In just three weeks time, the 41st Session of The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada will be meeting (July 7-12) in Richmond Hill, Ontario.
The theme is “You are my witnesses”. This call echoes the voice of the prophet Isaiah in a time of hope for a return from exile for the People of Israel and the voice of Jesus as he sends his disciples into all the world with the message of the gospel. It has about it the ring of invitation and instruction. It speaks to the very manner in which we are called to be engaged with one another in the work of Synod; some of which is a joy and a delight, some of which is a challenge and struggle.
One of the great delights will be Sunday, July 10. The entire day is given to Indigenous Ministries. Our National Indigenous Anglican Bishop and a host of other Indigenous people will lead the morning Eucharist. The afternoon is given to the Indigenous Call to the Church, A Mission Statement for Anglican Indigenous Ministry and next steps in the emerging of a truly Indigenous church in Canada. Later in the day, Bishop Mark and I will be installing a Council of Elders and Youth for its work in monitoring our church’s commitment to comply with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The day will finish with a Gospel Jamboree in the evening.
One of the great struggles will be our wrestling with the matter of a change to the Canon on Marriage to allow for same sex marriages in our Church. Great care is being taken with regard to preparing for our conversations in neighbourhood groups, in plenary and in the legislative session dealing with the resolution.
The Synod will also be engaged in a number of other matters ranging from matters of liturgy, to formation for ministry, ecumenical dialogues, Anglican Communion relations, and investing responsibly and ethically, with regard for the care of creation.
It will be our pleasure to welcome guests representing our sister churches in Full communion, and Global Partners representing our relationships with Cuba, Jerusalem, and Brazil. We also look forward to greetings from the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.
I am much encouraged by the interest of the whole church in this gathering of Synod. I am also very grateful for the prayers with which we will be upheld. The Anglican Fellowship of Prayer will be on hand and hosting opportunities for members of Synod to pray quietly. I am grateful that the bishops have called for the General Synod to be included in the Prayers of the People at all Sunday and midweek liturgies. I am deeply moved to know that in a number of parishes, prayer vigils are being organized and that individuals and small groups of people are committed to praying with intent throughout the General Synod. How blessed we are to have people so deeply committed to calling the Holy Spirit to come and preside, to lead and guide us in Synod.
My own prayer is that the manner in which we do the work entrusted to us will be a grace filled expression of the theme “You are my witnesses”.
PRAYER FOR GENERAL SYNOD
You call your Church to witness that you were in Christ, reconciling all things to yourself:
So bind us together in love and obedience to you, that the beauty of our lives, the truth of our words, and the justice of our deeds may draw all people to you;
Through him who gave himself for us and now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
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