Wednesday, Nov. 14
The Council of General Synod gathered first at Church House in Toronto, celebrating the eucharist together in the Chapel of the Holy Apostles. Members were greeted by the Primate, and heard an update from the General Secretary on residential schools litigation issues. Members toured the offices of General Synod and met with staff before departing for Geneva Park. After dinner, members prayed Night Prayer and shared their hopes and fears for the meeting.
Thursday, November 15
The Primate welcomed members and introduced staff and partners : from the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, their co-chairs Verna Firth and Todd Russell ; from the Episcopal Church USA, Warren Ramshaw ; from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Mark Harris . Members and functions of the sessional committees were introduced.
As an exercise in community building, table groups made collages of their images of church . Members sang a hymn instructing them about how to manage their paper.
The Council accepted the invitation of the Bishop of Niagara to hold the 2004 General Synod in Hamilton, Ontario , at McMaster University, within the period June 1 – 9.
The General Secretary reported on the current state of affairs with respect to the legacy of residential schools . He reminded them of the 3 goals which the Council adopted some time ago remain in effect: 1) healing and reconciliation with aboriginal people; 2) the survival of the church; 3) negotiation with the government to reach an acceptable solution. As we struggle with goals 2 and 3, t is important to remember that goal 1 is still primary.
On October 29, the government unilaterally proposed a 70-30 % solution. The church’s initial reaction was to see this as a good first step, as it might allow some plaintiffs to receive redress. However, it is only a first step, and 30% is still too much for the church to be able to pay, given the huge costs of the cases and some of the alternative dispute resolution sessions (ADRs). So far there have been no dates set for further meetings with government; the United Church has called for a mediator to be appointed.
The Officers have asked the General Secretary to continue to explore the government’s expectations with regard to church participation in ADR projects, to make no commitments with regard to participation other than the offer of a pastoral presence if requested by the claimants.
The Officers have monitored the negotiations with the government and have decided to continue in the discussions, but note that the negotiators are not hopeful about reaching a satisfactory agreement.
Staff member Tony Whittingham outlined the communications strategy for the church, which includes working ecumenically. He noted that our goal is not to control the media and the impressions which it creates, but to use our resources to address both our own people and the general public to highlight the values and approaches of the church. During the summer negotiations with the government there was an agreement not to negotiate in the press, an agreement which the government broke on the eve of the September meeting by releasing polls undertaken some months ago.
There has been a flurry of activity lately following the 70% solution proposed by the government, and a fair number of opinion pieces in the national media. The ecumenical group has recently initiated a lobbying campaign using an Ottawa consulting firm, which has resulted in some questions being raised in parliament.
Members wondered if they should write letters to the editor in their newspapers. Anglicans are encouraged to respond as they feel best, and the communications office exists to assist if they want to take advantage of that expertise.
The Council met in camera to consider some options for the church.
After lunch, Archbishop Crawley made a presentation for information, not for action by this body. He recalled that provincial synods have enshrined the canons of General Synod in each of their canons, so that if General Synod ends the law of the church will still remain in effect. The Primate invited the four metropolitans to consider how some national expression of Anglican identity might be put into effect. The metropolitans met with their chancellors, sought legal counsel, and are forming a corporation which will apply for a charitable donation number. A name for the corporation has been chosen, researched and accepted.
The new corporation would only be activated if General Synod should have to cease operations.
No assets may be transferred from General Synod to the new corporation. The new corporation would be transitional; it would be necessary to bring together a constitutive assembly in order to provide it with appropriate governance.
Betty Livingstone presented the report of the Financial Management and Development Committee . The 2002 Budget for General Synod was presented by the Treasurer. It will be debated later in the meeting.
Jim Sweeny and Barry Hollowell presented the report of the Information Resources Committee. The Council agreed to direct the Officers in consultation with the Information Resources Committee to take steps to form a new non-profit, charitable corporation to publish the Anglican Journal and Ministry Matters .
David Wattss presented the report of the Partners in Mission Committee. The Council agreed to re-appoint Dr. Ellie Johnson for a further one-year term as the representative of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada on the Board of Directors of KAIROS : Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives/Initiatives canadiennes oecuméniques pour la justice .
Matthew Kett presented the report of the Eco-Justice Committee.
Following prayer and dinner, the Council traveled to St. James Church in Orillia , where members were welcomed by members of the congregation and by the Rev’d Jane Watanabe, Rector, and Member of General Synod.
The Primate gave his report , speaking as usual around the account of his time since the last meeting of the Council (March 2001). He noted that we often think we are doing something, and assess our work according to what takes up psychic energy or weighs on the mind, but an analysis of the use of time reveals what we are really doing.
Speaking to his role as providing leadership for national work within Church House, the Primate recalled the affirmation of national staff which it received from the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion and the members of Synod at its meeting last summer in Waterloo.
The Primate led prayers in Church House at the end of the day on September 11 .
The coverage of General Synod by the Anglican Journal , which was in the newspaper and on the web, was superb. It accurately portrayed the meeting he attended. He knows that the impression that it was a great meeting is not universally shared, but for the most part it was splendid.
Some bishops went to Ottawa to meet with the Deputy Prime Minister in May , and this visit was the only time the Primate worked on the issue of the legacy of residential schools directly. That is the job of the General Secretary, and he does it splendidly. The Primate spends his time more in focusing the church on looking ahead .
The Primate spends a great deal of time in local parishes , celebrating anniversaries. This is perhaps out of balance, as the constituent members of General Synod are not parishes but dioceses.
Learnings from dioceses : Qu’Appelle is much affected by the consequences of residential school litigation, but is facing the issues head on without evasion or blaming; Ottawa has an efficient e-mail distribution system that enables resources to be shared quickly in times of crisis; and New Westminster (Gibson’s) where he heard more pro-American sentiment than in other parts of the country, because of the natural affinities of the geography of British Columbia.
If we had had the missionaries which the Province of Melanesia had, we would not be in the mess that we are. Bishops Selwyn and Patteson fought the missionary societies which were behind many of the dioceses which we now call ‘affected’. They were rebels because they believed in the training and establishment of local leadership, and that at the end of the 19th century.
The Melanesian Brotherhood is the largest religious order in the Anglican Communion, an order in which vows are taken for 3 or 4 years, renewable. In the civil war in Melanesia, they went anywhere where there was likely to be shooting, and stood between the people shooting each other.
We have a close connection there because the Bishop of Malaita is a Canadian, Terry Brown. The Primate of Melanesia said that Canada is its most valuable partner in the Anglican Communion ‘because we are not bossy’.
Canadian church leaders spent 5 days in Jerusalem and the Middle East . One of the voices, which is hardly heard, is that of Arab Christians. They are feeling desperately lonely – powerless in Israel, and a minority among Arab-speaking people. We hear the voices of Christian extremism and Muslim extremism, but here he heard for the first time the voice of Jewish extremism, American settlers in the West Bank.
The Canadian church leaders tried to make a written response to the appeal of church leaders in Jerusalem. This proved impossible because of the differences among us; so the only thing to do was to go and to be there . That says something about the nature of church as community.
Speaking to an American diocesan gathering, the Primate realized that the concept which seems to have disappeared in the current war is ‘impunity’. Vulnerability is the name of the game , and this is not news to the rest of the world.
Friday, November 16
The community prayed morning prayer and reflected on the events of the previous day . Some issues named: procedures, processes and mandates need to be explained; ‘in camera’ session caused some confusion; need to model healing, reconciliation and circle groups; Primate’s report might be done differently when it is for a wider audience; power point presentation of the budget? can committee reports be focused so that they hang on one or two issues (e.g. for now, healing and reconciliation)?; can reports be visually presented on a poster?
Verna Firth and Todd Russell presented the report of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples . Todd reported on his participation with Donna Bomberry in the meeting of the Anglican Indigenous Network in Australia in September. ACIP wants to liase directly with the House of Bishops on issues of indigenous ministry (particularly regarding stipend) and the chairs will attend meetings of the Council of the North. ACIP members identified their strengths for leading in the New Agape process. They have resolved to explore the process of incorporation and to preserve their archival record.
The Healing Fund has received to date in 2001 $26,663.94 in unsolicited donations and will be receiving $50,000 from Lutheran Life. Since 1992, 97 projects have been funded from close to $1million.
The Indigenous Justice working group was involved in the Blanket Train culmination of Jubilee Year 3. They are developing a resource kit for dioceses on issues related to the First Nations Governance Act. Priorities include aboriginal land rights, fishing rights, residential school tribunal, UN draft declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples and the First Nations Governance Act. They will explore issues of gambling.
Members encouraged the development of creative ways to communicate the good news of the healing fund projects . Diocesan representatives are encouraged to visit and make known the projects in their own dioceses.
Donna Bomberry reminded Council that General Synod commended the New Agape to dioceses . Members discussed the 5 goals of the New Agape, using the parts of a circle to identify needs, possibilities and barriers to overcome.
Mark Harris, Lutheran partner , offered reflections. The uncertainty deriving from residential school issues understandably looms over all. This is not a place Anglicans would choose to be, but it is the place we have been called to be. Anglicans have an opportunity not only to seek healing and reconciliation with indigenous peoples, but also to model to other churches in Canada what it means to be Christians in Canada, what it means to seek healing and reconciliation with all the marginalized. Lutherans, who are not directly involved, can provide another voice with government and with the public, with furthering the New Agape. He asked ‘what role can we Lutherans play , given our unique position?’
The Council met in Committee of the Whole, and moved in camera , to discuss what the church is doing in relationship to litigation, negotiations with the government, and the legacy of residential schools.
Ann Tottenham presented the report of the Pension Committee , inviting Linda Barry Hollowell and Jenny Mason to speak to it.
The Council approved changes to the regulations to allow for stabilizing the formula by which deemed value for housing is determined and making provision for people to have a choice about re-entering the Pension plan. It approved revisions to the Long Term Disability Plan , including making it a requirement that employees receiving benefits under the plan enter into appropriate rehabilitation, accept appropriate modified work when capable of performing it, and normally remain resident in Canada.
The Council approved rules for the transitional period for the General Synod Pension Plan, the Lay Retirement Plan, and the Long Term Disability Plan and authorized the Pension Committee to review and amend the Continuing Education Plan, the Self-Insurance Death Benefit Plan and the Group Employee Benefits and, where appropriate, provide transitional rules .
The Board of Trustees developed, at the request of the Council, guidelines for ethical investing , entitled “Living our Faith: An Ethical Investment Policy”.
Fred Hiltz presented the report of the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee . He noted that the committee is committed to address healing and reconciliation in all of its working groups and tasks, and to pay attention to the implications of the relationship of full communion with the ELCIC in all these areas.
There are 3 working groups, each with an appropriate staff person: Anglican Identity Theology and Relationships, Ethics Theological Education and Inter-Faith Relations, and Ministry and Worship
The Council agreed to send a message to the Prime Minister in support of the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol . It further agreed to send a letter to the Prime Minister and the Federal Minister of Health to commend the work of the Ecumenical Network on Health and to express support for the ethical arguments and recommendations they present for protection and strengthening of the Canada Health Act .
Fred Hiltz also spoke about the Joint Commission established between our church and the ELCIC to further the relationship of full communion. Anglicans named: Fred Hiltz, Arthur Anderson, Gay Richardson, and Richard Leggett; Lutherans are Michael Pryse, Ilse Kuplens-Ewart, Cam Harder, and one lay woman yet to be named.
Cynthia Haines-Turner and Nick Parker, co-chairs of the Mission Co-ordination Group , reported for that group and explained its function. One of its functions is to monitor developments in KAIROS.
The Council affirmed the Binder Project and requested the Mission Coordination Group to be responsible for overseeing the project. The Binder Project will develop a resource and framework to help all areas of the church work at the New Agape.
In the evening the Council met in modified open space to engage in a process of intentional listening. Topics addressed included the ordained ministry, the ministry of all the baptized, sexuality, stewardship, youth and aging and healing and reconciliation. Summaries of the conversations will be sent to members following the meeting.
Saturday, November 17
The Council prayed morning prayer and discussed the Gospel reading for the day.
Members had an opportunity to raise their own concerns. One member requested time on the agenda to pay attention at future meetings to having a human face for the legacy of residential schools, ways of hearing the healing and reconciliation side of the story. The suggestion was made that dioceses facing the consequences directly might be twinned with other places so that the stories about getting on with mission can be shared.
Another asked that the agenda be designed in such a way that it would elicit input, rather than be a series of information being delivered. Committees could be asked to design their reports so that the Council can be invited into a process of engagement and reflection.
Dorothy Davies-Flindall asked that partners who go from Council to other bodies be given time on the agenda to share their experience. She had attended the ECUSA church council in October and was able to share with them our concern and prayer for them in the wake of September 11. She distributed Lookout , a publication of the Seafarers Institute which tells the story of the church’s presence and action at Ground Zero.
The Council considered again the proposed budget for 2002 and discussed a proposal to increase funding to the Anglican Journal so that it could be increased to 16 pages from 12 . In this context it decided against making a page available to the Officers of General Synod (on request) for any purpose they might deem desirable or essential.
It was agreed to amend the 2002 budget by increasing the line Donation Revenue for the Anglican Journal from $150,000 to $180,000; and by increasing the line Printing under Anglican Journal Expenditure by $30,000.
The Council approved the budget for 2002 as amended .
The Council supported the request of the Mission Co-ordination Group to refer the concerns about clergy wellness and vocational discernment to the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee . The Mission Co-ordination Group will also gather information about clergy wellness, including discussion with the Diocese of Central Newfoundland, which has a wellness officer.
The Primate reported from the House of Bishops. The House asked the Council to discuss its concern, in agreement with the Interfaith Committee on Canadian Military Chaplaincy, about the omission of any reference to God, religious faith or prayer from the national observance concerning the attacks of September 11 .
It was pointed out that the Canadian Council of Churches had developed guidelines for worship in inter-faith situations and had sent them to the government following a similar omission from the memorial service for the victims of the Swissair disaster, but the government does not appear to have paid attention to them. Members noted that there had been a wealth of interfaith liturgical response at the local level, and it would be good to share these resources and stories. Diocesan newspapers have carried many reports of such events.
The Primate also spoke to the report of the Primate’s Commission on Evangelism . It highlights a conference to conclude the Decade of Evangelism to be held in Barrie, Ontario May 23-26, 2002.
Don Harvey reported for the Council of the North . It is hearing reports from places where First Nations communities and business enterprises are working co-operatively. The Council of General Synod supported the request of the Council of the North that the funding support for ministry normally apportioned to the Diocese of Cariboo be directed to the Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia and Yukon, for the purpose of operation of ministry within the Anglican parishes of the Central Interior of British Columbia , starting January 1, 2002.
Victoria Matthews reported orally on the work of the Primate’s Theological Commission . It is continuing its projects of producing workbooks and videos. The second volume: Turning to God: Anglicans talk about the Christian Life, Sin and Grace should be available in Lent. Members of the Commission may be available to lead workshops on the material and interested dioceses should contact Victoria or Alyson Barnett-Cowan.
Cynthia Haines-Turner and David Wattss reported for information from The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund , which held its first annual general meeting November 1-4. The dioceses and Board of Directors are the voting members of this corporation and they chose Janet Dench as its new president. The Council agreed to invite the Board of Directors of PWRDF to appoint an observer to attend future meetings of the Council with voice and no vote.
The Primate expressed his regret at having to leave the Council in order to participate in decision-making at the Special Commission on Orthodox participation in the World Council of Churches in Budapest.
In offering partners’ reflections , Warren Ramshaw told stories from his visit to Denmark illustrating the response of people to a church which takes their personal needs seriously, in contrast to a self-enclosed historical institution. He commended the Canadian church for choosing the former route.
Verna Firth said that she was encouraged by the work being done on the New Agape and by the Lutherans’ offer to walk with us. She commended the Primate’s report in a parish setting and encouraged him to continue to visit parishes. She welcomed David Crawley’s commendation of the movement toward giving ACIP members a vote in General Synod.
Todd Russell said how impressed he was with the time and effort put into trying to do what is right, even when it is difficult to discern what that means as individuals and community. He welcomed the time of intentional listening and the creation of a circle of safety. He also commended meeting in the midst of the people and suggested that we meet in an open hall so that anyone could come and listen.
Jim Sweeny reported from the General Synod Planning Committee . The Council voted thanks to the Diocese of Huron for hosting the synod, to Mark Gladding as the chair of the Planning Committee, and to the aboriginal people who participated and who welcomed the synod to their territory.
Dorothy Davies-Flindall reminded the Council that the task group on Dignity, Inclusion and Fair Treatment had been a subgroup of the Council. It was agreed to establish a task group to provide resources to help dioceses to implement the recommendations of DIFT . It was agreed that the Prolocutor and Alison Bent be named as the core group to gather regional representation to assist in this task.
The Council appointed Bob Falby to the Audit Committee and Shirley Harding and Barry Jenks to the Healing Response Committee.
The Council expressed thanks to Brian Grose for his long service on the Audit Committee.
The Council directed the Officers to accept (as they deem appropriate) offers of help from the Canadian Council of Churches, the Provincial Secretaries of the Anglican Communion, and others, by asking these parties to urge the Government of Canada to adopt a comprehensive approach to rectifying the historical and current injustices experienced by Indigenous Peoples in Canada, act without delay so that the victims of injustice may receive restitution in a timely fashion, and act without delay so that the churches involved be enabled to continue to participate in implementing just solutions to these problems. Council was reminded that the Lutheran partner had also made an offer for his church to help in these matters.
The Council commended the Volunteers in Mission Program to the dioceses .
The Council called upon all dioceses to encourage regular prayer for the leadership and members of the Canadian Forces and their families , and in particular for the chaplains who are called to care pastorally for them, both at home and abroad, and asked the Primate to address a pastoral letter to all Canadian Forces chaplains , assuring them of our prayers for them, and for the military communities in which they serve.
The Council authorized the Officers to make any necessary decisions that are time driven relating to the residential schools litigation issues and to negotiations with the federal government which arise prior to the next meeting of Council. It also authorized them to make decisions with respect to financial viability . Any such actions will be communicated to the Council members and diocesan bishops. The Officers will also continue negotiations with respect to the redevelopment of the national office property .
The Council set dates for its meetings for the rest of the triennium: May 3-5 and November 8-10, 2002 in Mississauga; May 8-11, 2003 in Calgary; November 7-9, 2003 and March 4-7, 2004 in Mississauga.
The Council directed the Officers to name a small, regionally based task group with indigenous and non-indigenous participants to do preliminary study on possible constitutional arrangements for direct indigenous representation in national church governance .
The Council directed the Primate to convey to the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada that while abhorring the terrorist attacks of September 11, we express our deep concern about the military actions in response to those attacks and for the innocent and vulnerable in situations of such violence .
Building on the work done in the meeting on intentional listening to the church in the dioceses and parishes regarding the future life and work of the Anglican Church of Canada , the Council requested the Planning and Agenda Team to develop mechanisms and resources to assist the Council members as they return to their dioceses to carry out this work. The Council brainstormed ideas as to how this work might be done.
Members reflected together on their role in their dioceses.
The meeting concluded with the Eucharist and a party.