Anglican chief governing body to meet in Halifax

From June 3 to 11, more than 500 people will gather in Halifax, N.S. for the national triennial meeting of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC). Uniting under the nautical theme “Feeling the Winds of God—Charting a New Course,” General Synod members will make decisions about the national church in the context of worship and prayer.

The approximately 300 General Synod members, elected by their dioceses, will tackle a full agenda including  a proposed strategic plan—Vision 2019—and changes to the  governance structures that include official recognition for the national Indigenous ministry and the role of the National Indigenous Anglican Bishop. Members will also discuss the Anglican Covenant, a document that describes relations between provinces within the Anglican Communion.

General Synod members will also be asked to discern next steps around human sexuality issues, and will hear presentations from various church groups, including the new Department of Philanthropy, the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), and Fresh Expressions.

Each day at General Synod will be shaped by worship, including morning prayer, Bible studies, and daily Eucharists. On Sunday, June 6, General Synod members will join with local Anglicans for a special service to celebrate 300 years of continuous Anglican worship in the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Several high-profile guests will join General Synod members and about 200 staff and observers.

International guests will include the Right Rev. Suheil Dawani, Anglican bishop of Jerusalem, and his wife, Shafeeqa; the Right Rev. Miguel Tamayo, Anglican bishop of Uruguay and interim bishop of Cuba, and his wife the Rev. Martha Lopez;  Hellen Wangusa, Anglican observer at the United Nations; Sooriyakumari Sinnathamby, Sri Lanka office of the Organization for Eelam Refugees and Rehabilitation (PWRDF partner); and the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.

Canadian guests include the Rev. Bruce Adema, president of the Canadian Council of Churches; Ms. Mardi Tindal, moderator of the United Church of Canada; Commissioner Marie Wilson, Truth and Reconciliation Commission; and the Right Rev. Susan Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, a full communion partner of the ACC.

General Synod is the chief governing body of the Anglican Church of Canada. It meets every three years and, in intervening years, the church is governed by the smaller Council of General Synod. Synod members will be asked to review the size of both gatherings in Halifax.

More information about General Synod can be accessed online. The convening circular, containing all General Synod documents, is available for viewing, as are the General Synod Times newsletters and the web forum Setting Sail: Conversations before General Synod.

Religious organizations that are interested in contributing to General Synod may wish to explore new corporate sponsorship opportunities. Sponsorship is being sought in particular for Synod on Demand, which provides up-to-the-minute video coverage.  For more information, email Michelle Hauser, special initiatives consultant, or call (416) 924-9199 ext. 326.

Members of the media and others interested in attending General Synod are encouraged to contact the Ven. Paul Feheley, principal secretary to the Primate and General Synod communications coordinator, by email or call (416) 924-9199 ext. 277.

Until the meeting—less than two months away—all are encouraged to pray this prayer written especially for General Synod 2010: “Holy God, navigator of our souls, hear us as we uphold the General Synod of our church. Be with us in our yearning to chart a new course together, inspired by the presence of your Spirit. Give courage to our bishops, our diocesan synods, and all our leaders as we move forward with your blessing. For all we do, we do to your glory, in Jesus’ name.”

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