Council of General Synod Highlights, Nov. 19

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Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre, Mississauga, Ont.

From 9:00 to 10:00, members met in their Bible study groups, where they are studying passages from the book of Luke.

Anti-racism training

From 10:00 to 5:00, members participated in an anti-racism training led by Alice Schuda, co-director of the Canadian Churches’ Forum on Global Ministries, and the Ven. Peter Fenty, executive officer to the bishop of Toronto and archdeacon of York. This anti-racism training was mandated by the previous COGS.

Ms. Schuda and Archdeacon Fenty led the council through a varied day of presentations, group work, and open discussion. Members heard about the Anglican Church of Canada’s formal action around the issue of racism, including the Primate’s 1993 apology for residential schools. Members also reflected on their own social locations and shared how they formed opinions about people of other races.

In the afternoon, members viewed Indecently Exposed, a documentary filmed in Regina, Sask. that showcases the provocative anti-racism work of Jane Elliott.

Members were challenged to apply what they learned today in their various positions throughout the Anglican Church of Canada.

The Primate took a step to apply anti-racism principles right away: he said that later in the meeting COGS members would be encouraged to sign a statement that said they agreed with the Charter for Racial Justice, approved by COGS in 2007.

Members took a dinner break at 5:00 and reconvened at 7:00.

Anglican Journal

COGS adjourned as COGS and reconvened as the member of the Anglican Journal corporation.

Bishop George Elliott (Toronto), chair of the Anglican Journal Board, gave a presentation on the current state of the Anglican Journal. He noted that the newspaper, like most other print media, is facing financial pressure. The national paper, which is distributed with diocesan papers, has had to reduce in size from 16 pages to 12.

Bishop George noted that the Anglican Journal Board is reviewing the Journal’s status as a separately incorporated body, independent from General Synod.

He also identified the Journal’s new direction under the leadership of Editor Kristin Jenkins, who has served for just over a year. She is working on a strategic planning process that is aiming to increase web and print revenue.

The treasurer, Michèle George, presented the Anglican Journal‘s financial statements and answered related questions.


COGS voted to approve the Anglican Journal‘s financial statements.

COGS moved by consensus to adjourn as the member of the Anglican Journal corporation and reconvene as COGS.

Guiding documents

The Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, introduced the Marks of Mission, a series of principles used widely throughout the Anglican Communion. The Primate said

“One of the things that make these marks attractive to the church is that people can see a connection between the marks and the baptismal covenant.” He noted that many parishes, dioceses, and Communion-level consultations are applying the Marks of Mission.

Suzanne Lawson spoke about the sixth Mark of Mission, which the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) has approved. The ACC is still working on the formal wording of the mark, which focuses on conflict transformation, peace building, and reconciliation.

Sue Winn said that the Diocese of Montreal has requested for General Synod to clearly articulate this sixth Mark of Mission in the roll-out of Vision 2019, the strategic plan. This will be addressed later in the meeting.

Members then delved into the priorities and practices of Vision 2019. They formed themselves into discussion groups based on the Vision 2019 priorities and practices they were most interested in.

Canon Rob Falby, prolocutor, gave a brief overview of the General Synod handbook, as well as policies and procedures that impact the life of COGS. Michèle George gave an overview of the budget work.

At 9:00, Lela Zimmer led COGS in night prayer. Council adjourned for the evening.

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