Highlights from the Council of General Synod: May 4, 2014

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Order’s of the Day / Members’ Concerns

Council members began their second day of business meetings with a hymn. Jane Osler, co-chair of the Agenda and Planning Team, reviewed the agenda for the day.

Cynthia Haines-Turner reported on behalf of the Nominations Committee. Ms. Tannis Webster was the sole nominee to the Ministry Investment Fund Committee.

The Rev. Lynne McNaughton reported that there were two nominations for the member of the 2013 GSPC appointed by CoGS to the 2016 GSPC: Catherine Ascah and Jamie Tomlinson.

There were four nominations from CoGS to the General Synod Planning Committee: Ms. Cynthia Haines-Turner, the Venerable Canon Terry Leer, Mr. James Sweeney, and Mr. Noel Platte.

Primate’s Report

Archbishop Fred Hiltz delivered his report to CoGS “fresh out of the House of Bishops” gathering, where they enjoyed meetings and time for retreat. Mr. Hiltz reported that it was a very good meeting of this ever-changing body. “We’re always welcoming new people, and saying thanks and farewell.” At this gathering, the House welcomed for the first time Bishops Logan McMenamie (British Columbia), and Melissa Skelton (New Westminster). They were hoping to also greet for the first time Bishop Geoffrey Peddle (Eastern Newfoundland & Labrador), but he was unable to attend the gathering.

The House also celebrated Bishop Ron Cutler’s new role as diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Mr. Hiltz also lifted up Archbishop Colin Johnson’s new ministry as the Bishop of Moosonee as a “wonderful example of the House ‘in counsel together.'”

National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald was also welcomed as the new bishop for the northern region of Manitoba. Mr. MacDonald will provide pastoral oversight to the region as it discerns its future in light of the creation of the Diocese of Mishamikweesh. Bishop Lydia Mamakwa will be the first diocesan bishop of Mishamikweesh, which comes into being June 4, 2014. Mr. Hiltz said he was looking forward to this great celebration of Indigenous self-determination.

The House of Bishops said farewell to Archbishop Claude Miller, Diocese of Fredericton, who retires on June 26, 2014.

Mr. Hiltz told Council members that this gathering was a departure from past House of Bishop meetings. They bishops discerned a need to take a time of retreat and so they set aside their usual way of meeting. They focussed on their calling as bishops and how to strengthen each other in the exercise of this ministry. “We had a good week. We felt refreshed, renewed, and ready to move forward.”

The House of Bishops is going to do more work on clarifying its place in the life of the church and how it might best provide leadership.

The rest of the Primate’s report focussed on the nature of the Anglican Communion and our church’s place in it. He read an excerpt from the Handbook of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada that detailed the structure, priorities, and theological commitments of the worldwide communion. The excerpt concluded with a passage that spoke to the rest of Mr. Hiltz’s address, “These Christian brothers and sisters share prayer, resources, support and knowledge across geographical and cultural boundaries.”

Mr. Hiltz remarked with appreciation that the Canadian church has always played its part in the life of the Communion. He reminded the Council of last year’s 50th anniversary of the Anglican Congress. This gathering saw the emergence of the principle of MRI – mutuality, responsibility, and interdependence – that still inform the way Anglicans relate to each other here and around the world. In the context of the health of the Communion, Mr. Hiltz encouraged the Council to see mission, in the words of William Temple, “as not as ours, but as God’s. If there is to be renewal in the church it must be for the sake of the world that God so loves.”

“Our church has always had a deep commitment to partnerships. We now only have five principle partnerships, but they are very significant in terms of history, substance, and spirit.”

Mr. Hiltz turned first to the Anglican Church of Canada’s partnership with the Iglesia Epsicopal de Cuba (IEC). He sang General Secretary Michael Thompson’s praises for giving so much to the work of the IEC as secretary of the Metropolitan Council that governs it. “He has poured his heart and soul into serving the church there.” The Primate also expressed gratitude for Mr. Thompson’s dexterity with the Spanish language, which has been an invaluable asset to his visits there. Mr. Hiltz also offered thanks to Dr. Andrea Mann, Director, Global Relations and Partnerships, for her hard work in ensuring all ministry agreements are in place and being honoured.

The Anglican Church of Canada’s partnership with the IEC also focusses on theological education through support for students and clergy, and stipends for faculty positions. The church is also supporting the development of a diocesan centre for spiritual renewal, education, and worship at Camp Blankingship.

Mr. Hiltz spoke of the Diocese of Jerusalem as “one of the great good news stories about our church and our commitment to the life of church throughout the communion.” He remembered with fondness his first solidarity visit with the diocese in 2009. “I fell in love with the Diocese of Jerusalem. One of the things that amazed me was the commitment to hospitality and the welcoming of pilgrims, education, health care in some of the most dangerous places in the Middle East, and reconciliation for lasting peace.”

Looking to his own church, the Primate was pleased to note that Canadian Anglicans are increasingly passionate about prayer, pilgrimage, and partnership with the Diocese of Jerusalem.

Ending is his remarks on partnership with the Diocese of Jerusalem, Mr. Hiltz again shared his excitement that full communion partners the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada are also celebrating Jerusalem Sunday this year and that The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will join Canadian churches in this celebration in 2015.

Turning his attention to partnerships with the church in Africa, the Primate acknowledged that relationships have been strained in recent years, but that there is much to celebrate. In particular, Mr. Hiltz noted renewed commitment to partnership with the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) through an arrangement with The Episcopal Church. The ACC and TEC share a staff resource – the Rev. Canon Dr. Isaac Kawuki Mukasa – who is helping churches move into more meaningful relationship.

The Primate expressed deep appreciation for Archbishop Colin Johnson’s efforts in spearheading this initiative, which has evolved into a “wonderful modelling of how we can engage with one another in respectful dialogue.” Our church’s relationship with CAPA offers a lot to the “rest of the Communion about sitting down with people and meeting them eye to eye and heart to heart.”

Elsewhere globally, many Commissions of the Anglican Communion enjoy the leadership and participation of Canadian Anglicans. This includes service on liturgy, education, and mission and evangelism commissions. Anglican Communion Networks for health care, family life, women, gender equality, Indigenous people, and environment also see robust Canadian Anglican participation.

Mr. Hiltz noted strong Canadian interest in and commitment to the World Council of Church’s study document, The Church: Toward a Common Vision. The Anglican Church of Canada will study it and make a response by mid-2015.

The Primate also reflected on a recent personal, pastoral visit with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. During this brief visit, the Archbishop of Canterbury expressed gratitude for the service of the Anglican Church of Canada to the whole communion and was pleased to see so much attention given to the Marks of Mission. He was also pleased with what the Primate shared about the work of the Commission on the Marriage Canon and its commitment to transparency and broad consultation.

Reconciliation is a priority for the Archbishop of Canterbury’s tenure. Reflecting on this global priority, the Primate said that it is appropriate to speak of gestures toward reconciliation rather than gestures of reconciliation. This shift in language, he said, better reflects that “we have a long way to and have a lot of listening to do.” The Primate noted that the Archbishop of Canterbury is following with great interest issues relating to Indigenous self-determination within the Anglican Church of Canada.

The Primate concluded his address to Council on a note of hope, “We’re living at a time when the mission statement of the ACC is being lived afresh.”

Council members recited the Anglican Church of Canada Mission Statement (https://www.anglican.ca/about/mission-statement/) and sang a hymn written for the occasion of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s May 2014 visit to Canada. 

Commission on the Marriage Canon


CoGS adjourned and reconvened as the Committee of the Whole.

General Secretary, the Ven. Dr. Michael Thompson, invited the Council into conversation about submissions to the Commission on the Marriage Canon. He invited the Council to consider giving direction to the Commission on balancing the requirement of transparency with requests for anonymity and privacy.

Council members discussed scenarios where people may not want their names published to the website along with their submission. Members also identified some challenges with requests for privacy and expressed some reluctance about publishing submissions without names.

The Primate suggested that the Council collate its reflections on this and that a small group of member report back tomorrow with recommendations on giving further direction to the Commission on this issue.


The Committee of the Whole adjourned and reconvened as Council of General Synod.

In Counsel Together

The Rev. Karen Egan invited table groups into conversation. She offered a series of questions that helped members think through their experiences and responses to conflict. Table groups were then invited to consider how they might apply these experiences to conflict that may emerge through their work as CoGS.

The Council broke for lunch from 12pm to 1:30pm. 

Settlement Agreement & Resolution


CoGS adjourned and reconvened as Committee of the Whole.

Canon David Jones, Chancellor of General Synod, circulated a briefing note to facilitate a discussion on the possible return of funds from the Residential Schools Settlement. The original agreement was signed with an obligation to raise a $25 million contribution from the Anglican parties to the settlement. This settlement included a most favoured churches provision that left open the possibility for reduced contributions should other churches later negotiate more favourable terms for the Residential Schools Settlement. This did take place and resulted in the original ACC settlement being reduced to just over $15.6 million. Now some
of that money may not be required to fulfill our obligations, due to a provision in the IRSSA to require those funds only in proportion to Roman Catholic fundraising.

Mr. Jones gave the Council three questions for consideration:

1) Would CoGS want General Synod’s share of potential non-required funds to be returned to General Synod? Might funds go to the Healing Fund? Or to a parallel or similarly situated fund with similar objectives that are not subject to the same operating constraints of the Healing Fund?

2) How do we go about the sharing among the 32 Anglican entities any non-required funds? How will this agreement be reached? Is it paid pro-rata based on entities’ contributions?

3) How do we deal with the continuing administration costs of the Healing Fund? The amended agreement stipulates that these are paid first from interest accrued on these assets. Given current low interest rates, administration costs are exceeding available resources. When the fund is at $0 at the end of 2014, how will these costs be covered?

Mr. Jones emphasized that CoGS does not need to make a decision today and that officers will consult over the next few months to consider pathways forward.

The Primate asked the co-chair of the Planning and Agenda Team for time tomorrow to talk about issues arising from Mr. Jones’s presentation so that “we do this with some thought and some heart.”


Committee of the Whole adjourned and reconvened as CoGS.

Indigenous Ministries 

The Rev. Norman Wesley offered a reflection on his experiences as an Indigenous Anglican and some of the lingering challenges our church faces. He expressed sorrow that there are many parts of the “the white man’s world where we are bystanders and we watch . . . and we are not part of it.”

He recounted his faith journey in the church and that he very recently came to feel at home in this place and could say “This is my church, this is God’s church.” Mr. Wesley is hopeful that we are soon at a time where we can offer gestures of reconciliation.

Mr. Wesley stressed that it is important for the Council take time to understand the journey Indigenous people are on within the Anglican Church of Canada.

The Ven. Sidney Black, Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples co-chair, opened his reflection with a prayer of thanksgiving. He reported that ACIP met in March and that members gathered from the north, the east, the south, and the west in this great land of Turtle Island. ACIP members understand that it is important to take some sacred time to sit in a circle and to check in with each other. Mr. Black said he found these check ins “very refreshing, renewing, and full of so much living hope.” He gave thanks for the mercy of God in the lives of ACIP members.

Mr. Black reported on the first meeting of the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice. He saw this as a great open doorway of opportunity on the way of fulfilling the elders’ dream of a self-determining Indigenous church within the Anglican Church of Canada.

Planning is underway for Sacred Circle 2015. ACIP is beginning work on amendments to Cannon XXII (The National Indigenous Ministry) and has also decided to form smaller working groups to work on a number of issues including statements on stipendiary ministry, establishment of Indigenous ministries, finances, and support for regional ministries.

Mr. Black reported that Anglican Indigenous Network met in New Zealand in November 2013. He spoke very fondly of the incredible hospitality delegates experienced there. In particular, the closing Holy Eucharist stood out because it reminded him so much of home and how community gathers as the Body of Christ.

National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald offered a report focussed on the 1994 Covenant and Our Journey of Spiritual Renewal. As the church marked the 20th anniversary of both this Covenant and the 1993 apology for residential schools, it is important to focus on how the covenant is being followed.

Mr. MacDonald noted that the 2011 Mississauga Declaration was responded to positively by CoGS, but that this was not a universal response in the church. He thought this suggested that more work needed to take place to put it in context alongside The Covenant. “As we gathered as ACIP we realized how important the relationship with CoGS is and that you understand the historical background and context of this relationship.”

To support CoGS understanding of the relationship between Indigenous Ministries and their work, Mr. MacDonald showed a short video covering the first few Sacred Circles, the apology, and the birth of The Covenant.

“We have a sense that this triennium will be one of the most momentous of the last few decades. Having you on board in terms of background is vital.”

Mr. MacDonald concluded his remarks by having Council members recite The Covenant.

Bishop Lydia Mamakwa spoke about the work toward a self-determining Anglican Indigenous church that is taking place within the Anglican Church of Canada. The most important work that is taking place on this front is the formation of a new diocese. This is the first Indigenous diocese in the Anglican Church of Canada and Ms. Mamakwa will serve as its bishop. She said the new diocese “gives us encouragement that [The Covenant] was not borne out of our own will, but the will of the Creator.”

Ms. Mamakwa shared with the Council that this was the fourth anniversary of her consecration as a bishop. Council members applauded.

She indicated that there is much work to be done in the new diocese in the areas of formation and training for ministry because many communities are without clergy and many clergy are at retirement age.

The new diocese will be known as the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikweesh. It will encompass over 25 First Nations communities in Manitoba and northwestern Ontario and will be administered out of Kingfisher Lake, Ontario. The diocesan synod will be known as the sacred gathering.

She concluded by asking for prayers as we continue to walk together.

The Primate led Council members in the reading of the resolution offered in response to the 1994 covenant.

Afternoon business meetings ended with prayer and song. 


Votes were held for the member from CoGS of the 2013 General Synod Planning Committee to the 2016 General Synod Planning Committee and for the CoGS representative to the 2016 General Synod Planning Committee.

Committee Meetings

Committee meetings took place from 4pm to 5pm.

The Council broke for hospitality and supper from 5pm to 7pm. 


Mr. Jamie Tomlinson was elected by CoGS as the member of the 2013 General Synod Planning Committee to the 2016 General Synod Planning Committee. Ms. Cynthia Haines-Turner was elected as the CoGS representative to the 2016 General Synod planning Committee.


Motion to destroy ballots.

Faith, Worship, and Ministry

The Very Rev. Peter Wall, Dean of Niagara, presented the report from Faith, Worship, and Ministry. He also brought greetings from the 2014 North American Dean’s Conference

He said the Committee is enjoying lots of creative, interesting work and is exploring new ways of working together. The group is considering ways to best carry out their work given that there are fewer people and opportunities to meet face-to-face. Currently the group is considering a day and a half together to prioritize their work.


Be it resolved that this Council of General Synod:

a) authorize the current iteration of the Anglican Church of Canada-United Church of Canada Dialogue to continue its work on mutual recognition of ministries;

b) request the addition to the dialogue of one representative from the House of Bishops; and

c) request that the Dialogue report to the General Synod of 2016

Be it resolved that this Council of General Synod authorize the publication, for study, trial use, and evaluation, where permitted by the Ordinary, of the following provisional texts of the Liturgy Task Force:

– Inclusive Language Liturgical Psalter;

– Morning and Evening Prayer, seasonally, beginning with Ordinary time;

– Revised Common Lectionary Based Collects, beginning with Pentecost Year A and following through the seasons as these become available

Accountability Reviews

The Rev. Canon Dr. Neil Elliot, Chair of the Communications Coordinating Committee, presented a report on the Communications Review. He said there has been a considerable amount of hard work and consultation with department staff and management since the Communications Review. Some complications have come up that are challenges implementing the recommendations outlined in the review. In particular, Mr. Sam Carriere, Director, Communications and Information Resources, is on short term leave for health reasons and a search for an editor for the Anglican Journal is currently getting underway.

Mr. Elliot noted that the report has been widely circulated and that the Anglican Journal Committee is actively considering the recommendation to review the format and frequency of the Journal.

Progress is also being made on website reconfiguration and developing a single news channel. This work is complex, but Mr. Elliot was happy to report that there are good, recent examples of General Synod communications and the Anglican Journal working collaboratively and cooperatively.

In response to critique that Church House departments exist in silos, Mr. Elliot noted that Anglican Journal editorial independence sometimes necessitates working separately. He also said that there is increased in house collaboration and communication.

Communications and Information Resources staff has welcomed assessing the success of projects and their work as a whole, including the use of metrics and other measures of accountability to the broader church.

A contract for information technology services has been signed.

Resources for Mission

Ms. Monica Patten presented a report on behalf of the Resources for Mission Coordinating Committee.

She said members wanted to comment on the tone and content of the recent review of the Resources for Mission Department. In particular, they expressed some concern that there was no mention of stewardship in the report, nor was there mention of the staff resources.

Ms. Patten, who is serving the department as interim director, noted that she is grateful to not have the particular challenge of managing more than one department. She also expressed hope that she is a good fit for the report’s stated qualifications for Director of Resources for Mission.

Since the review was delivered, the Coordinating Committee has met twice. Their work included a review of three to five years’ worth of data with a view of developing a plan built on many of the ideas found in the report.

The heart of this plan is work on annual appeals, major gifts, and diocesan services.

Ms. Patten identified technical barriers to success in her department and that she is working closely with staff to secure a new donor management system. She noted with appreciation support from Finance and Communications and Information Resources on this front.

The conclusion of her report focussed on the department’s room for improvement on the cost of fundraising. Ms. Patten was careful to stress that this issue must not be oversimplified as we consider it together.

Ms. Patten noted that she has helped build strong relationships across departments and will begin mapping all fundraising activity happening at Church House.

She expressed gratitude for the very thoughtful and generous work that the Committee has offered.


Dr. Andrea Mann, Coordinator, Global Relations and Partnerships, presented an update on General Synod Resolution A172, which seeks to strengthen the church’s commitment to the pursuit of peace with justice for all in Palestine and Israel.

This resolution includes reaffirming existing commitments to solidarity with Anglicans in the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East in their work for justice and peace. Ms. Mann noted that Jerusalem Sunday is part of this reaffirmation as is diocesan companionship between Jerusalem and Ottawa. She also noted that there is energy for further developing the Companions of Jerusalem network.

Another part of this resolution is to reiterate established policy of the Anglican Church of Canada on Israel/Palestine. These policies include the affirmation of legitimate aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace, condemns the use of violence, and calls for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories (East Jerusalem, West Bank, and Gaza).

Discussion by Council followed on the impact of Anglican Church of Canada work on these issues on our ecumenical and interfaith relationships.

Follow up on Commission on the Marriage Canon

General Secretary, the Ven. Dr. Michael Thompson, noted the intense care that this Council takes over the deliberations in front of them. He also thanked presenters for their care in bringing accessible and valuable information to the Council.  Four possibilities are before the Council that were distilled from earlier conversations and meetings.

1)          Default position that all submissions to the Commission on the Marriage Canon be posted to the website with attribution.

2)          Those intending to make a submission tot eh Commission may request, in advance of their submission, that their contribution not be attributed with their name.

3)          Submissions to the commission, while signed, will not be publicly associated with the name of the person making the submission.

4)          Two lists will be made public – first, a collection of submissions to the commission, and second, a list of those making submissions.

Key Messages

Planning and Agenda Team co-chair Jane Osler invited members to record key messages on sticky notes. These will be collated and shared tomorrow.

The Council adjourned for the day at 8:40pm and enjoyed evening prayer and a time of hospitality. 


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