General Synod takes shape on eve of official opening

Anglicans from around the country converged on Winnipeg yesterday on the eve of the official opening the Anglican Church of Canada’s 38th General Synod.

It was a day of frantic getting ready, with the Skyview Ballroom of the downtown Marlborough Hotel being converted into a plenary hall, displays being erected throughout the hotel and, in the afternoon, the first round of registrations for General Synod delegates who in the next few days will shape the church’s future.

The Anglican General Synod has completely taken over two downtown hotels for its triennial gathering, with overflow going into a third. The Marlborough is where many General Synod members and staff will be housed from now until they disperse June 25, and it is also the venue for all of the meetings that will be happening.

The nearby Radisson Skyview Hotel is also taken over and participants in the gathering who could not be accommodated in those two places are in York the Hotel, several blocks away.

It is the first time in the memory of many people attending this synod that the church’s chief governing body meets in a hotel. Traditionally, General Synod is held on a university campus, but there was no such venue in Winnipeg that could accommodate this year’s gathering.

The General Synod will officially get under way Tuesday evening with an opening Eucharist in the Cathedral Church of St. John.

Wednesday will see General Synod members at work with the minutia of administering a national church, dealing with resolutions, reports from committees, councils and boards and the election of officers and committee members.

However, the two key events of the 38th General Synod will come later in the week. On  Friday, clergy and lay members will elect a new Primate or national leader to succeed Archbishop Andrew Hutchison who is retiring, and on Saturday attention will turn to the divisive issue of the blessing of same-sex unions.

This website ( will have news releases and features on key developments. The General Synod website will also have live coverage of the proceedings, including the opening service, the election of a new Primate and the closing and installation service. The church’s national newspaper, Anglican Journal, will also provide extensive coverage on its own website, www.anglicanjournal.comand will be publishing a daily edition for the duration of the meeting.

Vianney (Sam) Carriere is the director of communications for the Anglican Church of Canada.

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