Debates and resolutions on church and social issues await delegates

More than 300 delegates to the Anglican Church of Canada’s 35th General Synod will gather at McGill University in Montreal May 20 to 29 to chart the church’s future into the next millennium.

General Synod, which meets every three years, is the church’s chief legislative and governing body. It is made up of bishops, clergy and lay people who have been elected to the task in each of the church’s 30 Canadian dioceses.

Among the highlights of the gathering will be a forum on “nation and identity” featuring as panelist former Quebec Liberal leader Claude Ryan, and an address on the state of the church by Archbishop Michael Peers, the Canadian Primate.

The nation and identity forum, under the leadership of Montreal Bishop Andrew Hutchison, is meant to highlight unity issues as being of concern to all Canadians and to recognize the church’s presence in the host city of Montreal.

Also among the member’s tasks are to debate and pass resolutions on both the internal governance of the church and on a host of social issues and programs that the church is involved in or that it has has taken a position on.

Delegates meeting at McGill University in Montreal will, for instance, consider resolutions on:

  • Issues related to euthanasia and assisted suicide;
  • Issues related to cloning and reproductive biotechnologies;
  • Closer relations or “full communion between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada;
  • The Multilateral Agreement on Investment;
  • The place of indigenous peoples in the Anglican Church of Canada;
  • Anglican identity: how Anglicans can effectively relate to each other in an increasingly complex and diverse society.
  • Issues relating to human rights;
  • Legislation dealing with the authority of bishops over priests.

Much of the nine-day gathering will consist of forums on various issues of concern to Canadian Anglicans. Among the topics to be addressed in these forums are the church’s relationships with overseas partners, relations with other faiths and denominations, social justice issues, and relationships between the dioceses and the national church.

The last time General Synod met in 1995, it approved sweeping changes to the church’s programs, moving away from an emphasis on domestic work to one on building and developing overseas partnerships. This general Synod will review how that process has gone.

As well as Canadian delegates, several overseas partners also attend General Synod and participate in the deliberations. This time, these guests include Bishop French Chang-Him of the Diocese of Seychelles, Archbishop Glauco Soares de Lima, Primate of Brazil, Bishop Jubal Pereira Neves of the Diocese of Southwestern Brazil, Rev. Simea de Souza Meldrum, the first woman ordained priest in the Diocese of North Eastern Brazil and Rev. Andrew S’Zaw Lwin, a priest of the Church of the Province of Myanmar.

With about 750,000 active members, the Anglican Church of Canada is the country’s third largest Christian denomination.

The General Synod agenda and background documents such as committee reports
are also available through the General Synod area of the Anglican Church of Canada’s Web Site:

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