General Synod 2001
Anglican Church of Canada home page
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada home page
general information
event information
reports and resolutions


Report 008

Information Resources Committee

report to General Synod on the 1998-2001 Triennium

This report is for information.

Communication creates community

Communication is participatory

Communication liberates

Communication supports and develops cultures

Communication is prophetic.

These five principles have been adopted by the World Association for Christian Communication, and we learned of them early during the triennium. We hope they have guided us through a time of both significant progress and significant upheaval.

Highlights and achievements:

  1. The triennium began with the launch of Common Praise, born, as all hymnbooks are, amid controversy. The book, now in its third printing, has been warmly embraced across the church. More than 100,000 copies of the full-music edition have been sold. A words-only edition, released late last year, is now in its second printing, having sold more than 20,000 copies.

  2. Anglican Book Centre sales (not counting Common Praise) increased through the triennium. Last year the combined operations of the publishing and retailing operation contributed net $430,000 to General Synod's overall revenue (unaudited figures). Although ABC is justly known as a comprehensive source for Christian resources - with more than 25,000 titles in stock, representing more than 1,200 religious publishers - it's worth noting that fully a third of our sales come from our own ABC publications.

  3. We are pleased by consistent reports from customers of excellent service received from a knowledgeable and courteous sales staff.

  4. August this year will see ABC Publishing launch Path Books, a new imprint offering practical spirituality to enrich everyday living. We hope with this new line to increase our service to the seekers in our midst.

  5. August will also see a gathering of diocesan bookstore managers at the invitation of, and partially hosted by, ABC. This is a professional development event that will also help enhance our good relationships with these important diocesan partners.

  6. The Anglican Journal continued to win professional recognition as one of the finest church publications in North America, receiving numerous prestigious awards from the international Associated Church Press and from the Canadian Church Press. Last year these organizations awarded it first prizes for General Excellence and Best of Class, respectively.

  7. The Journal has worked to keep church members well informed during this tumultuous time. Readership response has been extremely positive. Response to the Journal financial appeal, in particular, has exceeded expectations.

  8. During the triennium we said goodbye to the Rev. David Harris, who had guided the Journal since 1996, and welcomed Sam Carriere as editor, beginning with the October 2000 issue. Mr. Carriere also continues as editor of the popular magazine MinistryMatters.

  9. MinistryMatters produced a special issue called Residential Schools: Legacy and Hope, in January 2000. This has provided a basic resource for individuals and parishes wishing to learn more about the history of the schools, and about our church's response. It has also been widely distributed, by request, to members of other churches and to the Aboriginal community.

  10. We have significantly increased resources available to support the growth of our web site,, making it increasingly useful as a tool of communication and ministry. We make the full text of the Anglican Journal and MinistryMatters available on the web. An email subscription list allows anyone to receive copies of our news releases automatically. Access to research databases is planned.

  11. In the restructuring imposed by staff reductions late last year, the web staff were combined with Anglican Journal editorial staff into a News and Information group, an attempt to use the limited staff resources more efficiently. The Journal's mandate as an independent editorial voice was unaffected.

  12. Anglican Video completed production of Great Pilgrimages, its second documentary intended for secular audiences. Great Pilgrimages was broadcast on ABC affiliated stations in the fall of 2000. The original documentary in the series, The Power Within: Healing through Prayer, was broadcast on the Odyssey network (U.S.) this past January.

  13. The documentary series was suspended in the August 2000 budget reductions. However, a distributor is continuing to negotiate broadcast contracts and video sales for both productions. For example, Great Pilgrimages has been bought by a European broadcaster, for use next year; and The Power Within will be dubbed into Spanish for a consortium of South American broadcasters.

  14. Among the resource (non-broadcast) productions completed by Anglican Video in the past year are: Northern Ministry, An Anglican Challenge, produced for the Council of the North, with the assistance of Anglican Appeal; Residential Schools Litigation: Information and Perspectives, produced for the diocesan consultations last year, and widely used in parishes; Sexual Misconduct: How to Spot It; How to Stop It, produced for the Diocese of Toronto (this video has received an award from the International Film and Video Association); Walking a New Vision, for the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, a documentary about the Sacred Circle gathering in August last year; and a yet-to-be-titled video you will see at the beginning of General Synod, that attempts to highlight some defining moments in the life of the church since 1998.

  15. We adopted a set of operating guidelines for both broadcast and non-broadcast video productions, to clarify and codify existing practice.

  16. A common database for the whole of Church House came online during the triennium, allowing greater accuracy and efficiency. The committee developed policy for the use of the database, and recommended appropriate security measures. A significant portion of the 2001 Anglican Church Directory was produced from the database.

  17. We approved a copyright manual for distribution to diocesan archivists.

  18. We have been involved in contingency planning, as part of a response to the residential schools litigation, to determine ways in which the church as a whole may be able to retain some common facilities in the event that General Synod becomes insolvent. Specifically, we have looked at particular courses of action through which: the Anglican Book Centre can continue to function, possibly as a co-op structure; the Anglican Journal can continue its dual roles as a national newspaper, and as a circulation and distribution vehicle for diocesan papers; and the integrity of the General Synod archives can be maintained as a unified collection.

  19. We participated during our regular meetings in a number of continuing education sessions designed to help us remain aware of current thinking and best practices. These included: Christian Principles of Communication, assisted by the Rev. Randy Naylor (then) Director of Communications, National Council of Churches (USA); Developing web strategy, assisted by Andy Lang, Web Editor, United Church of Christ; and Crisis Communication and Management, assisted by Mr. Ross Perry, Enterprise Canada.

  20. We reviewed our terms of reference and mandates, and noted that this is the first triennium of a revised structure. While we have no proposals for further change at this time, we have noted some more flexible operating styles to experiment with in the next triennium.

  21. We completed a review of our communications strategy in our February 2001 meeting and have proposed an outline of strategy going forward in the next triennium. This outline is appended. It will be a subject of conversation with committee members and staff during this General Synod meeting.


  22. At the beginning of this triennium we expressed to the Council of General Synod our concern about the adequacy of the work environment at 600 Jarvis Street, including retail space. At the conclusion we note the continuing and intensifying pressure on staff arising from the budget cuts of the past August. We have expressed to the Council of General Synod our continuing concern about the long-term effect of overwork on staff health, and about our ability to preserve essential services.

  23. All areas of General Synod work have been affected by last year's reductions. The impact on staff complement has been most intense in the Information Resources area. In response the Archives and Library are operating with reduced hours, and the Anglican Journal is publishing fewer pages, among other effects. Archives and Library, in particular, are stretched to maintain basic areas of their mandates. These facilities, in our view, represent basic infrastructure, and they are in danger.

  24. The closing of the Resource Centre represents the loss of a piece of infrastructure, to the keen disappointment of many.

  25. In the fall of 1999 we asked the Council of General Synod to mandate the creation of an Information Technology Strategy for Church House. Council approved this request, but no subsequent action was taken. We continue to believe that an information technology strategy is needed.

Despite these concerns, we are grateful for the many achievements of the year. Speaking for the committee, and for myself, we are extremely grateful for the dedicated work that has been done, and continues to be done, by our professional staff. We look forward to continuing to serve the church in the next triennium.

Respectfully submitted,

Rob Welch, Chair

IRC Communication Strategy Review

Table summarizing goals, constituencies, vehicles, audiences, and the future

[ACC Home] [News] [Ministries] [Resources] [Directories]     [Sitemap] [search]

These pages ©1998-2007 the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada
While this is the official site of the Anglican Church of Canada, the material published here does not necessarily reflect official positions of the General Synod or any other body of the church. In cases where an official position is represented, that is indicated on the page or in the text in question.

Contact: for general inquiries and requests; for Web site corrections