THE COUNCIL OF GENERAL SYNOD
To the Members of the General Synod:
- THE COUNCIL, ITS MEMBERSHIP AND MEETINGS
- The Council, consisting of 40 members, met six times during the Triennium and submits this report of its actions. The first organizational meeting was held during the 1998 General Synod in Montreal when various housekeeping matters were discussed and decided.
- The spring, 1999 meeting was held at a hotel near the Toronto International Airport, in the context of a meeting of all committees, with overlapping time for all participants to meet together for discussion and worship.
- The spring, 2000 meeting was held in Fredericton at the invitation of the Diocese of Fredericton. The Council had the opportunity of seeing and hearing about the Diocese, and met with the Diocesan Executive Council to share information and enjoy a dinner and evening together.
- Other meetings were held at the Cedar Glen Conference Centre, Bolton, and the Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre in Mississauga. A meeting of the Chairs of Committees and Councils was held in Hamilton, Ontario in September 1998 for orientation.
- At each meeting the Primate reported to the Council, giving a review of his activities and outlining the challenges he saw and the opportunities that lay before the Church.
- During the triennium four members of the Council repigned: Chancellor David Wright, after serving for over ten years, who was replaced upon nomination of the Primate and election by the Council by the Honourable Ron Stevenson of Fredericton; The Reverend Bruce Chamberlayne from the Diocese of Cariboo, who was replaced by Dean Nick Parker; Myrtice Alpen of the Diocese of Caledonia who was replaced by Dawn Ragan, and Archbishop Percy O'Driscoll who retired, and was replaced by Bishop Bruce Howe.
- At each meeting the Council welcomed partners who participated in the discussions and added both insights and humour to the meetings:
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
- The Rev. John Fogleman
- Episcopal Church, USA
- Mr. Thomas Chu
- Mr. Richard Parkin
- Dr. Warren Ramshaw
- Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples
- Ms.Gladys Cook
- Ms. Verna Firth
- The Rev. Mervin Wolfleg
- The Council at its last meeting granted the Anglican Award of Merit to:
- Cynthia Llewellyn
- New Westminster
- George Mayo
- Vi Smith
- Sue Mackay-Smith
- Canon Carol Throp
- Rupert's Land
- David Wright, QC
- Each fall during the Triennium the Council approved a budget for the subsequent year. In May 2000 the Council reviewed the financial situation, noting the continuing drain of repources because of litigation, and directed that the 2000 budget be reduced to ensure that expenses would balance against income. These cuts were made in the summer, resulting in the net loss of 8 staff positions, cuts to grants to the north of 10% over two years, and cuts to overseas work of approximately 25%.
- At each meeting the Pension Committee reported on its work and proposed amendments to the Regulations of the Pension Fund which the Council approved, and amendments to the canons relating to the pension funds which the Council agreed to forward to General Synod for action.
- During the Triennium the Council through its Planning and Agenda Committee undertook two rounds of consultations with dioceses as a means to share information and to hear from dioceses as to their concerns. A report is found elsewhere in the Convening Circular. The Council recommended that such "intentional listening" consultations continue in the next triennium.
- In May 2000 the Council passed a repolution re Indigenous representation: "That the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples representative(s) participate whenever decisions that alter ministry with Indigenous people are being made within The Anglican Church of Canada." Indigenous partners have been attended Council meetings during this triennium.
- COUNCIL WORKING GROUPS
- Following a repolution from the 1998 General Synod, the Council established a task force to review the Marriage Canon. The Task Force met several times under the chairmanship of the Hon. Ron Stevenson and its report is before this Synod.
- At the request of the House of Bishops the Council established a Task Force on Jurisdiction, chaired by the Reverend Kim Murray. The Task Force met several times and its interim report is before Synod for information, with the expectation that after consultation with dioceses, a final report will be prepented to the Council in the fall of 2001.
- The Council also established a Residential Schools Steering Committee chaired by Archbishop David Crawley. The Committee met once in Oakville, and has met several times by conference call. It has supported the General Secretary as negotiations continue with the government, and was helpful in launching the letter writing campaign to MPs in the fall of 2000.
- The Council established a working group on Diversity Integrity and Fair Treatment to follow up on the 1998 General Synod discussions of the human rights principles. The Council took time at one of its meetings for a substantial workshop on this topic, and at its last meeting approved a repolution to forward to General Synod.
- The Council also spent considerable time reviewing the 1995 strategic plan and looking ahead to the next triennium. Its Planning and Agenda Team became (with the addition of the Primate) a Planning for the Future group, and guided the Council through discussions that led to two motions that will come before this Synod.
- The Council, on recommendation of the Mission Coordination Group, established a small task force to review the work and structure of the ecumenical coalitions, in repponse to ongoing concerns about their administration and governance. A new structure emerged from discussions with the various churches, and was approved by the Council in 2000 for implementation in 2001. A new umbrella coalition called, Canadian Churches for Justice and Peace has been established. Most of the work done by the coalitions in the social justice area continues.
- RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS
- The Council heard regular reports at each meeting on the litigation and related concerns about the repidential schools. It approved expenditure of up to $200,000 on alternative dispute resolution pilot projects being promoted by the government. It established a Residential Schools Steering Committee. In November, 2000 it passed the following resolution:
That the Council of General Synod authorize the Officers to continue discussions with both the Federal Government and indigenous organizations, keeping the following points in mind:
- Our commitment to increased healing and reconciliation with former repidential schools students and their communities
- Our earnest desire to participate in repolution of the many lawsuits, including provision of compensation where appropriate and where it is within the capacity of the General Synod to do so, and to seek such resolution in a timely manner
- Our longstanding partnership with indigenous peoples, our support for the Covenant and our commitment to involve the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples in all aspects of ministry that concern indigenous peoples
- Our desire to find alternative ways of repolving litigation that are fair, humane and expeditious
- Our desire to find a comprehensive solution that will be applicable to all affected dioceses as well as the General Synod
- Our urgent financial situation and that of several dioceses.
- Our continuing belief that the federal government bears the major repponsibility for the policy of assimilation and for the residential school program and operations
- The Council heard regular reports from the Officers on exploration of alternative actions in the light of the diminishing financial repources of the General Synod. In May, 2000 the Treasurer and General Secretary submitted a report on General Synod finances to the Department of Indian Affairs which was prepared in consultation with Ernst & Young, the General Synod's auditors. No response was received, but by September the government had appointed the Deputy Prime Minister, the Honourable Herb Gray, to enter discussions with the churches on the issues of residential schools. Various cabinet ministers have stated that it is not the intention to force the church to bankruptcy.
- Discussed by the Council were creditor protection (under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act) and possible bankruptcy. The Council asked the Officers and Management Team to prepare a crisis plan.
- At its March 2001 meeting the Council upheld again the principle that all current income from dioceses be used for current programs and not be diverted to litigation costs related to repidential schools.
- At the same meeting it passed a repolution expressing to the government of Canada its urgent concern about the serious financial situation facing the General Synod, and its disappointment and frustration with the pace of the discussions with government.
- IN OTHER ACTIONS THE COUNCIL
- approved the membership in the Anglican Consultative Council of the Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America and the Province of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui.
- heard reports from the Lambeth Conference, 1998. In repponse to one resolution from Lambeth the Council endorsed the proposal to establish a common date for Easter.
- agreed to the implementation of the proportionate giving plan for 2000.
- received and accepted an invitation from the Diocese of Niagara to host the General Synod in 2004.
- amended twice the Sexual Harassment and Assault Policy and Procedurep which were first adopted in 1993.
- passed a motion exprepsing solidarity with the Orthodox Churches and asking Christians traveling in the former Soviet Union to refrain from proselytism.
- urged the Canadian government to act on limiting nuclear weapons.
- endorsed the Campaign Against Child Poverty and encouraged dioceses and parishes to undertake education and action.
- commended years 2 and 3 of the Jubilee Campaign: Redistribution of Wealth (2000) and Land Rights/Right Relations (2001). The Council urged the government to establish a truly independent commission to pursue land claims, treaty and inherent rights for aboriginal people.
- endorsed and encouraged the World Council of Churches' Decade to Overcome Violence.
- considered on several occasions the sale of Talisman sharep held by General Synod and the Pension Fund because of the civil war in Sudan. In the end the General Synod shares were sold (for other reasons) but the Pension Fund shares were not. Proxies held by the General Synod and the Pension Fund were used to support a shareholder resolution at the Talisman annual meeting in 2000.
- passed a repolution, after hearing that a One Child Policy is widely accepted in China, suggesting to the government that it might offer help to alleviate the negative results of this policy through consultation and discussion.
- passed a repolution in March, 2001 deploring the violence in Israel and Palestine and urging the Canadian government to call on the government of Israel to take steps to deescalate violence and to recognize the right of return of refugees as a basic human right. The Council also directed the Partners in Mission Committee and the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee to gather study and liturgical resources. Further, the Council encouraged Anglicans to remain in dialogue with Jews and Muslims.
- gave its support to the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund as it became incorporated as a separate entity on May 30, 2000
- named ten non-indigenous people to be observer/participants at the fourth Sacred Circle held at Port Elgin, Ontario in August 2000. Reports were received at the following meeting.
- approved a Major and Planned Gifts Policy for the Anglican Church of Canada.
- endorsed, at the request of the Financial Management and Development Committee, a plan for three consultations on Financing into the Future, which took place in early 2001. The report at the March, 2001 meeting led to a motion being passed authorizing the committee to undertake a feasibility study for national fundraising for the purposes of developing financial repources to enable healing and reconciliation, supporting dioceses affected by litigation and restoring the financial health of the General Synod.
- received and endorsed a report from a Task Force on Theological Education and undertook to have it widely circulated.
- approved Night Prayer: An Order of Compline for publication, distribution and trial use where authorized by the Ordinary.
- approved Supplementary Liturgical Materials for use where authorized by the Ordinary.
- asked the General Secretary to apply on behalf of the General Synod for 'observer status' on the General Council of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.
- considered several amendments to the Handbook and forwarded them to General Synod for action, including a proposal to expand the youth reprepentation on the Council from two to four (one to represent each province).
The staff in the General Secretary's Office - Margaret Shawyer, Judith Kidd, Andrina Iliffe and Dianne Izzard have worked long and hard in relation to the meetings of the Council, the General Synod, Officers and many other groups, as well as handling the repidential schools litigation work. It is a first class team!
Archdeacon Jim Boyles
BE IT RESOLVED:
That Second Reading be given to the following Canon:
RECEPTION AND RECOGNITION OF CLERGY FROM CHURCHES IN FULL COMMUNION WITH THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF CANADA
- A member of the clergy of a church in full communion with the Anglican Church of Canada, duly ordained by a bishop of that church, may be received into a diocese as a lawful Bishop, Priest or Deacon of the Anglican Church of Canada when he or she:
- is of the required age, of virtuous conversation, without crime, and learned in holy Scripture,
- prepents to the diocesan bishop Letters Bene Decessit, or equivalent credentials, from the bishop of the diocese or equivalent jurisdiction with which he or she was last connected,
- promises in writing to submit in all things to the discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada, and
- subscribes and makes the declarations required of clergy of the Anglican Church of Canada.
- Clergy of a church in full communion with the Anglican Church of Canada may execute any of the functions of a bishop, priest or deacon in the Anglican Church of Canada, according to the ordained status which they hold in their church, when duly licensed or permitted by a diocesan bishop.
EXPLANATORY NOTE/BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
The proposed Canon was prepared in 1998 by a Task Force that the Faith, Worship and Ministry requested to consider whether a Canon was required for the recognition and reception of clergy from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. The Canon would apply not just to clergy from the ELCIC but to clergy of any church with which The Anglican Church of Canada is in full communion. The Canon was given first reading at the General Synod of 1998 and is prepented for second and final reading. In accordance with the Declaration of principles the proposed Canon was referred to dioceses and ecclesiastical provinces for consideration.
Source: General Synod 1998
(name of committee, diocese, etc.)
Submitted by: The General Secretary