THURSDAY, MAY 4
were welcomed to the diocese of Frederiction by Bishop Bill Hockin. He noted the diocese is a place of great civility and warmth. Ten percent of the province is Anglican, and the province has the highest rate of every-Sunday attendance in Canada: 28 percent compared with the national average of 20 percent.
opened with worship and bible study on Colossians 2:1-7;
received an update from various sources on aspects of residential schools work.
Archdeacon Jim Boyles reminded the group that the goals we have been working on are healing and reconciliation ; survival (so that we can continue to work at healing); agreement with the government (so that we can survive). He also noted:
- Claims continue to arise. There are about 1,600 plaintiffs now involving the Anglican Church, out of the 7,000 involving the Government of Canada.
- About 100 of the Anglican-related cases involve an abuser who has been convicted in criminal court.
- The Mowatt appeal (the first case arising from the sexual abuse committed by Derek Clarke at St. George’s School, Lytton) is proceeding but will not be heard before the fall, or possibly early in 2001.
- Additional St. George’s cases are proceeding. They are focused on the amount of settlement; the result of the Mowatt appeal will apply to these cases retroactively
- Saskatchewan cases will proceed in the fall with eight cases fast-tracked in a “litigation management” process; one of those involves us.
- ADR processes in negotiation in southern Saskatchewan; progress is slow. We don’t yet have a list of participants or an agreement with government on apportioning the costs of the process;
Doug Tindal, Director of Information Resources, gave an overview of public opinion research . Canadians expect the church to do all it can to meet its obligations, but 80 percent say the church should not be forced into bankruptcy.
Archdeacon Boyles said the churches have been meeting with government figures to address their mutual goal of continuing the viability of the church organizations.
- continued education of our members and of the public at large is needed to assist with this process.
- A fact sheet will be provided to help members of CoGS to discuss the issues with their Members of Parliament.
- A paper on the assets and structure of General Synod, prepared by a team from Ernst and Young, has been approved by FMD and presented to government officials.
- Legal costs in the first quarter of 2000 total $112,000.
Bishop Don Harvey reported for the Financial Management and Development committee and said FMD has sought to avoid being either overly alarmist or overly complacent. He reported:
- There was a deficit of over $2 million last year, primarily due to residential schools costs. Revenue in the current year is likely to be $500,000 short.
- FMD will recommend that scenarios involving 10%, 20% and 30% reductions be developed for the 2001 budget.
Nick Parker reported for the Residential Schools Litigation Advisory Group . He said we have to engage Parliamentarians to help them understand the issues and give them increased priority.
The General Secretary reported for the Officers. They have considered the issue of settlements and authorized the General Secretary to work toward settlements in certain areas.
Carol Throp (Rupert’s Land) reported for the Mission Coordination Group . MCG considered how to continue the mission of the church without a General Synod and suggested regrouping the church around three areas: Anglican Appeal, overseas work, and leadership functions.
Alyson Barnett-Cowan, Director of Faith, Worship and Ministry, reported on staff conversations. The staff mandate continues to be to work in the priorities of the strategic plan, but there is a sapping of energy from the uncertainty and stress of the time.
moved in camera to discuss the morning’s information. The following summary of discussion was subsequently prepared:
Healing and Reconciliation
- We need greater clarity about what we mean by those terms. We need common language and understanding, a way of connecting with that goal more concretely.
- Our Healing and Reconciliation Fund has made grants totaling more than $500,000 since its inception in 1991. The grants are managed by the Anglican Council of Indigenous People. A complete list of the initiatives it has supported is available on our web site, or from the national office. The range of projects gives an indication of our understanding of healing and reconciliation.
- This is our primary goal and we must keep centered on it. Even though the legal proceedings compel our attention, we must remember that the people who are suing us are not there just for the money. They’re also seeking healing.
- We don’t know what’s going to happen and we can’t control it, so we have to go by faith. We should focus on the healing and reconciliation, find people who are gifted in that work and get on with it.
- The Good Friday experience is extremely difficult and painful; but avoiding it is not helpful. So we have to be careful identifying what is depressing, as opposed to being part of the way of the cross; and what is truly hopeful for everyone.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes
ADR offers potential advantages over litigation. In particular, it is seen to be more humane than an adversarial legal process, and so to avoid the “re-vicitimization” that may occur in a trial setting. There is also the potential to work with large numbers of claimants at a time, so the process may be faster than litigation. Finally, it may be possible to go beyond the boundaries of strict legal liability within an ADR process in order to work toward community healing.
Effects on Partners
Our overseas partners were notified in December 1999, and ecumenical coalitions in January 2000, that there are no guarantees of funding after this year. Most of the money that we contribute to partners and coalitions is used for salaries.
The General Secretary meets with our lawyers, including some diocesan lawyers, each month by conference call. At the most recent meeting there were nine lawyers involved.
Advocacy with government
- We will begin now to mobilize our members to speak with their Members of Parliament. A fact sheet will be available by the end of this meeting to assist with this.
- Nationally, we are working with a consultant named Michael Butler, formerly a senior civil servant. He is helping us to focus government attention on the policy areas that need attention.
- Other denominations are also involved in our talks with government; and we are also raising the case of those dioceses which are financially pressed.
- A bankruptcy proceeding would apply only to the assets of General Synod, not to dioceses.
- The Pension fund is separate by legislation. It would not be liquidated in a bankruptcy proceeding
- Anglican Appeal is not a separate fund. It supports the work in the North and Overseas through the general funds of the church
- An alternative to bankruptcy might be to seek the protection of the Companies Creditors Arrangements Act (CCAA), which allows an organization time to restructure
‘Business as usual’
- We are proceeding on two tracks. Crisis response is on one track. The other, as far as possible, is ‘business as usual,’ as for example in planning for a General Synod in 2001. Our continuing mission is what justifies our survival.
- Our building redevelopment is proceeding. On the one hand, we have a contract; on the other, the redevelopment increases the value of our assets and so offers no threat to creditors.
received the report of the Partners in Mission Committee recommending that the church hold a Partners in Mission Consultation later this year to receive the advice of overseas and ecumenical partners; and heard of the committee’s recent visit with the church in Cuba . The church lacks material wealth, but the local communities are ‘sure of who they are as Anglicans, even if the building lacks a complete roof.’[ Note: All committee reports are presented initially for information; action items are highlighted for later debate and decision. ]
heard the report of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples , whose members have been involved in a number of significant activities, including: development of the Jubilee Year III theme . Renewal of the Earth: An Indigenous Perspective ; meeting with the Aboriginal Rights Coalition; upholding the people of the Diocese of Keewatin on the development of a reconciliation and healing strategy; and contributing articles to a First Peoples Theology Journal. The Anglican Indigenous Sacred Circle this August will focus on the theme Walking a New Vision.
received the report of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund , recommending that it incorporate and register as a charitable organization . The recommendation follows extensive research and consultation, including a thorough review of draft articles of incorporation. The new corporation will have three classes of membership: Dioceses will be voting members and will send a representative to the PWRDF Annual Meeting. Parishes will be associate (non-voting) members. Individuals who have made a significant contribution to the work of the fund may be recognized as honorary (non-voting) members. The relationship between the PWRDF corporation and the Anglican Church will be set out in formal agreements. The Primate retains an important role as a member of the Board of Directors and of its nominating committee.
heard that last week’s shareholder action related to Talisman Energy (initiated by the Task Force on Churches and Corporate Responsibility) received the support of 27 percent of the shares voted, a high percentage given the competing initiative issued by the company. Discussion about the possibility of divesting the Anglican Church’s shares in Talisman is ongoing.
heard a proposal for a working group to take an initiative on ” Dignity, Inclusion and Fair Treatment .” Members of this Council participated last fall in a workshop on communication around “hot” topics, using the controversial human rights principles (defeated in the 1998 General Synod) as a case study. Out of that experience a number of members agreed to do further work. Their proposal is that framing the issue as Dignity, Inclusion and Fair Treatment may offer some hope for resolution. They suggest a group of nine persons, representing diverse views, be asked to bring a report and recommendation to General Synod in 2001.
heard the Primate’s reflections on his sabbatical and the meetings that interrupted it.
Lessons from Australia
The Australian church is like us in many ways but radically different in others, suggesting that a visit to it would be instructive. In census terms it’s very similar, but its General Synod has a staff of only four. It does no program nationally. No national pension plan or publishing activity; no support for dioceses or missions. All those things are done either by dioceses or by independent agencies.
Constitutionally the church looks very similar to ours, but its canons become effective only when approved by two-thirds of the dioceses, and they are then effective only in those dioceses that approve them. The church requires a constitutional database to determine which canon is effective in which diocese. “This is a certain way of living together that is quite different from our understanding of a national life.
“So what I really learned was much more about the Anglican Church of Canada and what are our strengths in our present difficulties. In Australia, the dioceses are asked for contributions to support programmatic work, and some pay nothing because they don’t want the General Synod doing any program.
“It seems to me that in the event of having to reconstitute a lot of things [if the General Synod were to go bankrupt], we would have some kinds of fundamental
commitment to the enterprise that we hardly realize are there.”
Recalling the history of the church in Canada, Archbishop Peers said: “It took a long time for us to get to the moment in 1893 that created the General Synod, and not all dioceses were prepared to participate; one didn’t join for another 15 years.
“But I think that first primate’s words, that ‘the enterprise is not for harmony but for strength,’ has taken root in our church, in ways I didn’t fully appreciate until I took this voyage.”
Our experience with restoration
Earlier in the day, Archbishop Peers had stressed the disruption that would be caused by a bankruptcy, in contrast to those who might see it as a relatively easy way forward. In the evening he spoke of his hope for the future and recalled an earlier bankruptcy in the life of the church.
“In the early 30s, as a result of criminal mal-administration of funds by a chancellor, the Province of Rupert’s Land went bankrupt, along with most of its dioceses. From 1932 to 1935 – not exactly prime time for fundraising! – the rest of the church created the Restoration Fund and returned the province to financial stability.
“So we have been here before.”
Anglican Communion essentials
Archbishop Peers commented on the Primates Meeting March 22 to 29 in Portho, Portugal. He said the closing communiqué has received significant criticism, particularly, in his view, because of the paragraph in which it contrasts impaired communion with “a definitive rupture.”
The communiqué says “the unity of the Communion as a whole still rests on the Lambeth Quadrilateral…. Only a formal and public repudiation of this would place a diocese or Province outside the Anglican Communion.” Archbishop Peers said this has been criticized because it offends those who want to be able to say to someone else, ‘you can’t do that.’
But, he said, “this is consistent in my opinion with what it means to be an Anglican. It is possible to say, ‘my church is so far removed from the way I understand the Gospel that I cannot stand it,’ and leave. In fact, an Archbishop of Canterbury in 1690 said just that, and resigned.
“We can do that. But we can’t say, I disagree with you, and you go.”
FRIDAY MAY 5
received the recommendations of the Planning and Agenda Team about Planning for the Future . It noted there are two kinds of planning tasks : managing the work in terms of the 2000 and 2001 budgets; preparing for the future by envisioning new forms of organization. It suggested a task force should assist the Church House Management Team with the first set of tasks; and a ‘Planning for the Future’ group should be established for the second. Also, additional persons should be named to advise the Officers if the continuing depletion of resources requires them to act between meetings of the Council. The task of the Council at this meeting is to provide advice and guidance to the groups working on both sets of tasks. Specific resolutions and processes to enable this work will be presented Saturday.
established , by a vote of 18 to 16, a moratorium on external communications until the council has developed a communication plan for this meeting, after several expressions of concern about news coverage.
visited the parish of Prince William for an overview of European colonial and missionary history of New Brunswick, followed by lunch.
met with members of the Diocese of Fredericton and learned about the program of the diocese. Popular programs such as youth summer camps are partly subsidized, and generate revenue in their ecumenical popularity. The diocese had an innovative process for setting the agenda of its recent Synod. All parishes were asked to articulate what the “troubling issues” are for the Church. The top issue of concern among parishioners was the dwindling numbers of young people in Church communities. The process, outcome and strategies developed at the Synod will be posted on the diocesan web site; and shared information about the General Synod and its program with members of the Dioceses; and previewed the new video, Northern Ministry: An Anglican Challenge , featuring the mission of Council of the North.
SATURDAY, MAY 6
supported the Primate’s Fund in proceeding with incorporation as a charitable corporation working in association with the Anglican Church of Canada. The 18 members of the current PWRDF committee will become the first Directors of the new board. It is not anticipated that there will be any significant increase in costs from this move. The move is taken to ensure appropriate stewardship of the contributions entrusted to the Fund. An administrative agreement to be negotiated with the General Synod will allow parallel human resource management practices and policies. Information about the incorporation will be provided to members and parishes through the Anglican Journal and the Under the Sun PWRDF newsletter.
discussed a series of resolutions (to be voted on later) intended to deal with a projected revenue shortfall of $500,000 in 2000; and increasing financial pressures in 2001.
addressed long-standing concerns about administrative and governance issues of the ecumenical coalitions by establishing a Coalitions Advisory Group to advise the Directors of Partnerships and PWRDF in negotiations with partner churches and the coalitions themselves. The negotiations, around the future shape of ecumenical justice work, are based on an emerging consensus in the three committees which fund this work (PWRDF, Partnerships and EcoJustice) and will produce recommendations to the fall meeting of CoGS.
referred back to Information Resources a question about translation of resources;
endorsed the call of the World Council of Churches for a Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches seeking reconciliation and peace ; and adopted a response developed by the EcoJustice and Partnership committees.
elected the Rev. Sue Moxley as the ordained representative of the church to the Anglican Consultative Council ; the Rev. Alan Box is an alternate.
appointed a task force comprising the co-chairs of the mission coordination group, the chair of financial management and development, and two or three others, one of whom shall be a representative of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, to consult with committees and staff, and make proposals for the 2001 budget .
directed the Church House Management Team to ensure that year 2000 expenses (excluding residential schools expenses and extraordinary costs of reorganization) do not exceed revenues for the year 2000. Although revenue is projected to be $500,000 under budget, the budget also projected a $276,000 surplus (meaning the amount to be dealt with is $224,000).
appointed a Planning for the Future task group to consider alternate forms of organization and prepare options for General Synod 2001.
resolved that Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples representatives participate whenever decisions that alter ministry with Indigenous people are being made
worked in small groups to provide advice in four areas: key messages we want to communicate; values we want to uphold; core competencies we want to sustain; valued relationships we want to honour.
received a priority listing developed by a “forced-choice” exercise earlier in the day. The ratings showed a special concern for healing and reconciliation work at this time, and for Council of the North; otherwise, the Council “owns all the work” without much differentiation. Apart from the two special concerns noted, the responses in other words do not give clear guidance about program change.
heard the reflections of the ACIP partners.
Gladys Cook noted the significance of opening every day with bible study and song. It was important to sing the hymn All Shall Be Well . But why was there not a shared grace before meals?
Our moods have been sometimes very solemn and sometimes almost drained out. There was a lot of fear in some of the things we heard. There were some heavy-duty words: healing and reconciliation. Litigation. Assets. Lobbying. Scrutinize carefully. Incorporation. Environment. Heavy-duty words but they didn’t have a spiritual connotation. “We’ve done a lot of work, but for who? Where is the Christ in all this?
“My input on the residential schools as I see it: It was government funded, run by Church. There was breaking of God’s law. We (the people in my community) are not talking about suing, we’re talking about restitution, about compensation, which means to right a wrong; a wrong done to thousands of children across Canada. God’s children. We’re all God’s children, but there was wrong in God’s house. I found these verses in Ecclesiastes chapter 4:
Again I saw all the oppressions that are practiced under the sun. Look, the tears of the oppressed – with no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power – with no one to comfort them. And I thought the dead, who have already died, more fortunate than the living….
And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.
“The three fold cord makes me think of my braid of sweetgrass,” Ms. Cook said.
The Rev. Mervyn Wolfleg suggested the ‘seven words’ Christ spoke from the cross may offer a framework for healing.
Father forgive them… can apply to those that say I am not guilty of generational guilt; those that are suffering in generation after generation of abuse; those Anglicans who are now going to courts to seek redress; those who are no longer Anglicans, who are in the same courtrooms.
You’ll be with me in paradise was Jesus’ reply to the lament of the thief. So the promise of paradise applies to the abuser, those they abused, and their descendants who have become abusers.
Behold your son, behold your mother applies to the survivors who grew up with surrogate parents. Bless those parents and bless those children. “In a lot of cases, like that of my wife and my dad the Church was a real parent to them. A lot of us went to foster parents and adoptive parents and a most of us raised ourselves. I was 7 when I went to residential school and stayed there 11 ½ years. I don’t know what it’s like to have a parent.”
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Christ knows how it feels to be forsaken. He experienced that loneliness. “That word of abandonment could also be applied to the Church now. I think I heard that anguish in this assembly here.”
I thirst. These are very human words of someone who feels unloved. The abusers felt that and those that they abused certainly felt that too. Holding up the Anglican Journal’s special section on residential schools, Mr. Wolfleg said: “when I saw this I thought, ‘this is my family album.’ This is how I lived. This picture [boys lying on cots in a dormitory] caught my eye. That’s all we had. We didn’t own any belongings but our clothes. The only space we had was our beds.
It is finished. Our primate commented on the Good Friday experience. What are the ramifications for Indigenous people? Are we going to be labeled like the Jews as those who killed Christ? Will it be said that Indigenous people killed the body of Christ? ‘It is finished’ can mean the final split, the disassociation of Indigenous people of Canada with Christianity, not only in Canada, but worldwide.
Lord, into your hands I commend my spirit . There’s a correlation to the four tools of colonization. Doctors correlate with the heart. Preachers correlate with the soul; teachers, the mind; traders, the strength to earn a living. When Indigenous people think of commending their spirits to the care of god, I’m afraid if they won’t want to do that, because their spirit is the last thing they can call their own.
discussed the results of the small group work from the afternoon. The Primate recalled that the principle on which the 1995 strategic plan was founded was articulated as, not what do I think is most important ? but what is the essential work of the church which, if it weren’t done nationally, wouldn’t be done at all ?
endorsed a proposed series of diocesan consultations to take place in the fall. Suggested topics include: Planning for the Future (common to all); and a choice of: What does the Covenant mean?; Liturgy after 2001; Anglican Lutheran relationships; Human sexuality; fundraising; international partnerships.
formed a group (members to be appointed subsequently) to develop a statement of Dignity, Inclusion and Fair Treatment for all persons in the Anglican Church of Canada and report to the fall Council meeting on its progress.
heard the reflections of the ecumenical partners. Jon Fogleman of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada said “I want you to know that our hearts and minds are with you in this, and we are fully committed to 2001.” He said the ELCIC passed a “heartfelt motion” extending its support and solidarity with members of Anglican Church around the residential schools issue “and inviting members to articulate specific actions that our church can consider that would be helpful at this time.”
“And when that motion passed, one of the members leaned over to me and said, ‘Jon, be sure and tell them we are serious.’ We are looking for concrete ways we can be with you.”
Thomas Chu of the Episcopal Church U.S.A shared “A Covenant of Faith” by Indigenous members of ECUSA as an example of the solidarity and partnership of our churches. He noted that the devolution of youth work to dioceses means that the nationally elected youth members of the Council have no connection to their constituency. The program of our churches is complementary in some respects. The youth ministry cluster of ECUSA for example maintains a relationship with Canadian diocesan youth ministry contacts.
SUNDAY, MAY 7
Opened with a Eucharist. Preaching on Luke’s description of Jesus’ appearance among the disciples on Easter night, Archbishop Michael Peers called attention to Jesus’ “simple words” to them: “touch me”.
Archbishop Peers interpreted Jesus words in this way: “What you witness to is not simply what I say, but what I am in every fibre of my being. That I am here startles and frightens you. But that I am here after the road I have traveled through death and resurrection – that I am here after that, is the Good News. That is what you are to be witnesses of.”
approved some advice to the working groups and task forces mandated during this meeting, including groups to:
- make adjustments to the 2000 budget;
- prepare a 2001 budget
- propose alternate forms of organization
- make decisions about financial viability if required
Values to be upheld are faithfulness; repentance and forgiveness; willingness to change; hopefulness; truth-telling, transparency and integrity.
Essential competencies to be retained are framed in light of the question, ‘what essential work, if it were not done nationally, would not be done at all?’ These competencies are the primacy and the capacities to: respond to litigation and contribute to healing and reconciliation; gather Indigenous Anglicans nationally; gather representatives of all orders from all dioceses; support assisted dioceses; remain connected to the Anglican Communion; authorize liturgical texts; develop our relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; communicate with ecclesiastical provinces, dioceses, parishes, and individual Anglicans.
Desirable competencies include the capacity to: nurture ecumenical relationships; support meetings of the House of Bishops; contribute to partnerships in the Anglican Communion; advocate for social justice and prophetic ministry; network among ecclesiastical provinces, dioceses, parishes, and individual Anglicans.
It is understood that the Primate’s Fund (through incorporation) and the Pension Fund (by legislation) will continue.
Key messages to Management Team include: consider suspending programs, not eliminating them; staff must be treated fairly and justly; staff must give input to all task forces regarding cutbacks, alterations and the future.
Key messages to standing committees and councils include: do what you can within your mandate and resources to contribute to healing and reconciliation; use the November meeting to prepare committee reports for General Synod and plan for the future.
received a draft statement on healing and reconciliation and commended it to the Council and House of Bishops for further reflection.
endorsed guidelines developed by the Canadian Council of Churches for religious ceremonies involving more than one faith tradition.
approved certain technical changes to the Pension Fund regulations
approved a procedure for the election of Prolocutor and Deputy Prolocutor
approved continuing with plans to produce daily broadcasts from General Synod 2001, on the basis that this is a time when we most need to tell our story.
directed that the General Synod find a way of consulting with international and ecumenical partners before the end of 2000, asking for their advice as we plan for our future.
suggested ways in which the Canadian government might help the government of China to alleviate negative results of its One Child Policy, based on consultation with the China Christian Council
expanded the membership of the Residential Schools Litigation Advisory Committee
sent thanks to the executive council of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. and to the council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada for their expressions of concern and solidarity.
directed the Management Team and Officers to develop a detailed crisis management plan in the event of a bankruptcy of General Synod and report it to the fall meeting
requested the General Secretary to assess the feasibility of establishing a fund to compensate victims of abuse at residential schools formerly associated with the Anglican Church
discussed a draft Communiqué and commended suggestions for change to the drafting committee and the General Secretary.
approved a summary of the discussion that had previously been held ‘in camera’.