Image P7571-300 / General Synod Archives
Image P7571-300 / General Synod Archives

The development of the General Synod Archives started in 1927 when the General Synod of the Church of England in Canada appointed an Archives Committee “in order to assist in preserving data relative to the past of our Church in Canada.”  The five person committee was to co-operate with the Registrar in locating, listing and collecting material of historical value.  Since then the collection policy has become clearer and General Synod Archives firmly established.

In 1943, the Archives Committee recommended that each Diocesan Synod should appoint a Diocesan Archivist and that each Diocesan and Provincial Synod send copies of Synod Journals and other valuable historical publications to the Archives Committee to be placed in the Church Historical Reference Library.  This was the beginning of the Anglican Diocesan Archivists network and the diocesan and provincial synod collections held at the General Synod Archives.  In 1946, several of the members of the Archives Committee were recognized for their invaluable work with respect to the Archives, including the Rev. Canon A.R. Kelley and the Rev. Canon W.B. Heeney, both eminent Anglican Church historians.

In 1955, the General Synod appointed the Rev. Dr. Thomas R. Millman as the first General Synod Archivist.  The Archivist was to collect, preserve, and make available the records relating to the General Synod and its departments; to organize a Reference Library relating to the history and activities of the Church in Canada, and the Anglican Communion; and to co-operate with the Canadian Church Historical Society in promoting interest in the history of the Anglican Church of Canada.  By this time the Archives and the reference library had secured four rooms in Church House on 600 Jarvis Street in Toronto.  Dr. Millman remained the General Synod Archivist until 1974.

Professional archival systems were established under Marian Beyea (1975-1978) and the General Synod Archives gained a more permanent status with the creation of an archives canon (Canon V) in 1986 under Teresa (Terry) Thompson.

Terry Thompson was the General Synod Archivist from 1979-2003.  She initiated many national archives projects including the Guides to the Archival Holdings of the four Ecclesiastical Provinces, the further development of the Anglican Archives Network, and the computerization of the archival and library catalogues.

Nancy Hurn was the General Synod Archivist from 2004-2018.  She oversaw the move of the Archives collection to the new state-of-the-art archival rooms at the new Church House on 80 Hayden Street in Toronto.  Under her direction, the Archives met the General Synod’s obligations to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement on behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada by facilitating the document collection and set the path for moving forward to fulfill the Calls to Action.