Highlights from the Council of General Synod: March 17

This document is available as a PDF.

COGS members began the day with a 9:00 Eucharist where the Primate was presider and homilist. Members then each received certificates in appreciation for their work at COGS.

At 10:30, after a short coffee break, members gathered for business.

Anglican Award of Merit

The General Secretary, the Ven. Dr. Michael Thompson, announced the winners of the Anglican Award of Merit:

  • The Hon. Mr. Justice Brian Burrows (Diocese of Edmonton) has served as chancellor of the Diocese of Edmonton and the Ecclesiastical Province of Rupert’s Land. Mr. Burrows has served on various General Synod committees, including the General Synod Organization Committee, the Handbook Taskforce, and the first Governance Working Group.
  • Mrs. Carolyn R. A. Chenholm (Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island) has been active in numerous diocesan committees and helped oversee the transition from Women’s Auxiliary to Anglican Church Women at a diocesan and national level. She has been a member of six General Synods and is currently a member of the Vision 2019 Implementation Team.
  • Ms. Annette Graydon (Diocese of Niagara) is a founding member of her parish’s Mothers’ Union branch and past president of the diocesan and Canadian Mother’s Union. She has represented Canadian Anglican women at the Mothers’ Union Worldwide Council and at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
  • Canon Bud Smith (Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior) served as chancellor and historian of the Diocese of Cariboo. He continues to give leadership in the creation of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior by advising key leaders-both locally and at the level of ecclesiastical province.
  • Mr. Roger L. Spack (Diocese of Montreal) was a leader in the Anglican Young People’s Association (now Anglican Youth Movement) at the parish, diocesan, and national levels. Mr. Spack served as member of and observer at the Montreal Diocesan Synod for 35 years, as well as a delegate to provincial synods and General Synods. Mr. Spack was secretary of Anglican Essentials (now Anglican Communion Alliance) for 12 years.

COGS approved the recipients of the Anglican Order of Merit.


COGS adopted terms of reference for its Planning and Agenda Team for the triennium 2013 to 2016.

Financial Management Committee

Bishop James Cowan, member of the Financial Management Committee, and Treasurer Hanna Goschy presented the Financial Management Committee’s report and related resolutions.


COGS received the report of the Financial Management Committee

COGS ratified the grants approved by the Ministry Investment Fund Committee at its meeting on December 19, 2012 for a total of $95,590 for 2013.

Bishop Cowan introduced the revised Statement of Investment Policy and Goals of the Anglican Church of Canada Consolidated Trust Fund. Changes included new wording for the section on corporate social responsibility. Bishop Cowan explained that this revision would allow investment managers to use Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) screens.

COGS members had a variety of questions about this revised statement. Some wondered if this corporate social responsibility wording was an improvement or not. Others wondered how General Synod evaluated investment performance.

The Treasurer said they had recently undergone a review and sought to balance reasonable investment fees and good performance. Overall performance for

2012 was 9.5% (before investment fees) against benchmark return of 6.2%.


COGS approved the revised Statement of Investment Policy and Goals.

Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund
The Rev. David Pritchard, PWRDF vice president, and Adele Finney, executive director of PWRDF, addressed COGS in order to “seek clarification about PWRDF’s role in changing structures.”

Ms. Finney said she felt “some uneasiness about lack of mention of PWRDF” in recent structures conversation. She said that she heard that COGS understood PWRDF as a related entity and partner in ministry.

Ms. Finney said she understands that PWRDF will continue to be a voice at COGS with the opportunity to present its work. PWRDF is open to more participation and joint work at various levels in current and emerging structures.

Division of Partners in Mission and Ecojustice Committee

The chancellor, David Phillip Jones, presented a resolution that would divide the Partners in Mission and Ecojustice committee into two separate committees. He provided two alternatives that would unfold according to what General Synod decided about new structures. If General Synod adopted the new structures proposal, the Mission and Ecojustice would become two coordinating committees. If General Synod did not adopt the proposal, then the current standing committee would be divided into two standing committees.

A discussion followed about whether to plan such action for both scenarios. Members decided that part two was not desirable. If General Synod does not adopt the new committee structure, there is no point in creating another standing committee-this would only increase the size of governance structures. The chancellor agreed to reword this resolution.

Faith, Worship, and Ministry Resolutions
Members returned to address several outstanding resolutions from the Faith, Worship, and Ministry Committee:


In response to Resolution 15.33 of the Anglican Consultative Council-15, COGS received Rites Relating to Marriage: Report of the Canterbury International Anglican Liturgical Consultation 2011 and, subject to available financial resources and Council’s priorities, coordinate and finalize the Canadian response to this Report.


Subject to available financial resources and Council’s priorities, COGS resolved to make arrangements for the continuation of the ethical reflection in the areas of (1) the theology of money and (2) social media.


COGS resolved that the General Secretary circulate the portion (pp.23-90) of the IASCUFO report to ACC-15 dealing with communion ecclesiology to bishops, theological faculties, diocesan doctrine committees, persons or groups involved in Anglican Communion networks and companion relationships, and others with appropriate interest and expertise, for study and response.


Subject to available financial resources and council’s priorities, COGS resolved to establish a task group to determine how we best coordinate our Anglican Communion and Ecumenical relations.

COGS resolved to recognize the importance of several areas of ongoing work currently in progress and find ways to continue this work, subject to financial resources and council’s priorities. (Examples in this “omnibus resolution” included work on adult Christian formation and national policies concerning physical abuse, sexualized violence, bullying, and harassment.

COGS also resolved to pass this next resolution to General Synod, as it is a high point in ecumenical work and agreement:


COGS received with appreciation the document The Church: Towards a Common Vision (Faith and Order Commission, World Council of Churches) and commended it for study to the Anglican Church of Canada. (The resolution also included appreciation for Canadian Anglicans who contributed to this work and suggested ways to disseminate the text and encourage response.)

COGS members took a lunch break from noon to 1:00.


COGS members returned to address remaining resolutions from various areas of work:

COGS members resolved to update the Communications and Information Resources Committee Terms of Reference. (This was to omit mentions of areas of work that no longer exist.)

Messages to the next COGS
A small writing group (consisting of Brianna Locke, the Ven. Dr. Lynne McNaughton, and Ali Symons) presented a summary of messages for the next COGS. They developed this material by reviewing input from yesterday’s Vision 2019 conversations, partners’ reflections, and input from table group discussions. Messages included “In all you do, continue to evaluate the priorities and practices of Vision 2019,” and “Grow together with our Indigenous sisters and brothers.”

Division of Partners in Mission and Ecojustice Committee (continued)

The chancellor returned with a redrafted resolution on this subject.

COGS recommended that General Synod amend section 39 of the constitution to read “Partners in Mission Committee” and “Ecojustice Committee.” (This will be proposed if General Synod decides to revise section 39 of the constitution to create coordinating committees.)

Partners in Mission and Ecojustice resolutions
COGS agreed to pass several resolutions from the Partners in Mission and Ecojustice Committee to General Synod:


COGS recommended to General Synod that it strengthen its commitment to the pursuit of peace with justice for all in Palestine and Israel. (This resolution contained several specific recommendations, including joint work with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and KAIROS.)

COGS recommended that General Synod support creation care across the church, specifically by helping parishes in living out a commitment to the fifth Mark of

Mission. (This resolution also included specific recommendations, including “undertaking green audits in partnership with Greening Sacred Spaces.”)

COGS recommended that Joint Assembly endorse a draft Joint Assembly Declaration. (This declaration explains the biblical roots of being “Together for the Love of the World.”)

Dr. Andrea Mann, global relations coordinator, offered greetings on behalf of the Canadian Companions of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. She thanked the COGS members who have joined the companions group.

Dr. Mann presented a resolution for General Synod that would recognize the seventh Sunday of Easter as Jerusalem Sunday. On this Sunday churches would give special attention to Anglican ministry in the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and take up an offering for this work.

Some conversation followed about the pros and cons of designating certain Sundays for themes that are not part of the liturgical calendar. The Primate noted that the companions took these concerns into consideration when planning this date and endeavoured to find a time when the theme fit into the liturgical season.


COGS recommended that General Synod resolve to observe the seventh Sunday of Easter, commonly known as the Sunday after Ascension Day, as Jerusalem Sunday.

Thank yous
The Primate thanked staff for their work supporting the meetings of the Council of General Synod this triennium.

He acknowledged the work of Dianne Izzard and Josie De Lucia in coordinating all details of the meetings; Pat Henshaw for her work in taking minutes; Sister Elizabeth, SSJD, who served as chaplain to COGS; Ali Symons (General Synod Communications) and Tess Sison (Anglican Journal) for their reporting work; Bob Falby, prolocutor; Archdeacon Harry Huskins, deputy prolocutor; David Phillip Jones, chancellor; and Ann Bourke, vice chancellor.


Bob Boeckner, member of the Pensions Committee, and Judy Robinson, executive director at the Pensions Office Corporation, gave an update on the Anglican Church of Canada’s pension plan. Ms. Robinson noted that they had a good financial year, earning a return of 13.2%.

However, the pension plan is somewhat vulnerable as a mature plan, with not enough younger members paying in. Ms. Robinson said they are seeking to invite other plans to join their plan in order to diversify their members.

In the meantime, in order to prepare for any future strain on their sustainability, the Pensions Committee is recommending amendments to the regulations so that, if necessary, accrued benefits may be reduced in accordance with provincial laws.


COGS resolved to make changes to regulations 17 and 20 as requested by the Pensions Committee.

The Primate ended the last meeting of the triennium by reading a reflection from Herbert O’Driscoll’s Four Days in Spring. He then asked for prayers for all those leading during Holy Week and Easter, that all would “keep Holy Week devout and Easter joyous.”

COGS members ended by singing “He Came Singing Love,” a New Zealand hymn that Canadian members had discovered at the last meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council.

Members then said their own farewells to each other before dispersing in taxis and cars (then planes and trains for some), back to their homes, work, and ministries across Canada.

Interested in keeping up-to-date on news, opinion, events and resources from the Anglican Church of Canada? Sign up for our email alerts .