Anglican Council of General Synod to decide on withdrawal from key meeting

The Anglican Church of Canada’s governing council, meeting in Mississauga, Ont., later this week, is set to decide on a request that the Canadian church voluntarily absent itself from a key Communion gathering.

(Council of General Synod—CoGS—is the chief governing body of the Anglican Church of Canada. It is the body that oversees the implementation of General Synod decisions and any matters referred to it by the Primate. It meets twice a year between sessions of the General Synod.)

Members of CoGS will be responding to the Anglican Primates’ communiqué, which the heads of provincial churches issued after their meeting in Dromantine, Northern Ireland, in February.

The key request contained in the Anglican Primates’ communiqué was that the Canadian and U.S. churches voluntarily withdraw their members from participating in meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council for the period leading up to the next Lambeth Conference in 2008.

(Last month, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church in the United States agreed on behalf of the U.S. church to honour the request.)

The Anglican Consultative Council is made up of bishops, priests and lay people from each of the worldwide Anglican Communion’s 39 provinces and is considered an “instrument of unity.”

The other major issue before CoGS is a proposal for a moratorium on blessings of same-sex unions made by a special commission that examined how the communion can stay together in light of growing controversies around sexual issues. In its report – The Windsor Report – the international commission requested such a moratorium.

Archdeacon Jim Boyles, General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada, says that a process for discussions has been prepared for council members before they vote on the issues.

At CoGS on May 6, he said, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, the Canadian Primate, will talk about the Primates’ meeting in Northern Ireland.

This will be followed by a series of presentations by General Synod committees that have considered the matter. Council will also hear from youth, from the conservative group Essentials, and from Integrity, a group that advocates for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the church. Lutheran partners will also address the issue. The council, which ultimately makes the decision, will also consider positions on this issue taken by General Synod committees and a recent statement from the House of Bishops.

Friday evening, Council members will focus on the Windsor report. Council will also hear from the Primate’s Theological Commission which was asked by General Synod 2004, to consider whether the blessing of committed same-sex unions is a matter of doctrine.

Council is expected to vote on the key issues on Saturday evening (May 7.)

CoGS will also consider a host of resolutions and motions dealing with the work of the church and review General Synod’s budget for 2005.

The Council’s deliberations are normally public, although it does have the option to go into closed session.

See also:

Media Advisory

Because of anticipated interest in this meeting, all media representatives intending to cover the meeting are asked to register in advance. Accredited journalists may register by contacting:

Diana Mavunduse, Communications Assistant,[email protected]; 416 924 9199 ext. 352, or

Josie De Lucia, Assistant to the Director,[email protected]; 416 924 9199 ext. 294.


For more information, please contact Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Director of Communications, [email protected], 416 924 9199 ext. 306, or Diana Mavunduse, Communications Assistant,[email protected], 416 924 9199 ext. 352

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