#GS2019

Our Delegates

Our Delegates are Bishop Chris Harper, Archdeacon Ken Watts, Dean Scott Pittendrigh, Ruth Skinner, Chris Wood and Alexa Wallace (Youth Delegate).

Our Delegates are Bishop Chris Harper, Archdeacon Ken Watts, Dean Scott Pittendrigh, Ruth Skinner, Chris Wood and Alexa Wallace (Youth Delegate).

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 16, 2019

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

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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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