General Synod agreed Monday that discussions should begin on the possible reorganization of the ecclesiastical provinces of the Anglican Church of Canada.
The resolution called on the Primate, after consultation with the House of Bishops, to initiate talks with the provinces and dioceses on changes that could include:
- The elimination of the provinces and transfer of their powers to General Synod;
- Maintaining the present structure but transferring some of the powers to General Synod;
- Reorganizing the dioceses into groupings with greater common goals, concerns, needs and interests.
Other points to be looked at include:
- Adjusting diocesan boundaries to reflect modern transportation patterns and population shifts.
- Reducing the number of dioceses;
- Implementing any other changes that might improve the effectiveness, efficiency or economy of the operation of dioceses.
It was noted that in 1971 there was an average of 38,249 Anglicans in each diocese, according to parish rolls. By 2001 the number had dropped to 21,395, with 20 dioceses below this number.
In moving the resolution, Canon Robert Falby of Toronto said this proposal was necessary to get discussions under way.
Council of General Synod said there might be significant advantages in reducing the number of dioceses in several parts of the country by amalgamation or grouping of dioceses to seek efficiencies in delivery of ministry and in administrative costs.
In other business, General Synod:
- Voted to request Council of General Synod consider a revision of Canon 21 (on marriage), including theological rationale, to allow marriage of all legally qualified persons. Council was asked to report back to General Synod 2010.
- Voted to ask the general secretary to write to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, reminding him of a previous call from the Anglican to deliver and implement a plan to reach the UN target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income for official development assistance by 2015, and urgently requesting that budgetary measures be taken toward this target.
- Agreed that Evangelical Lutheran clergy who are licensed by an Anglican bishop are now eligible for election to Anglican offices. The follows the second reading of a resolution that the Declaration of Principles be changed to state that the Order of Clergy shall consist of clerical members of the Anglican Church of Canada or of a church in full communion with it.
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