church, and that these are held with “prayerful integrity.”

The resolution also affirms the commitment of the General Synod to presume good faith among those who hold diverse understandings and teachings. Finally, it affirms the commitment of the General Synod to walk together and preserve communion with each other, in Christ, within the church and the Anglican Communion, and with ecumenical partners.