We envision a church growing
in membership, faith and service in God’s world
November 2006, Mississauga, Ont.
(Queen of Apostles)
Friday, Nov. 10
Members of the Council gathered for Eucharist at 7:30 a.m. Council convened at 9.
The Primate welcomed members of the Council. Jim Cowan of the planning and agenda team reviewed the agenda. He explained that committee reports will be received “in an omnibus motion” in order to give council members more time to speak among themselves and to look at six major issues that are before them. An act of remembrance will be built into the worship tomorrow, which is Remembrance Day. Archbishop Terry Finlay, the council’s chaplain, lead members through worship.
Minutes from the previous meeting were adopted. The Primate conveyed regrets from several members and congratulated the Rev. James Robinson who has been named a Canon. Elizabeth Hutchinson replaces Sue Winn, elected deputy prolocutor. He welcomed Rev. Gloria Moses, partner from ACIP, Denise Hambidge from the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, Rev. Sonia Free from ELCIC, and the new president of the ECUSA House of Deputies, Bonnie Anderson, Patricia Bays, chair of the Windsor Response Group, and Monica Patten, chair of the Finance Committee.
Council approved a motion receiving reports from General Synod standing committees and councils and began considering action items arising from reports.
Council dealt with motions from the Handbook Concerns Committee and the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee. Council approved an FWM motion dealing with copyright of liturgical resources of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada. Council approved a motion inviting the United Church and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to name partners to General Synod. Council approved a number of motions contained in the Council of the North report, including one that a member be appointed to the Governance Task Force. Dean Peter Elliott, the prolocutor, noted that Archbishop Caleb Lawrence has been appointed to this task force.
Council considered and approved a motion from the House of Bishops dealing with Guidelines for the Conduct of a Primatial Election. The major effect of the change to the guidelines would be to allow a bishop nominated for the primacy to consent or not to being nominated.
Council considered a number of motions from the Pension Committee including the final motion required to effect the merger of the General Synod pension plan and the diocese of Montreal pension plan.
Recess for lunch. Council reconvened at 2 p.m.
Archbishop Andrew Hutchison said he uses his reflections at CoGS in two ways: one is to be accountable for the way he uses his time, and the other is to raise concerns.
- Since the last meeting he has been in 11 dioceses, 16 parishes, all four provinces; he has now visited 29 of the 30 dioceses, with only Athabasca remaining.
- He has visited Fort Smith, his first visit to the Arctic since becoming Primate.
- He has visited the United States twice, including a visit to the national convention, which was an opportunity to say farewell to Frank Griswold.
- He has also been to the UK twice, the first time on a visit that included some time with Rowan Williams. The Primate said he has discussed the issue of invitations to Lambeth with the Archbishop of Canterbury and advised him to issue invitations to all bishops. He also reminded him that he is under no requirement to summon Lambeth every 10 years. “I don’t think he will act on that.” He met representatives of the New England Company. He had a good visit to the Anglican Communion Office and spent some time with the staff. Also met some media representatives.
- The second visit to the UK was on the invitation of the Bishop of Coventry. Coventry has assumed a role in reconciliation, and invited Anglican primates to spend a week together without media or staff. It was a good gathering, both encouraging and disappointing – there were only 14 primates there, but the dialogue was encouraging.
- He was invited to address the General Synod in Brazil but was unable to attend because of a family health crisis. Archdeacon Paul Feheley delivered his address on his behalf.
- He attended some of the International AIDS Conference in Toronto last summer, introducing an AIDS photography and audio display. Also did a web cast on AIDS.
- The House of Bishops met recently. Once again, the tone of the meeting was very good. One area discussed was the presence of media at the house. There was a motion from the province of Rupert’s Land to have meetings of the house closed to media. It was eventually decided to make time on the agenda for private sessions but to allow the media to attend as a rule. The information officer will remain during closed sessions and draft a message to the church for release after the meeting.
- A nomination has been made by ACIP for the office of National Indigenous Bishop and there should be an announcement in early December.
- Sue Parks from the Lambeth organization committee attended part of the meeting.
- The Primate attended the installation of the new Presiding Bishop in Washington. He spent a hour with her the day before the installation and spoke about a number of things, including the roles of the U.S. and Canadian churches in Cuba. The new PB will be with him in Cuba in February. The installation was a magnificent event, if a bit over-produced.
- The Bishop of Ottawa has resigned diocesan duties but will assume a greater role with the Armed Forces. The House of Bishops has given the new Anglican Indigenous Bishop and the Bishop Ordinary standing in the House.
- Youth continues to be a priority and he commended the generation.ca website.
- “The penny finally dropped for me at the House of Bishops that three years pass very quickly, because there we were making plans that don’t include me. I suddenly realized that this is real and coming to pass very quickly. .. As I come close to that I am profoundly aware that we in the church are at a time of profoundly important transition. The word crisis come to mind but at the bottom of the crisis is opportunity. … For all the downs and the negative stuff, I see all kinds of signs of the spirit at work and that reassures me about the outcome.”
Members of the Council responded to the Primate’s reflections with questions and comments.
Information on priorities (committee of the whole)
Dean Peter Elliott, prolocutor, described the background to work on priorities and the process under which the Council will address this topic. There are six major issues: the prioritized operation plan (POP), the budget, the Windsor report, the St. Michael report, governance and General Synod. The topics are to be introduced this afternoon and will be considered more closely in distinct forums that council members will attend according to their own interest, tomorrow.
Sue Winn: Prioritized Operations Plan group
Sue described the background to the work on priorities and the work of the POP group. She described the operational principles formulated by the group and reviewed the six recommendations that the group formulated, including a recommendation that the ABC storefront be closed.
Monica Patten: the 2007 budget
Monica summarized the 2007 budget of General Synod. She said the budget strikes a balance between focusing on abundance and being accountable for resources available. The budget before the council is balanced.
Patricia Bays: the Windsor report
Patricia introduced a draft report on the Windsor report that is before the council. She described the process by which the report was drafted and summarized its content. The report also suggests some motions and resolutions that the council might develop and consider.
Stephen Andrews: the St. Michael Report
Stephen described the Primate’s Theological Commission and the work that went into the unanimous report (St. Michael’s report).
Peter Elliott: Governance
Peter described the mandate of this group and its work. The group so far has met only by conference call. A face-to-face meeting is scheduled for later this fall. Dean Elliott said that the church system works, but is slow and clumsy and could probably work better. He said we need to determine what the role of General Synod is and then find a structure that will allow for it to function best.
Barbara Burrows and Dean Peter Wall, General Synod
Dean Wall described the meeting that will happen next year in broad terms and noted several ways in which it will differ from other General Synods. He spoke about partners who will attend and about some of the issues that will be before the synod.
Council approved for trial use and evaluation several French texts, including for the ordination of deacons priests and bishops.
Council resumed at 7 p.m. Council members watched a DVD on the ECUSA General Convention and heard from ECUSA partner Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies.
Ms Anderson reflected on the state of the Anglican Communion and on many of the similarities and commonalities between the Canadian and U.S. churches. “I wonder if we don’t have before us the opportunity to create a model of mutuality in the communion.” We have, for example the opportunity to model inclusivity between clergy and lay people and it would be good if we could do this before Lambeth.
Council members made comments and asked questions.
Council adjourned at 8:40 p.m.