House of Bishops Highlights, Spring 2012

Our spring meeting at Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre in Niagara Falls, Ont., was held April 16 to 20 in a context of worship and Bible study. We opened and closed with a Eucharist, the first celebrated by Archbishop Terry Finlay, our chaplain, and the second by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, our Primate.

Archbishop Hiltz brought us together on the first evening with a brief reflection on his ministry. Now in the fifth year of his primacy, Fred invited comments from members of the House both on achievements and challenges during that time. Responses included several affirmations of his primacy as well as several areas where we felt the church should either be more active or play more of a leadership role.

We were honored to have with us Bishop Griselda of the Episcopal Church of Cuba, accompanied by Archdeacon Michael Pollesel, former General Secretary of General Synod who served as her interpreter and by Andrea Mann General Synod’s global relations coordinator.

The Canadian church’s relationship with the church in Cuba goes back 40 years, and is institutionalized in the Canadian church’s involvement in the Metropolitan Council of Cuba which the Canadian Primate chairs. Bishop Griselda briefed us on the vibrant but struggling church that she leads. Her presentation was enhanced by a photographic slide show of parish buildings, some of which are magnificent and many of which sorely need renovation, which is hindered by the lack of resources.

Our meeting included several discussions on on-going work such as a discussion on Eucharistic hospitality in the context of Christian hospitality and discipleship. Recognizing that this is a complex matter requiring careful work and reflection, the House agreed to ask the Primate to strike a working group which will include bishops, theologians and people expert in congregational development to assist us in the discernment of appropriate guidelines for us to consider at our next meeting.

We approved revisions to the handbook of the Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination (ACPO).

We heard several informational presentations including one on process for dealing with the Anglican Communion Covenant, one on several aspects of Indigenous ministries including the Mississauga Declaration and this summer’s Sacred Circle, one on a General Synod initiative to gather national statistics on the church from dioceses and one on the pension plan for clergy and lay people.

We also heard several updates—on Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogues, on the continuing Indaba process, on the Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative, on structural developments in the Diocese of Moosonee and on chaplaincy in the Canadian Forces.

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