The Council of General Synod celebrated the eucharist, with Bishop Ann Tottenham presiding and preaching in memoriam of Bishop Paul Moore of New York.
The Council engaged in Bible study of Acts 2:2-4.
Marion Jenkins introduced the theme of intentional listening . Jim Boyles reported that four dioceses have held their sessions and reported, 10 have held them and are yet to report, and others are yet to be held. The Planning and Agenda Team will receive and analyze the reports and prepare a summary for the November meeting of the Council.
Sally Tuckey and Dorothy Davies-Flindall had a conversation about their experience of the intentional listening consultations; table groups discussed their experience and shared insights and questions in plenary.
The Council heard from Betty Livingstone from the Financial Management and Development Committee , who presented the audited financial statements of General Synod and the Consolidated Trust Fund for 2002. The Council approved the financial statements .
The Council directed that the Planning and Agenda Team provide an opportunity for representatives of the Financial Management and Development Committee to meet with them in order to express their concerns relating to the strategic planning process .
The Primate presented the report of the House of Bishops . The House approved a motion welcoming the appointment of Bishop William Hockin as Episcopal Visitor in the Diocese of New Westminster, with delegated pastoral authority. It further requested that Bishop Terry Buckle withdraw his offer of alternative episcopal oversight. (see the report of the meeting of the House of Bishops on www.anglican.ca for the exact wording of these motions).
Stephen Lane from the Episcopal Church USA offered partner’s reflections . Their Executive Council introduced a motion to give $1 million US to the Canadian church but referred it to the Presiding Bishop so that he could consult with the Primate as to how that money might best be used.
Issues coming to General Convention this summer: canons relating to ordination, to make provision for alternative forms of ministry, including direct ordination to the priesthood; report from monitoring of the ordination of women; proposal to bless same sex unions; 6% budget cut; report on the 20-20 process and new ministries arising from it.
He observed that the critical conversation of last evening took place when people were very tired. He commends ongoing work at community-building as critical for the life of the council.
The Council expressed gratitude to the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church for their generous offer of support.
At its last meeting, the Council asked the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee, in consultation with others, to suggest ways in which the matter of the blessing of same sex unions could be addressed at General Synod 2004. Eric Beresford made a presentation on behalf of the committee of a proposal for contracting with facilitators for a consultation on the blessing of same sex relationships . The Council endorsed the proposal that Faith Worship and Ministry engage facilitators/consultants to work with members of Faith Worship and Ministry and staff to gather the information sought in the proposal and to design the processes by which the groups will be engaged, to run the consultations, to assist in interpreting the results of these consultations, and to prepare a report and make recommendations, and that the Council provide budgetary assistance for these consultations.
Fred Hiltz and Helena Houldcroft brought several other resolutions from the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee . The Council commended the document ‘Life: Patent Pending : a discussion guide on Biotechnology and The Oncomouse’ produced by the Canadian Council of Churches for study in the Anglican Church of Canada. It also endorsed the ‘covenant’ written by the Ecumenical Task Force on Health Care and conceptually incorporated into the Romanow Report.
It was noted that the General Synod had called for a service of ‘ Renewal of Marriage Vows or On the Anniversary of a Marriage ‘; this service already exists in the Book of Occasional Celebrations.
Council declined to adopt a particular Ecumenical Vision Statement for the Anglican Church of Canada
Council endorsed and supported a proposal for gatherings of young leadership of the Anglican Church of Canada as part of the orientation of the new Primate.
The Council authorized increasing the membership of the Primate’s Theological Commission from 10 to 12 in order to make provision for greater cultural diversity .
Fred Hiltz reported from the Joint Anglican Lutheran Commission . The Council approved revised ‘Guidelines for Anglican and Lutheran Priests and Pastors Serving Appointments in Each Other’s Churches’ and revised ‘Guidelines for Common Worship’.
The Council established a joint task force with the ELCIC to undertake a study of the theology and practice of confirmation in the two churches .
Matthew Kett reported from the EcoJustice Committee. Responding to a request from them and from Partners in Mission, the Council commended the HIV-AIDS documenting originating in Southern Africa for widespread distribution and action and endorsed the proposal from the Committees that an educational session on HIV-AIDS to be held at General Synod 2004 .
Various members of the Council spoke of their experience with the need for action and education about HIV-AIDS in Africa and in Canada.
Returning to Financial Management and Development Committee matters, the Council requested the Chancellor to prepare a motion to General Synod 2004 to amend the constitution to include the Treasurer as an Officer of General Synod , and report to the Council in November 2003.
Charles Bobbish from the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples offered partner’s reflections . He said that he is honoured to be in Blackfoot territory. He finds this meeting to be different from any other in which he participates. The procedures are foreign to him, and he feels sorry for newcomers. If we want more aboriginal people involved, we need to make systems simpler. The only matter that aboriginal people oppose about the residential schools settlement is the timing. They were not ready for the signing and wanted more time. He hopes that the government will not take a long time in responding to concerns raised about the agreement.
After dinner, Tom Morgan reported on behalf of the Pensions Committee. The Council agreed to make some changes to Section A.3. of the Long Term Disability Plan with respect to the Board of Trustees being the Administrator effective November 18, 2000, having authority to delegate responsibility for administration.
The Council appointed Judith Robinson as Associate Director of Pensions effective July 1, 2003, and Director of Pensions effective January 1, 2004 .
Cynthia Haines-Turner reported from the Mission Coordination Group . Active participation by representatives of all committees is encouraged to ensure effective program coordination and communication.
After some discussion of matters relating to residential schools , Council agreed unanimously to urge the government of Canada , and specifically the Office of Indian Residential Schools Resolution, to take seriously the concerns raised by Aboriginal Peoples as it designs its alternative dispute resolution processes and the accompanying releases .
The Council requested the Healing Fund Committee to review its terms of reference and funding criteria in the light of the need for church participation in restoration of language and culture through programmatic grants .
The Council agreed to communicate to the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and to the Prime Minister, its displeasure concerning the manner in which the recent closure of the east coast cod fishery was implemented without prior consultation with the fishing communities affected; urged the DFO and government officials to increase pressure on foreign commercial fisheries to reduce the amount of fishing now occurring in international waters which are in close proximity to the Canadian areas now closed; and urged the DFO to take seriously the devastating effects of the escalating seal population on the future recovery of this fishery .
The Council concluded the evening with Night Prayer.
CoGS Highlights will not appear tomorrow as the Council members will be visiting various sites in the Diocese of Calgary. The final edition will appear if possible on Sunday evening, or on Monday morning.