REQUEST FOR GENERAL SYNOD 2019 PREPARATIONS AND DISCUSSION

The Road to General Synod - a video talk with Primate Fred Hiltz

A video shared by Bishop John Watton (Diocese of Central Newfoundland) from last week's visit of the Primate in the Diocese. Archbishop Fred Hiltz talks about the Road to General Synod, Indigenous Peoples, human trafficking, environment, eliciting a new Primate, and the marriage canon.
Click here for video

The Article “A Word to the Church” is mentioned in this video - to refresh your memory click here.

Our Delegates

Our Delegates are Bishop Chris Harper, Archdeacon Ken Watts, Dean Scott Pittendrigh, Ruth Skinner and Chris Wood.

Our Delegates are Bishop Chris Harper, Archdeacon Ken Watts, Dean Scott Pittendrigh, Ruth Skinner and Chris Wood.

Prayer for Synod delegates:

Lord, you have called us by name and given us gifts to love and serve in
your Name. We ask you to be present with all delegates to General Synod.
Direct, govern and guide them by your Holy Spirit as they seek to fulfill
your holy will in all things. Give them the mind of Christ, who loved us
and gave himself for us. Amen.  

Prayer for synod delegates written by The Rev. Amy Bunce

Highlights from the Council of General Synod: March 17, 2019

Photograph from the Anglican Church of Canada

Photograph from the Anglican Church of Canada

Highlights from the Council of General Synod: March 17, 2019

BY GENERAL SYNOD COMMUNICATIONS ON MARCH 18, 2019

Council members gathered after breakfast at 8:45 a.m. at the Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre in Mississauga.

  • Orders of the Day

    Dr. Karen Egan and the Very Rev. Peter Wall, co-chairs of the Planning and Agenda Team, read out the Orders of the Day.

    Sessional Committees

    Ms. Cynthia Haines-Turner, prolocutor, presented the proposed list of members for sessional committees of General Synod. The list read as follows:

    • Agenda Committee: Peter Wall (chair), Ian Alexander, Derrick Bishop, Terry Caines, Mel Malton, Alison Falby, Dennis Newhook

    • Certification of Minutes Committee: General Secretary, Prolocutor, Alan Perry (crossover member), Honorary Clerical and Lay secretaries

    • Credentials Committee: General Secretary, Deputy Prolocutor, Clare Burns

    • Nominating Committee: Canada: Bruce Myers, Karen Egan (Chair), Larry Renouf; Ontario: Anne Germond, Bill Mous, Haroldine Neil Burchert; Rupert’s Land: Bill Cliff, Murray Still, Sheila Vanderputten; BC & Yukon: Lynne McNaughton, Sarah Usher, Catherine Pate

    A motion to appoint the proposed members was adopted by consensus.

    Results of Email Ballot: General Synod Archivist

    Haines-Turner also reported the results of the e-ballot on the Primate’s nomination of Ms. Laurel Parson as the Archivist of General Synod. Under Canon V, the Council of General Synod (CoGS) must appoint the Archivist. An email ballot was distributed on Feb. 14, 2019 and voting closed on Feb. 22 at 12 p.m.

    The results of the ballot were 18 votes in support of the Primate’s nomination of Parson for the position of Archivist, General Synod.

    All Parties Lessons Learned

    Ms. Melanie Delva, national reconciliation animator, presented the report One Step on a Journey: The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and the Anglican Church of Canada—Lessons Learned, an exercise to reflect on the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was only one of many different aspects of that agreement, which also included the Common Experience Payment and the Independent Assessment Process. Delva noted that the world was watching the results of the Canadian agreement, which was different from many other agreements around the world related to truth and reconciliation. In South Africa, for example, the agreement included a provision giving amnesty to perpetrators who came forward.

    The summary report on All Parties Lessons Learned that was being presented to CoGS was also submitted to the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP), the Vision Keepers Council, the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice, and the Anglican Church of Canada leadership team, and would also be submitted to the next meeting of the House of Bishops.

    Of the contents of the report, Delva noted, “This process was hard … Some of the things I learned were hard.” These lessons, she added, would influence the way she performed her work as reconciliation animator going forward, and she implored council members to read the report. She pointed to the need for the church to do both internal work, in terms of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Anglicans, but also external work, in the form of reconciliation with Indigenous communities who are not connected to the church. She urged members to talk to their bishops about—or if they were bishops, to consider—how their dioceses might carry out the actions laid out in the section of the report “Doing Things Differently.”

    A motion to adopt the report was amended to clarify that CoGS was commending to General Synod, before being adopted by consensus.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved that:

    This Council of General Synod acknowledge receipt of the report One Step on a Journey: The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and the Anglican Church of Canada—Lessons Learned and its Executive Summary, commend it to General Synod, and encourage the Anglican Church of Canada at all levels to read them and take action on their recommendations for ongoing reconciliation work both within the Anglican Church and more broadly.

    Faith, Worship, and Ministry (cont’d)

    Two further motions from Faith, Worship, and Ministry were brought forward, concerning respectively The Arusha Call to Discipleship and the anniversary of the Canadian Council of Churches.

    National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald spoke to offer background on The Arusha Call to Discipleship, having attended the World Council of Churches’ Conference on World Mission and Evangelism in March 2018 in Arusha, Tanzania, where the statement was drafted. The context of the document, he said, that “we now live in a post-Christendom world”. In light of this fact, he added, “Thanks be to God.”

    The collapse of Christendom has meant bad things for churches at the institutional level, Bishop MacDonald said, but it also creates exciting opportunities. The Arusha conference was designed in large part to address this new era of post-Christendom, an age in which the colonial church is collapsing and a new worldwide reality is developing, one in which local forms of Christian faith are multiplying all over the world that have no connection to Western churches and their histories and issues.

    Chinese Christians, for example, might look at someone with a puzzled look if that person were to identify themselves as “Anglican” or “Catholic” or “Protestant”. Such historic realities that are so much a part of world in which Canadian Anglicans live and move have little bearing to many new converts who think of themselves simply as Christians.

    What is emerging in this new reality, the bishop said, is a renewed focus on discipleship, both individually and communally, as being the essence of what Christians are to be in the world today. In another sign of the move away from the colonial church, Bishop MacDonald highlighted the strong Indigenous presence at Arusha gathering, which included The Most Rev. Jackson Ole Sapit, Primate of Kenya. Archbishop Sapit’s background is Maasai, an Indigenous people from Kenya.

    In Bishop MacDonald’s view, it is clear that our discipleship is not just about returning the health of churches, but that it is also essential for confronting the great moral crisis today: the ways in which money has captured our hearts and every aspect of our lives, including the very climate of the planet we live on. That culture of money is destroying and sapping all of the strength and deforming our discipleship as followers of Jesus, and requires a strong spiritual response.

    Both motions by Faith, Worship, and Ministry were adopted by consensus.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved that this Council of General forward to the General Synod 2019 the following motion:

    Be it resolved that this General Synod:

    1. affirm the Arusha Call to Discipleship which emerged from the World Council of Churches’ Conference on World Mission and Evangelism sponsored by the WCC Commission on Witness and Evangelism (March 2018);

    2. encourage programmatic bodies within the General Synod to integrate the Arusha Call to Discipleship into the guiding principles of baptismal living for the shaping of national ministries; and

    3. commend the Arusha Call to Discipleship to dioceses for study and inclusion in their considerations of evangelism, witness and discipleship.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved that this Council of General Synod forward the following motion to the General Synod 2019:

    Be it resolved that, in this special time marking the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the formation of the Canadian Council of Churches, this General Synod, in a spirit of gratitude, offer congratulations to the President and Executive of the Canadian Council of Churches, and recommit the Anglican Church of Canada in our membership and full participation in the life and witness of the Council.

    Partner Moments

    Ms. Pat Lovell, partner to CoGS from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), offered the first of two partner moments, sharing details of what was discussed at the ELCIC’s most recent National Church Council.

    Plans are well underway for the ELCIC’s upcoming National Convention in July at the University of Regina. The theme of the gathering is “Call to Journey Together: The Ministry of Reconciliation,” and a number of motions similar to those passed by CoGS will be included.

    The ELCIC practices four priorities at the moment: courageous innovation, reconciled relationships, empowered disciples, and one body working together. Resolutions at the National Convention will embody each of these priorities in different ways. For example, a resolution on single-use plastics will aim to reduce use of plastics and promote sources aimed at local efforts to do so, something the Anglican Church of Canada has also been working on. Lovell also highlighted a resolution to respect LGBTQ2S+ persons, and another to recommend adoption of the Memorandum of Mutual Recognition of Full Communion to bring the ELCIC closer to The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in addition to the Anglican Church of Canada. The document A Common Word is also being presented with the intention of the ELCIC becoming a signatory and promoting closer relations between Christians and Muslims.

    Lovell paid tribute to Archbishop and Primate Fred Hiltz as well as Prolocutor Cynthia Haines-Turner, who has been present at the ELCIC National Church Council for years as the Anglican Church of Canada representative. She praised the relationship between ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson and Archbishop Hiltz as an example of what it means to be real partners, noting the two liked to consult on a regular basis.

    The entire process of the Anglican Church of Canada pondering proposed changes to the marriage canon met with admiration from Lovell. She praised the church’s approach that began with listening conversations right after the 2013 General Synod, and was followed by an in-depth study in the form of the report This Holy Estate and further conversations throughout dioceses. “No matter where it ends, you have done great due diligence,” she said. “I admire and applaud you for that, because it’s not an easy task. The greatest test will come at the convention, and I know that God will be with you.” Lutherans, she added, would also be present at General Synod, and their prayers would always be with their Anglican partners.

    Canon Noreen Duncan, recently re-elected as representative of The Episcopal Church (TEC) to CoGS, provided the second partner moment. She highlighted the pride of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry in the connection between TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. Since the presiding bishop took on his current position, the work of TEC has focused around three pillars: caring for creation, evangelism, and racial reconciliation.

    In her time at CoGS, Duncan said, she had learned much about reconciliation from the Anglican Church of Canada. She highlighted the ways in which the church had walked together with Indigenous sisters and brothers and with ACIP, and the way that it saw racial reconciliation as structural to the church—not an issue in the past, not limited to residential schools that are now gone, but rather in terms of the “continuing sin of racism.” Anti-racism would be central to Duncan’s mission over the next three years serving as liaison to the Bishop’s Joint Standing Committee on Racial Reconciliation.

    While the Anglican Church of Canada moves towards the second reading at General Synod of its amendment on proposed changes to the marriage, Duncan said that in the case of TEC, “We have been through our same-gender issues.” Since 2015, TEC has formally allowed same-sex marriage. Looking “as siblings” at the process of their Canadian counterparts, Duncan too affirmed, “You have done your due diligence.” She wanted Canadian Anglicans to know that Episcopalians would be with them in July in Vancouver. She thanked CoGS for having her present and for welcoming her to Vancouver, and expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to be welcome during this important part of the church’s life in Canada and for sisters and brothers in Indigenous communities.

    Anglican Award of Merit Committee

    General Secretary Michael Thompson presented a resolution from the Anglican Award of Merit Committee, which included the names of six people to receive the award in 2019: Mr. Robert (Bob) Boeckner, Ms. Debra Gill, Ms. Melissa Green, Mrs. Anne Patterson, Mrs. Dorothy Russell-Patterson, and Mrs. Susan Winn. Council voted to adopt the resolution.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved:

    That this Council approves all six recommended names to receive the Anglican Award of Merit in 2019.

    Members took a break from 10:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

    Prolocutor Reflections

    As she prepares to step down from her role as prolocutor, Haines-Turner offered some reflections from her tenure at CoGS. Among her observations, she noted the decrease in size of the council and expressed her belief that a smaller council worked better in carrying out its work. At the same time, she noted a large number of absences at the current council, which has an effect on the remaining members who have to dig in and do the work.

    Though the current meeting was the last meeting of the present council, the prolocutor reminded members that their term continues until a new council is elected at General Synod, and that there are still a number of ways they can contribute to the leadership and ministry of the church. Only 11 people present, she noted, would be in a position to be elected to the next council. As a result, she urged members upon their return home to talk about the work of CoGS and the importance of people allowing their names to stand in nomination for it. In light of the commitment required to serve as a member of CoGS, she noted that nominees with that skill would be particularly helpful.

    Highlighting the good work and ministry of the committees and CoGS as a whole, Haines-Turner thanked the council for the privilege of serving as prolocutor, which she called “the funnest job ever.”

    Heartbeat of the Church Feedback

    Karen Egan presented some of the results of the Heartbeat of the Church exercise that council members took part in earlier in the meeting, when they responded to three questions and then offering heartfelt prayers.

    In response to the question “Describe a time when our church made your heart glad,” council members pointed to moments such as Archbishop Michael Peers’ apology, the establishment of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh, the Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue, the declaration of full communion with the ELCIC in 2001, resolutions towards Indigenous self-determination, and the feeling of worship when people sing and pray together.

    In response to the question “Describe a time when our church made your heart ache,” members cited attending regional and national TRC events and hearing the testimony of those who had been damaged by the church; the voting error at the 2016 General Synod in regard to the amendment on proposed changes to the marriage canon; hearing a negative reaction from one bishop to the 1993 apology; moments when Anglicans do not trust each other; and church failures to identify its own role in creating division and pain, even in the light of good intentions.

    In response to the question, “Describe a time when our church gave you hope,” members highlighted Indigenous ministries; the ministry of Archbishop Fred Hiltz; seeing new generations of theological students and bishops; anticipation of participating in the Anglican Consultative Council; the way the church responds to incidents such as the recent shooting in Aotearoa-New Zealand; and accepting the risks of walking towards reconciliation with Indigenous Anglicans, not knowing exactly where that road may lead, but knowing that God is leading us.

    Heartfelt prayers from the members conveyed feelings of gratitude and thanksgiving, as well as petitions to God for strength heading into the future.

    Financial Update and Risk Management (cont’d)

    Ms. Hanna Goschy, treasurer and CFO, responded to questions about the financial update and put forward a resolution on the process by which dioceses make and fulfill financial commitments to the ministries of the General Synod. During a subsequent discussion, council members asked Goschy questions about the resolution, specifically involving the issue of penalties in connection to dioceses that do not fulfill financial commitments.

    General Secretary’s Report

    In response to these questions, the Ven. Michael Thompson, General Secretary of the General Synod, expanded the discussion of the church’s national planning process from one focused on General Synod to engaging the church national in a conversation about the contribution that each of us can make to the ministry of the church. Though the word “penalty’ had come up, Thompson suggested that what members were really talking about was partnership, and a planning process that engages members of the church as partners in outcomes that can change and renew people’s lives.

    A resolution on the church’s strategic planning process was put forward, but debate over its precise wording compelled members of the Resolutions Committee to work together over lunch to present a reworded version. A different resolution on the 2022 Joint Assembly was put forward and adopted by consensus.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved that this Council of General Synod direct the General Secretary to accept the offer of the Diocese of Calgary to be host diocese for the meeting of the General Synod in 2022.

    Members broke for lunch from noon until 12:45 p.m.

    Further Motions

    After lunch, three more resolutions were put forward, including the revised motion on the strategic planning process. All three were adopted by consensus.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved that:

    The General Synod direct the Council of General Synod to develop and initiate a process to re-examine the mission of General Synod in relation to the dioceses, provinces, including the self-determining Indigenous Church, with a goal to allow the structures of General Synod to best enable and serve God’s mission.

    Resolution

    That the Council of General Synod commend to General Synod 2019 that the Synod direct the Council of General Synod in partnership with the entire church to prayerfully undertake a strategic planning process that will lead to the presentation of a proposal to the 2022 meeting of the General Synod for our ministry and mission with the General Synod.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved:

    That this Council of General Synod strongly recommend to the incoming Council of General Synod that it examine the process by which dioceses are invited to make and fulfill financial commitments to the ministries of General Synod.

    Closing Eucharist

    Council members received certificates prior to the Eucharist that would close out the final meeting of CoGS for the 2016-2019 triennium. Archbishop Hiltz served as preacher during the service.

    In his sermon, the Primate reiterated calls for a church that is Christ-centered and gospel-centred, to be a servant church, to live a “cross-shaped life” and to bear witness in the world. He believed that in its present meeting, the council had offered “a word to the church” not just about marriage, but about self-determination, about safe church, and about many other resolutions commended to General Synod. Council members celebrated the Holy Eucharist and then departed for home.

    The meeting adjourned at 2:30 p.m.

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Highlights from the Council of General Synod: March 16, 2019

Highlights from the Council of General Synod: March 16, 2019

CoGS-table-groups-FB.jpg

BY GENERAL SYNOD COMMUNICATIONS ON MARCH 17, 2019

  • Council members gathered after breakfast at 8:45 a.m. at the Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre in Mississauga.

    Morning Eucharist

    Bishop-Elect Lynne McNaughton presided at the morning worship service. National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald preached.

    Orders of the Day

    Dr. Karen Egan, co-chair of the Planning and Agenda Team, read out the Orders of the Day.

    General Synod 2019

    The Very Rev. Peter Wall, co-chair of the General Synod Planning Committee, discussed some of the details of General Synod 2019. He described the benefits of the hotel as venue and the proximity of nearby Anglican churches for worship—noting that the National Indigenous Anglican Bishop would be preaching at the Sunday worship service—and the agenda for the event. In planning the Vancouver gathering, Wall said that the committee had been very sensitive to what they had heard about General Synod 2016 in terms of the ways members talk and listen to one another.

    After answering some questions from the council, Wall put forward a motion that was adopted by consensus.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved that the Council of General Synod approve the draft agenda outline for the forty-second session of the General Synod.

    Wall went on to describe other aspects of General Synod 2019, including sponsorship and displays. The Anglican Foundation of Canada is the lead sponsor of General Synod, and Wall praised the generosity of the Foundation’s support.

    Putting forward another motion related to electronic voting, Wall said that the General Synod Planning Committee had discussed this issue thoroughly and was confident in its support for electronic voting at General Synod 2019. Among other benefits, electronic voting allows affirmative votes to be cast first and avoids a secret ballot which is generally not allowed by the rules of Synod.

    Problems with the voting process in 2016, Wall said, were due to registration errors and not due to electronic voting clickers or the company who supported them. Members of General Synod 2019 will have clickers, and in addition this year, external monitors (auditors) will be present. Paper ballots will be used for the election of the new primate, since it would be logistically difficult to have electronic voting at the cathedral where the election will take place.

    Council members adopted the next resolution by consensus.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved that this Council of General Synod authorize electronic voting at all sessions of the forty-second session of the General Synod, at the discretion of the Chair, except for the election of a Primate, at which election voting shall be on paper ballots.

    Wall put forward a third motion on seating arrangements, which was also adopted by consensus.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved that the forty-second session of the General Synod have two seating arrangements: one, for Bible study and for learning session—which would allow and encourage Synod members from across the country, from coast to coast to coast, to meet at table groupings which include as much of the diversity of our church as possible—and another, open seating at which Synod members will be encouraged to sit where they wish.

    During a subsequent discussion, Wall answered any further questions members had related to General Synod 2019.

    Members broke for coffee from 10:20 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.

    Marriage Canon Working Group/Canon XXI

    Continuing work from the previous day, council members took several minutes to read over the third draft of the document A Word to the Church on proposed changes to the marriage canon. A discussion followed in which members suggested changes to the precise language of the document. Archbishop and Primate Fred Hiltz suggested that council return to the resolution on the document when the Marriage Canon Working Group was able to incorporate their suggested changes into the fourth and final version.

    Chancellor David Jones presented motions from the Governance Working Group regarding proposed amendments to the marriage canon resolution A051-R2. The resolution was adopted by consensus.

    Resolution

    That Council of General Synod commend the following amendment to Resolution A051-R2 to General Synod 2019:

    Be it resolved that Resolution A051-R2 be amended as follows:

    Renumber paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 as paragraphs 3, 4, and 5, and add as paragraph 2:

    1. Add the following at the end of the Preface to Canon XXI:

    1. Faithful members of the Anglican Church of Canada have different understandings and teachings about the nature of marriage. Some accept that the essence of marriage is between a man and a woman; others accept same sex marriage. Members are entitled to hold and exercise either view provided they recognize and respect that others may with integrity hold a different view. All Anglicans accept that marriage is a sign of God’s redeeming purpose to unite all things in Christ. We are committed to graceful walking together in a spirit of generosity as part of the same Christian community. 

    1. General Synod recognizes that Indigenous communities have particular understandings about the nature of marriage as well as their own ways of making decisions—both of which are protected in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples—and will continue to discern whether same sex marriage would be acceptable in their communities.

    Faith, Worship, and Ministry

    The Rev. Dr. Eileen Scully put forward a number of motion from Faith, Worship, and Ministry. A motion on the Safe Church Charter was amended, at the suggestion of a council member, to include a commitment to CoGS discussing safe church policy each triennium. The amended motion was adopted by consensus.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved that this Council of General Synod forward the following motion to the General Synod 2019:

    Be it resolved that this General Synod

    1. adopt The Anglican Communion Charter for the Safety of People and the Protocol for the Disclosure of Ministry Suitability Information between the Churches of the Anglican Communion;

    2. commend the Charter to dioceses and other bodies of The Anglican Church of Canada for use in the revision and creation of policies and training materials for safeguarding and right conduct;

    3. engage a self-study of the conduct policy base of the corporation of The General Synod in light of the Charter, reporting back to the General Synod of 2022 on developments and with revised policies;

    4. offer its gratitude to the Anglican Communion Safe Church Commission for its work in creating the Charter for the Safety of Persons and its Protocols;

    5. direct the Council of General Synod to spend some time in the agenda of each triennium to discuss safe church policy and practice.

    Scully put forward a number of other motions that were adopted by consensus.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved that this Council of General Synod forward the following motion to the General Synod 2019:

    Be it resolved that this General Synod authorize for use Alternative Collects for the Revised Common Lectionary, where permitted by the Ordinary.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved that this Council of General Synod forward the following motion to the General Synod 2019:

    Be it resolved that this General Synod authorize for use Gathering Rites for Paschaltide for use where permitted by the Ordinary.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved that this Council of General Synod forward the following motion to the General Synod 2019:

    Be it resolved that this General Synod authorize for use Thanksgivings over the Water where permitted by the Ordinary.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved that this Council of General Synod approve for Trial Use, Evaluation, and Feedback, Rites for the Catechumenal Process where permitted by the Ordinary.

    A motion on providing an Inclusive Language Liturgical Psalter prompted one council member to ask for further discussion in light of major concerns about excising the word “He” in the psalter to refer to God. The member chose not to vote and the motion was adopted by consensus.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved that this Council of General Synod commend for use the Inclusive Language Liturgical Psalter and the Inclusive Language Liturgical Psalter (pointed).

    Members broke for lunch from noon until 1:30 p.m.

    Bible Study

    The Very Rev. Peter Elliott led Bible study after work, which centred on Luke 13:31-35. Following reading of the gospel passage and table group reflections, Elliott closed out the study with a prayer.

    Marriage Canon Working Group/Canon XXI (cont’d)

    The Primate asked council whether they might next look at the fourth draft of the Word to the Church document before moving to the remainder of the resolutions, to which council members answered in the affirmative.

    Members read the final draft of the Word to the Church and then voted to adopt and commend it by consensus. Following the vote, however, one council member expressed concerns over the language of the document. In an emotional moment, the member wondered how the text might be received in the LGBTQ2S+ community—specifically by referring to “gay and lesbian persons” in its introduction rather than LGBTQ2S+, with  the possible result that it might make the document feel less inclusive.

    Council earnestly listened to the member’s concerns, and the Primate asked whether inclusion of the word “LGBTQ2S+” in the Lament section might resolve the issue. The concerned member suggested that including the word “historically” in the introduction would be a significant improvement. CoGS voted to add the word to the introduction, and the revised document was adopted and commended by consensus.

    Resolution

    That the Council of General Synod adopt and commend for consideration by General Synod the document A Word to the Church concerning the proposed amendment of Marriage Canon XXI.

    Faith, Worship, and Ministry (cont’d)

    After taking a five-minute break to stretch their legs, members returned to vote on more resolutions related to Faith, Worship and Ministry. Each was adopted by consensus.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved that this Council of General Synod forward the following motion to the General Synod 2019:

    Be it resolved that this General Synod authorize for use Seasonal Forms for Daily Office for use where permitted by the Ordinary.

    The Rt. Rev. Bruce Myers spoke briefly on the background behind the next motion, recounting the history of efforts to change the Prayer for the Conversion of the Jews in the Book of Common Prayer to the Prayer for Reconciliation with the Jews. The motion was adopted by consensus.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved that this Council of General Synod send the following motion to the General Synod 2019:

    Be it resolved that this General Synod give first reading to the addition of the following section to Canon XIV:

    1. Prayer number four in “Prayers and Thanksgivings upon Several Occasions” is to be deleted from use and future printings of the Book of Common Prayer and replaced with a prayer entitled “For Reconciliation with the Jews” as follows:

    O GOD, who didst choose Israel to be thine inheritance: Have mercy upon us and forgive us for violence and wickedness against our brother Jacob; the arrogance of our hearts and minds hath deceived us, and shame hath covered our face. Take away all pride and prejudice in us, and grant that we, together with the people whom thou didst first make thine own, may attain to the fulness of redemption which thou hast promised; to the honour and glory of thy most holy Name.

    The next two motions were also adopted by consensus. Bishop-Elect Lynne McNaughton briefly spoke on the latter motion by describing the background behind the Anglican-United Church Dialogue.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved that this Council of General Synod forward the following motion to the General Synod 2019:

    Be it resolved that this General Synod:

    • express its gratitude for, and accepts the gift of A Common Word Between Us and You, offer by Muslim leaders via the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, Jordan;

    • that the Anglican Church of Canada join other signatories to A Common Word Between Us and You via the signature of our Primate; and

    • that the Anglican Church of Canada, under the direction of the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee, and in partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, jointly initiate a program of ecumenical Christian-Muslim engagement in receptive communities across Canada, based on the model of the A Common Word initiative in its various local expressions.

    Resolution

    Be it resolved that this Council of General Synod forward the following motion to the General Synod 2019:

    Be it resolved that this General Synod:

    Receive and affirm the Statement of Mutual Affirmations and Commitments produced by the Anglican Church of Canada-United Church of Canada Dialogue.

    Members broke for coffee from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

    Financial Update and Risk Management

    Ms. Hanna Goschy, Treasurer and CFO, briefly discussed the finances of the General Synod. The majority of her report focused on explaining the concept of risk management, and its value as a way of avoiding vulnerabilities in an organization, identifying potential financial problems before they occur, and improving sustainability. Goschy identified five main kinds of risk—failure to comply with the law, governance, operational, financial, and external—and various strategies for avoiding them.

    In an exercise, she assigned one of each kind of risk to different tables, and asked them to brainstorm the risks their group feels are relevant to General Synod in their category. Next, she asked them to choose the risk they felt had the greatest impact and highest likelihood. Roughly 10 minutes of discussion followed, after which each table reported on what they had discussed. Among the risks identified by table groups based on category:

    • Operational: Supervision of staff and volunteers, management of assets, inadequate record-keeping.

    • Financial: Inadequate cash flow and limited income sources; most of the church’s income flows from dioceses, raising questions of church growth and how that impacts finances.

    • Governance: Potentially unskilled or inattentive boards of directors, since many directors are volunteers; could become extreme risk if paired with another governance issue such as ineffective senior staff or poor board staff relations.

    • External: Loss of key funding sources; declining proportion of giving; secularization and competing with other religious groups; government creating hostile education environment for Christianity.

    Prayers

    Peter Elliott closed out the afternoon session by leading a prayer for the church, for the ministry and leadership of Archbishop Hiltz and Prolocutor Cynthia Haines-Turner, and for the upcoming General Synod.

    Reception

    An evening reception featured a surprise (for Archbishop Hiltz) musical performance by jazz combo The Nathan Hiltz Trio, a band led by the Primate’s son.

    Banquet

    Council enjoyed their last dinner at their last meeting of the triennium in the form of a banquet, during which they honoured two departing council members: Archbishop Fred Hiltz, who will be stepping down as Primate at General Synod 2019, and Cynthia Haines-Turner.

    Numerous speeches were made to pay tribute to the two members, who each also spoke in glowing terms about the other. While their individual qualities were praised, common to both was a tireless work ethic, strong faith, and devotion to the church. Much of the Primate’s closing speech focused on praising the work of Haines-Turner, General Secretary Michael Thompson, Chancellor David Jones, outgoing deputy prolocutor Lynne McNaughton, Planning and Agenda Team co-chairs Peter Wall and Karen Egan, Worship Committee chair Peter Elliott, and others.

    The Primate noted that upon the election of his successor, he would hand the Primatial Cross—which “belongs to the whole church”—to Haines-Turner as Prolocutor, who in turn would hand it to the new primate. Speaking of his departure and his eventual plans to return to parish ministry, Archbishop Hiltz said, “I’m leaving the office of primate happily. It’s time for change … It’s time for new leadership.” He expressed confidence in the Holy Spirit guiding the Anglican Church of Canada into the future, and thanked the council for their work over the course of the triennium. The Primate ended by leading council in a prayer.

    Gospel Jamboree

    National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald and Indigenous Ministries Coordinator Ginny Doctor led the evening Gospel Jamboree.

    In his introduction, Bishop MacDonald spoke about the role of music in Indigenous spiritual practice, and how potlucks and gospel jamborees became ways of resistance to colonization. Many hymns associated today with conservative Christianity were in fact the most popular tunes sung by Indigenous people at gospel jamborees, which often attracted hundreds of people and would last for hours.

    Participants were seated for most of the proceedings. The gospel jamboree typically started and ended with hymns sung a capella in an extremely slow manner. Those in attendance would stand only during the last verse of the first hymn and the last hymn. Music was interspersed with traditional stories and Bible stories. Bishop MacDonald described these events as a “uniquely Indigenous tradition borne out of necessity.” Even today, travellers in northern regions will often hear gospel jamborees on the radio during the evening.

    The CoGS Gospel Jamboree drew inspiration from this proceeding, opening and closing with slow hymns sung a capella. Throughout the evening, Bishop MacDonald and Doctor led the singing and energetic musical performance of favourite hymns, inviting others to join in on guitar, drum, tambourine, and egg shakers while all present sang along. In between, council members told personal stories and displayed a variety of other talents, from presenting a puppet show to singing songs in their traditional language.

    Participants enjoyed an evening social from 9 p.m. until 11 p.m.

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House of Bishops - a Call to Prayer

A CALL TO PRAYER from the House of Bishops

BY GENERAL SYNOD COMMUNICATIONS ON MARCH 29, 2019

Freedom Studio/Shutterstock

Freedom Studio/Shutterstock

General Synod 2019 will bring three important issues before the Church:  The proposed revision of the marriage canon; a primatial election; and indigenous self-determination, in addition to other areas of our common life together.

We know that the consideration of same-sex marriage has been painful and caused deep concern across our Church. Although we are not of one mind on this matter the House of Bishops, in Christian love, affirms:

  1. That Indigenous Peoples will seek God’s direction on these matters in their own way and in their own time.

  2. That we have two views of marriage that are held by the faithful of the Anglican Church of Canada.

  3. That clergy be protected for holding, teaching and, with permission, exercising either view of marriage.

  4. That we commit to remain in communion, living together with respect.

In light of these affirmations we invite the Church to join us in prayer for the work of General Synod 2019 that we may bear with one another in unity and love under the guidance of God the Holy Spirit.

Prayer for Synod:

Book of Alternative Services

Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel in General Synod for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honour and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord.    Amen.

Book of Common Prayer

Guide, we beseech thee, Almighty God, by the light of thy Holy Spirit, the counsels of the Bishops, Clergy, and Laity who will assemble in General Synod; that thy Church may dwell in peace, and fulfil all the mind of him who loved it and gave himself for it, thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.    Amen.

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Bishops nominated for the election of the 14th Primate are...

Canadian Anglican House of Bishops nominate bishops for next Primatial election

BY GENERAL SYNOD COMMUNICATIONS ON MARCH 27, 2019

IMG_0049-2.jpg

The Canadian House of Bishops has nominated five bishops from among their number to stand for election as the next Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, who was elected the 13th Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada in 2007, announced his resignation effective July 16 at the end of the meeting of the General Synod. The General Synod, the Anglican Church of Canada’s national governing and legislative body, will choose the next primate in Vancouver this July.

To fulfill the requirements of Canon III on the Primate and Appendix A on the Guidelines for the Conduct of the Primatial Election, the bishops must nominate three candidates, but may nominate up to five, at their last meeting before a General Synod.

The Canadian Anglican House of Bishops is meeting in Niagara Falls, ON from March 25 to 29. Prior to the nomination process, the bishops were led in a prayerful and grace-filled retreat by Archbishop John Holder, the retired Primate of the West Indies and bishop of Barbados.

Bishops nominated for the election of the 14th Primate are:

  • The Right Reverend Jane Alexander of the diocese of Edmonton;

  • The Most Reverend Ron Cutler of the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada;

  • The Most Reverend Gregory Kerr-Wilson of the diocese of Calgary and Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Rupert’s Land;

  • The Right Reverend Linda Nicholls of the diocese of Huron; and

  • The Right Reverend Michael Oulton of the diocese of Ontario.

The Anglican Church of Canada’s 42nd General Synod, which convenes at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre in downtown Vancouver from July 10 to 16 is made up of more than 250 delegates, including lay people, youth delegates, deacons, priests and bishops from across the church. The General Synod meets every three years. The Primate is elected by clergy and lay members of the General Synod and is the senior Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Canada. Bishops do not vote in the primatial election.

The primatial election will be held at Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver, BC on Saturday, July 13. The new Primate will be officially installed in office the evening of July 16.

-30-

Media contact:
Meghan Kilty
Director, Communications
The Anglican Church of Canada
416-924-9199 ext. 230

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General Synod Information and Registration

General Synod 2019

The 42nd General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada will be held from July 10-16, 2019 at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia in the Diocese of New Westminster. The theme of the synod is “I Have Called You By Name” (Isaiah 43:1).

Delegates to General Synod may register online.

Questions about General Synod 2019 can be directed to Shannon Cottrell, Executive Secretary for Governance for General Synod at gs2019@national.anglican.ca.

Information for Delegates

General Synod 2019 Planning Committee

(front row, left to right):  Ms. Cynthia Haines-Turner The Very Rev. Peter Wall The Rev. Dr. Lynne McNaughton Ms. Heidi Wilker Ms. Becky Boucher  (not pictured):  Ms. Lisa Barry Ms. Josie De Lucia    (back row, left to right):  The Rt. Rev. Sidney Black Ms. Meghan Kilty The Very Rev. Peter Elliott The Ven. Dr. Michael Thompson Ms. Shannon Cottrell The Ven. Douglas Fenton Ms. Angela Chorney Ms. Siobhan Bennett The Rev. Martha Tatarnic Ms. Laura Walton    Header photo by  Thom Quine   CC BY 2.0  / Wikimedia

(front row, left to right):

Ms. Cynthia Haines-Turner
The Very Rev. Peter Wall
The Rev. Dr. Lynne McNaughton
Ms. Heidi Wilker
Ms. Becky Boucher

(not pictured):

Ms. Lisa Barry
Ms. Josie De Lucia

(back row, left to right):

The Rt. Rev. Sidney Black
Ms. Meghan Kilty
The Very Rev. Peter Elliott
The Ven. Dr. Michael Thompson
Ms. Shannon Cottrell
The Ven. Douglas Fenton
Ms. Angela Chorney
Ms. Siobhan Bennett
The Rev. Martha Tatarnic
Ms. Laura Walton

Header photo by Thom Quine CC BY 2.0 /Wikimedia

A Word to the Church: Considering the proposed amendment of Marriage Canon XXI

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A Word to the Church: Considering the proposed amendment of Marriage Canon XXI

BY GENERAL SYNOD COMMUNICATIONS ON MARCH 16, 2019

This Word to the Church was passed by consensus by the Council of General Synod on March 16, 2019.

INTRODUCTION

Historically, the full inclusion of gay and lesbian persons in the life of the Anglican Church of Canada – in its parishes, congregations and communities from coast to coast to coast – has been actively under consideration for many years. It has been a major topic in a number of meetings of General Synod. In some of those meetings, the General Synod passed resolutions that expressed the mind of the General Synod and contributed to the teaching and policy of the Anglican Church of Canada.

In the midst of all these proceedings, there has been the desire to hear all voices, and to remain integrally a church which respects the dignity of each person and remains faithful to our calling to love one another.

In preparing for the second reading of the proposed amendment to the Marriage Canon, the Council of General Synod (CoGS) itself has consistently undertaken a respectful listening process. The Council has exercised its responsibility to encourage consideration of A051-R2 throughout the church between first and second reading by diocese and provinces. We have received and listened to the considerable feedback submitted by dioceses and provinces, the House of Bishops and the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples. The Council is returning the resolution to General Synod for second reading with some possible amendments.

CoGS asks General Synod 2019 and the whole church to take note of the following discussion and make the affirmations that follow.

CHRONOLOGY

Since the 1980s, the General Synod has held discussions and considered resolutions pertaining to same sex relationships, and the blessing of same sex unions and marriages in the Church. For example:

a. 1992: General Synod held an open forum on sexuality and requested that the House of Bishops and the National Executive Council (now the Council of General Synod) commission a study of homosexuality and same-sex relationships.

b. 1994: Hearing Diverse Voices, Seeking Common Ground: A program of study on homosexuality and homosexual relationshipswas published by the Anglican Book Centre as a resource for parishes and groups.

c. 1995: General Synod affirmed the presence and contribution of gays and lesbians in the church.

d. 2001:  General Synod adopted A Call to Human Dignity: A Statement of Principles for the Anglican Church of Canada on Dignity, Inclusion, and Fair Treatment.

e. 2004: General Synod deferred the decision to affirm the authority and jurisdiction of any diocesan synod, with the concurrence of its bishop, to authorize the blessing of committed same sex relationships. It also passed the resolution “affirming the integrity and sanctity of committed, adult same-sex relationships”. The General Synod asked the Primate to refer the issue to the Primate’s Theological Commission.

f. 2005: The Primate’s Theological Commission published the St. Michael Report, stating that the blessing of same-sex unions is a matter of doctrine “but not core doctrine”.

g. 2007: General Synod defeated a motion (that was deferred in 2004) to affirm the authority and jurisdiction of any diocesan synod, with the concurrence of its bishop, to authorize the blessing of committed same sex unions.

The General Synod also passed the following resolution (Act 33):

“That this General Synod accept the conclusion of the Primate’s Theological Commission’s St. Michael Report that the blessing of same-sex unions is a matter of doctrine, but is not core doctrine in the sense of being creedal and should not be a communion-breaking issue.”

h. 2010: General Synod adopted a statement (Act 70) with respect to the blessing of same-sex relationships that said, in part:

“We acknowledge diverse pastoral practices as dioceses respond to their own missional contexts. We accept the continuing commitment to develop generous pastoral practices. We recognize that these different approaches raise difficulties and challenges.”

The statement also said:

“We are deeply aware of the cost to people whose lives are implicated in the consequences of an ongoing discernment process.  This is not just an ‘issue’ but is about people’s lives and deeply held faith commitments.”

And:

“Above, in and through all of this, and despite all our differences we are passionately committed to walking together, protecting our common life.”

The General Synod also unanimously adopted a resolution opposing criminalization of homosexuality, and calling on our partners in jurisdictions with such legislation to do the same (Act 75).

i. 2013: General Synod adopted a motion (C003) that directed the Council of General Synod to prepare a motion for the consideration of General Synod 2016 that would: “change Canon XXI on Marriage to allow the marriage of same sex couples” (Act 38). In response to resolution C003, the Council of General Synod (CoGS) formed the Commission on the Marriage Canon to undertake the work requested in the resolution and report back to CoGS.

j. 2015: The Commission presented its final report, This Holy Estate, to the Council of General Synod on September 22, 2015.

k. 2016: A resolution to amend the Marriage Canon came to General Synod in 2016. The resolution was amended to permit the solemnization of same sex marriages that were authorized by the diocesan bishop. The existing conscience clause for clergy would not be changed. General Synod 2016 gave first reading to the amended resolution (A051-R2) and by a two-thirds majority of those voting in each of the orders of laity, clergy, and bishops.

The resolution was referred to provincial and diocesan synods for consideration as required by the Declaration of Principles.

l. 2019: A051-R2 returns to General Synod 2019 for second reading, as required by the Declaration of Principles for change to a canon pertaining to doctrine.

If A051-R2 receives the necessary majorities in each of the orders of bishops, clergy, and laity at General Synod 2019, it will become an Act of Synod; if it does not, it will be defeated.

AFFIRMING THE INHERENT RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

In the 2004 resolution concerning “the integrity and sanctity of committed adult same sex relationships”, the third clause read:

To affirm the principle of respect for the way in which the dialogue and study [of the blessing of same-sex relationships] may be taking place, or might take place, in Indigenous and various other communities within our church in a manner consistent with their cultures and values.

At the 2010 meeting at which General Synod adopted its Sexuality Discernment Statement, it also passed, at second reading, changes that completed the establishment of the office of National Indigenous Anglican Bishop within General Synod and adopted Canon XXII.

Synod enacted two other significant resolutions with respect to Indigenous ministries.

i. The first was the repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery; and

ii. the second was the endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The UN Declaration includes among its articles at least four that speak directly to the rights of Indigenous persons and communities to come to their own decisions regarding this or any other spiritual matter:

  • Article 3 – To self-determination

  • Article 4 – To self-government

  • Article 11 – To the practice and re-vitalization of culture

  • Article 12 – To manifest, practice, develop and teach spiritual and religious traditions

That is to say, the commitments our church has made, in 2004, in 2010, and in many other times and places, require us to acknowledge with humility that conversations among Indigenous persons and communities about same-sex marriage belong to those persons and communities, and will take place in their own way and in their own time.

GOVERNANCE AND INTERPRETATION

In the memo of 2016 June entitled ISSUES IN DEALING WITH RESOLUTION A051 (the motion to amend the Marriage Canon), the Chancellor of the General Synod, David Jones QC, wrote:

There is no specific prohibition of same sex marriage in the existing canon.

Not passing the resolution is not the same as passing the opposite resolution.

… In the absence of a prohibition by General Synod against same-sex marriages, Provincial Synods have authority and jurisdiction with respect to “… the authorization of special forms of prayers, services and ceremonies for use within the province, for which no provisions have been made under the authority of the General Synod or of the House of Bishops of The Anglican Church of Canada”: Section 7 viii) of the Declaration of Principles.

…In addition, bishops retain some inherent “powers, jurisdiction
and authority”: Section 9 of the Declaration of Principles.

Subsequently, for a variety of reasons, some diocesan bishops and synods authorized liturgies for the solemnization of marriage between two persons of the same sex; others have not.

DIVERSE TEACHINGS ON THE NATURE OF MARRIAGE

In its January 2019 report to the Council of General Synod, the House of Bishops referred to the “currency of grace” present in their discussion, and identified a number of ways that the nature of marriage is understood and taught in the church:

a. For some, any change is seen as a repudiation of a universal Christian tradition held since time immemorial and commanded by scripture;

b. some hold to a close interpretation of the theology of the Book of Common Prayer, and see marriage as a means of God’s grace and an ordinance beyond the Church’s capacity to transform or change;

c. others see marriage as a first order commandment of God within the order of creation itself;

d. still others have a view that the liberating work of Christ can and should transcend the structures which are seen to be of human construction, and that same sex marriage is a prophetic response to the Spirit’s command to draw all persons to the grace and love of Christ;

e. still others see the love and grace of Jesus demanding a transforming view of justice which includes all persons – including those whom the church traditionally interpreted as sinners condemned by scripture, and seek to repent of language and attitudes which oppressed the LGBTQ2S community and injured their dignity both as persons in civil society and as beloved children of God;

f. still others combine portions of these theologies in a way that works for their own community and context; and

g. each of these and many other variations on the teaching of the church value scripture and take their view of this matter from the holy scriptures themselves.[1]

THE PASTORAL REALITIES

For many in leadership in our church, the 2010 statement (Act 70, referred to above), which achieved virtual consensus, represents a significant pastoral moment in the life of our church. Among its virtues were:

a. The recognition that it was possible to hold and act on divergent views in good faith, and that missional context would necessarily inform pastoral practice;

b. the affirmation of “aboriginal voices in our midst”;

c. the recognition of the cost “to those people whose lives are implicated in the consequences of an ongoing discernment process”; and

d. the recognition of the pain engendered by diversity, and the commitment to care for one another in that pain.

As we prepare to vote on the proposed change to the Canon XXI – On Marriage, we take time to acknowledge that though the question now is marriage, many of the dynamics remain in place. While our diversity remains painful, there continues to be a strong commitment to our communion in the Body of Christ.

LAMENT

This has been a long season of deep pain for the whole church.

We have witnessed disdain and failure of charity toward those who hold differing understandings of marriage:

a) toward the LGBTQ2S+ communities;

b) toward those who stand in one of the traditions regarding marriage that would lead them to oppose the change;

c) toward those who stand in one of the traditions regarding marriage that would lead them to favour the change;

d) toward Indigenous persons and communities; and

e) toward those who have proceeded in good faith to authorize rites for same-sex marriage.

Whatever the actions of the church at this General Synod, we lament the harm that has come to persons and communities in the course of fifty years of conversation, not all of it measured or loving.

AFFIRMATIONS

Council of General Synod asks General Synod and the whole church to make the following affirmations.

Affirmation #1
Indigenous Spiritual Self-determination

Whatever the action of the church at this General Synod, we affirm the right of Indigenous persons and communities to spiritual self-determination in their discernment and decisions regarding same-sex marriage.

Affirmation #2
Diverse Understandings of the Existing Canon

We affirm that, while there are different understandings of the existing Marriage Canon, those bishops and synods who have authorized liturgies for the celebration and blessing of a marriage between two people of the same sex understand that the existing Canon does not prohibit same-sex marriage.

Affirmation #3
Diverse Understandings and Teachings

We acknowledge the ongoing reality that there is a diversity of understandings and teachings about marriage in the Anglican Church of Canada, and we affirm the prayerful integrity with which those understandings and teachings are held.

Affirmation #4
Our Commitment to Presume Good Faith

We affirm our commitment to presume good faith among those who hold diverse understandings and teachings, and hold dear their continued presence in this church.

Affirmation #5
Our Commitment to Stand Together

We affirm our commitment to walk together and to preserve communion, one with another, in Christ, within this church, within our Anglican Communion, and with our ecumenical partners.

[1] Direct quote from COGS document 018-01-19-03: Report from the House of Bishops to the Council of General Synod

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Archbishop Fred Hiltz on Primate's Role - from the Anglican Journal

‘Servant leadership’: an interview with Archbishop Fred Hiltz on the primate’s role

BY TALI FOLKINS - March 13, 2019

"The primate’s ministry is to always be attentive to how we create a holy spaciousness, so that everybody feels that they have a place in our church," says Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. Photo: Tali Folkins

"The primate’s ministry is to always be attentive to how we create a holy spaciousness, so that everybody feels that they have a place in our church," says Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. Photo: Tali Folkins

According to the canons of the Anglican Church of Canada, the primate’s role is to “lead [the church] in discerning and pursuing the mission of God.” To find out the primate’s own view on the nature of his leadership, the Anglican Journal sat down with Archbishop Fred Hiltz, who has served as primate since 2007, to hear his own thoughts on the role. This interview has been edited for brevity.

How would you describe the authority of the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada? 

It’s not based on jurisdiction. I think the authority of the primate is relational, and that you are given some authority at installation to be—to the best of your ability, and by the grace of God—a kind of locus of unity for our church. That’s very daunting. In my experience, it’s tied to the ministry of encouragement and of always reminding the church of the big picture, of the New Testament vision of the church— that it is essentially the body of Christ, and insofar as we have structures, that those structures have to serve the gospel.

Some would say there’s an authority of suasion, or persuasion, and a kind of moral authority to hold the church accountable for values, habits, disciplines, and practices that are in keeping with the gospel. The other authority, I think, that’s vested in the office of the primate is around enabling the church to know its vocation to be in and for the world. And so the canon on the primacy talks about the primate writing prophetically to the church and the world. The social justice issues, the moral issues of our time—the church expects the primate will write with some degree of authority to address those issues.

When you say the primate’s authority isn’t based on jurisdiction, do you mean the primate doesn’t have the power to discipline? 

Yes—that’s all the work of the diocesan bishops and metropolitans. The primate’s ministry is to always be attentive to how we create a holy spaciousness, so that everybody feels that they have a place in our church.

How does the primate actually do that? 

In my experience, through your preaching and teaching; through your visits to parishes and dioceses. People feel like they see in the face and heart of the primate— one hopes—a visible expression of their belonging to the wider church. If people are feeling a bit on the edges, there is, I think, an obligation on the part of the primate to go to those people and hear what their needs are, and then bring those to the wider church. When people are clearly in a conflict, where they’ve gone past the point of being able to talk with one another, then I think there is a role for the primate to say, “Let’s have a conversation, let’s see if we can discern how God might be calling us to move through this time of tension and conflict into a healthier way of being together as the church.”

What has worked when you’ve undertaken this? 

Rather than saying, “So here’s what the agenda for the day is,” you kind of open it up and say, “Thank you for coming together. I appreciate that. Now this is your meeting. Let’s figure out together what it is that we think we need to talk about today, what it is that we hope to accomplish today.” And so you create a space in which people feel responding to this invitation was actually worth it. And then at the end of the day you take some time to ask some questions— “Was this day a good day? Was it a holy day? Did you have a holy conversation? Do you feel like you were able to participate in it fully? What do you think we accomplished today, by God’s grace? What more do we need to talk about? Would you like to talk again?” And certainly that’s been my experience with some folks that I’ve met with—we’ve always asked at the end whether we’d like to meet again, and in my experience very many people have said, “Absolutely.”

Is this understanding of authority an attempt to replicate the authority that Archbishop of Canterbury has, as first among equals? 

Correct. The ministry of primacy is grounded in that sense of being the first among equals within a particular church. There are varying degrees of authority among the provinces of the Anglican Communion that are given to primates. But historically, in our communion, a primate doesn’t have any capacity for binding authority on any matter of jurisdiction. As the Archbishop of Canterbury is often described as the locus of unity in the Anglican Communion as a whole, so the primate of each province is the locus of unity for that church.

Are there advantages to having a church be led by someone with this kind of authority? 

I fully believe that if you look over the history of the Anglican Church of Canada, the “detached” model of primacy has actually served our church very well. The other thing, of course, is that there’s an image of servant leadership in the model we have of the primacy that is really quite unique. The primate cannot just waltz into a diocese; you have to have the permission of the bishop. You are called to serve everybody and you have to be content with the fact that you don’t have the same kind of authority that diocesan bishops have. The primate will do what the primate’s invited to do. When it comes, for instance, to Sacred Circle, you’re a guest—you’re there to listen and learn, and to speak when you’re invited to speak.

Do you think this “servant leadership” reflects in some way the role of Jesus in the gospels? I’m reminded of the image of him washing the feet of his disciples. 

You’re exactly in the same headspace I am. Given the nature of primacy in our church—and I can only speak for myself—I have to live out of what’s called the Farewell Discourse in John’s gospel, where Jesus is in the upper room and he washes [the disciples’] feet. And he models servant leadership. And then he teaches them, but he teaches by modelling it. And then once he’s done that, he goes on to talk with them about other things: loving one another, going into the world bearing fruit, fruit that will last. He prays for his own consecration, for their consecration, and for all others who will come to believe through their word.

The beauty of that conversation is that we’re drawn into it. It’s an abiding conversation Christ has with his disciples of every age. I’ve often found myself personally needing to place myself again inside that upper room and hear again what Jesus is saying to the disciples, listening for some fresh insight about the kind of community he wants us to be—not just for our own sake but for the sake of the world for which he is about to stretch out his arms on the cross. The kind of authority that the church invests in the office of the primate—that’s its source, that’s its origin.

History and Role of the Primacy - from the Anglican Journal

‘A mirror for the life of our church’: The history and role of the primacy

BY MATT GARDNER AND JOELLE KIDD - February 20, 2019

The primatial cross is the only official symbol of the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. It was first presented to General Synod in 1937 after the submission of numerous designs. The cross is made of silver gilt and features the arms of General Synod and of the four original dioceses of the Canadian church. Photo: Saskia Rowley

The primatial cross is the only official symbol of the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. It was first presented to General Synod in 1937 after the submission of numerous designs. The cross is made of silver gilt and features the arms of General Synod and of the four original dioceses of the Canadian church. Photo: Saskia Rowley

When delegates meet in Vancouver this July for the 42nd General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, they will vote for a new primate to succeed Archbishop Fred Hiltz. But what does being primate of the Anglican Church of Canada really entail?

The primacy has evolved throughout the history of the church. In 1893, the church’s first primate was a diocesan bishop chosen from among the metropolitans, whose only specific duties were to serve as president of General Synod and of the House of Bishops.

Since that time, the office of primate has steadily grown to encompass a national episcopal ministry, in which the primate serves as a figure of unity and a reflection of the diversity, challenges and ministries of the church.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE - IT IS INTERESTING

National Marriage Canon XXI - Deanery Discussions

Greetings!

To the Clergy and Members of the Diocese of Saskatoon, 

Greetings in Christ our Lord and Saviour, in July 2019 the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada will gather in Vancouver to bring to the vote, changes to the Marriage Canon XXI. Leadership of the church recognizes the divisive nature of change and thus far, we the church have been far from exemplary much less Christian to change. To ensure that all voices are heard and that we the Diocese of Saskatoon and its representatives hear you, and that we who will attend General Synod 2019 vote with the greater voice, other than our own... I ask that we gather at Regional Deanery discussions to address the changes and how we as a family in God and community, will step up and forward as a Diocese in faith. 

As a Diocese, we know that we are diverse in practice and thinking as is every community. We as a church need to recognize and respect each other in the upcoming discussions for the diversity that we are as children of God, in the Family of God, for at the end of the day we will still need to walk with each other in love, respect and faith, and believe that God is leading us to something greater than ourselves. There can be unity in diversity, there can be love and hope in a lost and broken world, and it begins with us and our faith witness, and knowledge that God Almighty has this. 

In the Deanery discussions, we will gather to hear an opening presentation from Rev. Marie-Louise Ternier-Gommers and myself, then we will listen to you and your voice, respecting each other and the values that make us who we are in the family of God and a community of faith. We will set as a foundation for the discussions the following passages which will be the center of our dialogue:

1 Corinthians 12:12-20  

 John 17:11-18  

 Links: 

"This Holy Estate" - Commission and report

https://www.anglican.ca/about/ccc/cogs/cmc/ 

In closing, I do ask that you do your home work and read the passages of scripture, search out the reports in the Link provided and attend the meetings with an open heart, speaking and listening with respect and faith. 

In Christ’s service,

+Chris

A Call for Prayer

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A Call to Prayer from the Primate for General Synod 2019

BY FRED HILTZ, ARCHBISHOP AND PRIMATE ON JANUARY 29, 2019

Dear Friends,

The General Synod of our Church will be meeting July 10-16, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia.  The theme is drawn from the 43rd chapter of Isaiah, “I have called you by name.”  One of the important pieces of work in this Synod will be the calling and installation of a new Primate.

In the Church’s discernment of who will be called, there are several periods for which I earnestly ask your prayers.

In the first period, bishops are nominated for this office.  This is the responsibility of the members of the National House of Bishops. I ask you to pray for those who are invited to let their names stand. Pray for those who wrestle with an invitation and for those who accept it.

In the second period, there is a balloting process which takes place at the next meeting of the House of Bishops in March. Balloting continues until a minimum of three or up to five bishops have been named. I ask you to pray for them, for their families, and for their diocesan families.

In the third period, which takes us to General Synod, there is conversation throughout the whole Church, not only about the nominees, but about the nature of primatial ministry. It is, as we all know, one of huge responsibility in:

  • leading our Church in God’s mission in these times;

  • visiting all of our dioceses and territories;

  • pastorally caring for our bishops and nurturing them for their apostolic leadership;

  • working in a particularly close relationship with the National Indigenous Bishop, with respect to the emerging of the self-determining Indigenous Church;

  • representing our Church throughout the Anglican Communion;

  • strengthening our relations with other Churches, particularly in Canada;

  • writing and speaking prophetically to the issues of our times, and

  • forging relationships with people of other faith traditions and all people of good will dedicated to the building of a truly just, healthy and peaceful world.

I ask that your conversations be grounded in prayer.

In the fourth period, the General Synod meets. The election will be held in Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday, July 13th. Following a celebration of Holy Communion, the lay and clergy delegates commence the work entrusted to them. The proceedings are chaired by the Prolocutor Ms. Cynthia Haines-Turner. As the bishops do not vote, they meet apart from the session to uphold the delegates that they may know the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Once an election is declared, the bishops join the delegates in welcoming the Primate-elect.

In that short span of a couple days between the election and the installation, the new Primate will be asking for our prayers. In my own experience, it is heartening to know that one is remembered daily by name and for need of grace, strength and wisdom in the exercise of this ministry.

I pray that for our new Primate such respect, good intent and care on the part of the whole Church will be a blessing beyond measure.

The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
Primate, Anglican Church of Canada

“Almighty God, giver of all good gifts, look on your Church with grace, and guide the minds of those who shall choose a Primate for our beloved Church, that we may receive a faithful servant who will care for your people and support us in our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”