Unofficial notes of the meeting of May 3-5, 2002, Queen of Apostles, Mississauga, ON

Friday, May 3

The Council of General Synod opened with morning prayer and Bible study on Matthew 7:1-12, led by the chaplain, Bishop Jo Fricker.

The Primate welcomed members, new participant Marion Saunders , the representative to the Council from the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, and new ECUSA partner Canon Stephen Lane . Regrets were given from 7 members of Council unable to attend. Minutes of the previous meeting, amended with errata, were approved. Council welcomed Jerome Slavik who is part of the team negotiating with the government.

A card was circulated to send with a gift to Canon Helena-Rose Houldcroft, whose husband Laurie Proud has been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer, and a card was circulated to send to Alison Bent, whose grandfather has died.

Marion Jenkins, the process facilitator for the meeting, introduced discussion of group norms which should govern our life together in the Council.

The Council met in camera to hear reports on negotiations with the government of Canada regarding responsibilities for the legal claims related to residential schools.

On behalf of the Financial Management and Development Committee, Betty Livingston welcomed Geoff Jackson and Philip Poole from its financial development subcommittee, who spoke to ‘The Marigold Report’, a fundraising proposal addressing the future of the church . Members raised some questions and concerns; the proposal will come for further discussion and decision later in the meeting.

Warren Ramshaw introduced Stephen Lane of the Diocese of Rochester, who will be replacing him as ECUSA Partner . They outlined the major issues before the ECUSA Executive Council: the 2020 vision process; compliance with canons regarding the ordination of women; and the possible relocation of the national church headquarters from 815 2nd Avenue to General Seminary.

The General Secretary gave his report. The Council agreed to request the Human Resources Consultant to continue work on sexual abuse and harassment guidelines and to consult with the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee.

Jim Sweeny reported from the Information Resources Committee . The Council agreed to direct the Officers , in consultation with the IRC, to take steps to form a non-profit corporation under the name Anglican Book Centre . It tabled a resolution regarding copyright.

The Council concurred in the recommendation of IRC that the Anglican Journal Board report directly to the Council, and relate with the IRC through the Journal Editor .

The Council heard from Marion Saunders, the representative of PWRDF . The new Board has held its first meeting and begun work through its new structures. Concerns about potential liability under the anti-terrorism legislation are being explored.

Cynthia Haines-Turner and Nick Parker reported from the Mission Co-ordination Group . There were no items for decision.

Jim Boyles reported for the Officers . The Council ratified the action of the Officers which approved amendments to the Pension and LTD Plan regulations .

Betty Livingston reported from the Financial Management and Development Committee . The Council approved FMD’s policy of internally designating funds from unrestricted surplus to recognize future contractual commitments of General Synod. It also approved the audited statements for 2001 of General Synod and the Consolidated Trust Fund. FMD noted with gratitude the prompt payment of apportionment from dioceses to General Synod.

Peter Elliott, Dorothy Davies-Flindall and Margaret Shawyer gave an update on the Intentional Listening process. Members expressed concern that the research pay attention to all regions of the county and make provision for the inclusion of indigenous peoples and other Anglicans who do not speak English.

David Watts reported from the Partners in Mission Committee . There were no items for decision.

The Chancellor reported about an Anglican Communion Legal Advisers’ Consultation which he had attended in Canterbury in March. The group identified commonalities among the canonical documents and processes of the Communion. The Primates have requested ACC-12 to establish a Network of Legal Advisers, and observed that shared principles of canon law may represent a fifth instrument of unity within the Communion.

Ron Stevenson and Margaret Shawyer presented a copy of the Handbook to the Primate. The Deputy Prolocutor thanked them for their hard work in revising the Handbook.

In the evening, the Primate spoke to his report, which as usual summarized the use of his time since the last meeting. He highlighted:

  • The presentation of the Anglican Award of Merit to David Wright , the former Chancellor, who had famously noted that the rules exist to allow us to do the best thing which we believe needs to be done
  • The response to his sermon on New Year’s Day in Ottawa about the place of religion in society
  • His statement on the Middle East : his personal history with the area and its issues, the policy base on which it was made, and the acknowledgement of some of the trouble it causes locally
  • An art exhibit relating to September 11 held in a Toronto parish; if the Gospel inspires artists, we are alive
  • A thanksgiving on behalf of the church at a requiem for Eugene Fairweather , a theologian who was an advocate in the life of the church for, among other things: the Plan of Union, the admission to the eucharist on the basis of baptism alone, and the ordination of women
  • A meeting of the Special Commission on Orthodox participation in the WCC held in Hungary
  • The Primates’ Meeting , especially: the discussion of canon law, the addressing by Rowan Williams and himself about mission which takes culture seriously, a common curriculum for theological education, and a statement on God. There is tension within the meeting between those who see it primarily as a way of helping one another and those who want it to take positions
  • The Canadian Council of Churches annual meeting of church leaders , at which he and the Lutheran national bishop spoke about Waterloo; the way in which the issues were addressed resonated with the Orthodox leaders’ sense of oikonomia
  • His visit to an Orthodox mission with the bishop of the Greek Melkite Church who had been exploring a close relationship with the Anglican Church

Comments from the floor included:

  • Thanks from the Episcopal Church for the Primate’s comments on religion in public discourse, as it too is struggling with the appropriate voice post- September 11
  • Noting the lack of discussion of the Anglican Mission in America at the Primates’ Meeting

Lutheran partner Mark Harris led the community in praying Compline.

Saturday, May 4

The community prayed morning prayer and discussed Matthew 7:13-21.

Chancellor Ron Stevenson and Archbishop David Crawley presented the report of the Jurisdiction Task Force . It addressed doctrine and discipline and what to do when new matters arise. Its conclusion was one of subsidiarity, that when contentious matters arise they should be addressed at the highest level which has the will to do so.

Some questions raised:

  • Applying subsidiarity may be clear when the highest level says ‘yes’, but not when the answer is ‘no’, or ‘not yet’. Would a ‘not at this time’ remain a matter for General Synod, for example, or could it revert to a province or diocese?
  • Does a bishop have the jurisdiction to act with respect to the blessing of same sex unions?
  • This is a living process.
  • If General Synod is not the highest level deciding, does one diocese have the right to make one decision and another the right to make the opposite decision? That would appear to be the way it works.

Council received the report of the Jurisdiction Task Force and agreed to circulate it to dioceses and diocesan chancellors , not as a policy document but as a description.

The General Secretary presented resolutions which had been directed or referred to Council by General Synod 2001. Council invited the Handbook Monitoring Committee to begin work on reviewing Canon XVII on the licensing of clergy and made suggestions for proceeding on the topic of anti-racism.

Matthew Kett reported from the Eco-Justice Committee , highlighting the experience of their recent meeting in Kingfisher Lake, Ontario. Council tabled a motion regarding methods of building consensus.

Verna Firth reported from the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples . The action item regarding incorporation has been deferred at her request, so there were no items for decision. She highlighted the fact that the majority of indigenous clergy are non-stipendiary; ACIP sent a delegation to the House of Bishops raising this as a matter of justice, and the bishops agreed to a joint task group to examine the matter. Material was provided to Council members for them to use in support of ACIP’s stance on the First Nations Governance Act.

Verna also reported on the Indigenous Healing Fund .

Alyson Barnett-Cowan reported from the Joint Anglican Lutheran Commission which has held its first meeting. Council agreed to adopt guidelines for clergy serving in each other’s churches and for common worship and to request appropriate bodies to implement them. A request was made for all councils and standing committees to report at the next meeting as to how they are living out the full communion relationship.

Council established a General Synod Planning Committee for the meeting of 2004.

Bishop Don Harvey reported from the Council of the North . Its request for an increase to the minimum clergy stipend is being addressed by FMD. Members noted that the issue of equitable salaries could be considered in connection with the Marigold Report, and that thanks are due to the Inuit clergy who worked with the Canadian Bible Society to produce an Inuktitut translation of the Scriptures.

Grant Hyslop and Mark Harris offered reflection as partners to the ELCIC and ACC Councils. Grant reported that he had been prevented by illness to attend the recent ELCIC Council meeting, but that the ordination of his bishop, David Ashdown, had strong Lutheran participation.

Mark reported that the ELCIC is in the midst of a major reorganization at the national level, leading to examination of ecclesiology and subsidiarity. Both churches are wrestling with issues of representation, stewardship education, and appropriate use of resources. He observes that the legacy of residential schools takes up enormous energy and the challenge is to continue to work both at that and at undertaking mission and ministry. He has caught glimpses of the new life which is there at the other side of Good Friday and offered the image of partner as birthing coach. He warned about the tendency to try to protect parts of the institution, as the separated parts can grow in divergent ways.

After lunch, General Synod Human Resources Consultant Judith Kidd led an educational session on the Sexual Abuse and Harassment Guidelines ; members viewed and discussed an Anglican Video production ‘Sexual Misconduct: How to Spot It, How to Stop It’.

The Council met in camera to discuss residential schools .

Tom Morgan reported from the Pensions Committee . The Council accepted a redefinition of the actuarial bonus addition arising from the 1999 Actuarial Valuation and adjust members’ accrued pensions accordingly. Without the changes, some members would have been unfairly affected.

The Council approved a new Regulation 19, ‘ Compliance with Quebec Supplemental Pension Plans Act ‘ to respond to changes in Quebec legislation, and approved corresponding amendments to the Lay Retirement Plan.

Transitional Rules for the Continuing Education Plan were approved to ensure continued governance of the CEP.

Tom reported that Jenny Mason, the Director of Pensions, has announced her retirement at the end of 2003.

The Council returned to consideration of ‘The Marigold Report’. Amended resolutions were presented and Council agreed to receive the proposal from the Financial Management and Development Committee, ” The Future of the Anglican Church of Canada (The Marigold Report) “.

The Council then met in Committee of the Whole to discuss the Marigold Report. Topics addressed included timeline ; donor fatigue; whether we are we raising money for settlements, or for a vision of the future; confusion between money and stewardship; the ecclesiological vision of the report; security of any money raised, whether congregational development is best done at the national level; the urgency of finding some indication about how much money could be raised for settlements; sufficient consultation (with dioceses, with aboriginal people, with Faith Worship and Ministry).

The Primate invited the Council members between now and tomorrow to consider how the various elements and needs with respect to fundraising and the future of the church might be put together.

Verna reflected as an ACIP Partner . She noted the difference in meeting style between the Council and ACIP. She offered her appreciation for the work which the Primate does on behalf of the church.

In the evening, the Council met in table groups to function as a focus group for the intentional listening process, and concluded the evening with The Service of Light.

Sunday, May 5

After opening prayer the Council agreed to send an observer to the Constitutive Assembly of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior of BC.

The Deputy Prolocutor presented the report of the Nominating Committee . The following were acclaimed:

  • Representative to the Constitutive Assembly : Iain Luke (Rupert’s Land)
  • Board of Directors, Anglican Journal : Bishops : Andrew Hutchison (Montreal), Donald Young (Central Newfoundland), Clergy : Jim Boyles (General Secretary, Calgary), Peter Davison (Kootenay), Keith Denman (Edmonton), Ed Lewis (BC), Brian Pearson (Calgary), Rob Towler (Huron). Laity : Lorie Chortyk (New Westminster), Sue Becker Davidson (Ottawa), Ana Watts (Fredericton), Molly Wolf (Ontario)
  • General Synod 2004 Planning Committee (previous member): Stephen Hopkins (Niagara)

An election was held for the Council representative to the Geneva Synod Planning Committee : Nick Parker was elected.

A member expressed concern about the differing costs of air travel to the Council. Staff will re-examine the differences and seek to find the most economical way for members to travel.

A member asked for accurate figures about the number of cases in which the church is being third-partied by the government, and for clear communication to parishes.

Alyson Barnett-Cowan reported from the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee . Points highlighted: research being undertaken for the development of strategic directions for ecumenical relations, the value of a talking circle method for contentious issues such as cultural diversity and liturgy, the commitment to continue to engage in Christian-Jewish dialogue.

Former member of FWM David Gould spoke to the issue of stem cell research, and the Council agreed to write to the Minister of Health and to the chair of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) regarding the discussion paper , Human Stem Cell Research: Opportunities for Health and Ethical Perspectives , noting that a more comprehensive analysis of the moral issues and implications of human stem cell research was not conducted, and that the process included only limited public consultation and debate.

Dorothy Davies-Flindall reported on the follow-up to the Dignity Inclusion and Fair Treatment process. She reiterated that these are guidelines, not rules, and expressed the hope that they would indeed guide dioceses in their procedures.

The Primate reported from the House of Bishops . The Council agreed to investigate canonical ramifications of some of the diocesan sexual misconduct policies as a preliminary step to the development of national guidelines for the Anglican Church of Canada. This work will be undertaken by the Handbook Monitoring Group in consultation with the Human Resources Consultant and the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee.

The Council concurred with the proposal to hold a joint meeting with the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples in November 2003 and to use liturgical materials developed by the joint task group of ACIP and FWM, working with the Chaplain (noting that ACIP will be consulted).

The Council encourages councils and committees to use (when appropriate) non-adversarial processes such as the Aborginal talking/listening circle to facilitate discussion and decision-making.

It further agreed to encourage nominations of members of under-represented minority groups and will endeavour to fill vacancies in councils and committees from them.

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 that arise prior to the November 2002 meeting of the Council.

It further agreed to delegate decision-making authority with respect to financial viability to the Officers , in consultation the Treasurer and chairs of the Audit Committee, FMD, Residential Schools Steering Committee, Planning and Agenda Team.

The Council directed the Officers to investigate transferring the copyrights held by the General Synod to the Primate and his successors, and be authorized to transfer them provided that no legal impediment is found nor expose the Primate to potential liability.

The Council agreed to ask diocesan bishops to request for prayer at each parish Sunday eucharist for ‘a just resolution for all involved in the Residential Schools issue’ .

The community celebrated the Eucharist, with the Primate presiding and preaching.

The Council heard from Dr. Warren Ramshaw, ECUSA partner , who had just returned from a visit to China and spoke about the post-denominational Church in China. He also spoke about what he has learned from his time as a partner to the Council that has been helpful at ECUSA meetings; the collection of information at this time in our (ACC) history and how information is archived; he encouraged the Council to be more visible in the community in which it meets; and suggested that a time limit be put on any proposal to reserve places on committees and councils for special groups .

The Primate thanked Dr. Ramshaw for his contribution over the past 3 years and presented him with a token of appreciation from the Council.

The Council authorized the Financial Management and Development Committee to develop specific action and funding plans in accordance with the “Marigold” proposal; to prepare a budget to be approved by the Officers; to develop a staffing plan; and in consultation with the Information Resources Committee develop a means for adequate communications with dioceses, the House of Bishops, national committees and councils; to consult with the Planning and Agenda Team and Faith, Worship and Ministry to review and refine pp. 1-13 of the proposal, mindful of the intentional listening process; to report to the Council of General Synod by November 2002; and directed that funding be made available from assets with the expectation that they will be recovered in the fund raising aspects of the program.

The Council adjourned and the Board of Management of the Missionary Society convened .

The Council of General Synod reconvened and the Primate expressed appreciation to the Church House staff and confirmed his commitment to leadership during this uncertain time.

The Council of General Synod adjourned at 3:00 p.m.