General Synod 2007

GS07 Report 07
Report of the Council of General Synod to the General Synod of The Anglican Church of Canada

up to Convening Circular
^-- up to Reports


The Report

Appendix 1: Statement to the Anglican Communion from the Anglican Communion Environmental Network
Appendix 2: A Charter For Racial Justice in The Anglican Church of Canada
Appendix 3: A Response of the Windsor Report Response Group (PDF)
Appendix 4: Report of the Primate’s Theological Commission on the Blessing of Same-Sex Unions (PDF)
Appendix 5: Governance Working Group Report to Council of General Synod
Appendix 6: Planning and Agenda Team Terms of Reference
Appendix 7: Vision and Principles of Communication
Appendix 8: Revised Guidelines for the Conduct of a Primatial Election

Prepared by the General Secretary, March, 2007

The Council met seven times during the last triennium in Mississauga, Ontario, except for the first meeting, which was held at Brock University, in St Catharines, Ontario. The Acting Primate, Archbishop David Crawley, chaired the first meeting and the Primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, convened and chaired all other meetings. The Prolocutor, the Very Reverend Peter Elliott assisted in the chairing of the meetings.

Throughout the triennium partners from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, (the Reverend Sonja Free), the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, (the Ven. Sidney Black, the Reverend Gloria Moses), the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (Mrs. Denise Hambidge), and the Episcopal Church in the USA, (the Rev. Canon Stephen Lane, the Rev. Canon Petero Sabune), attended the meetings and participated in the discussions.

During the triennium there were a number of changes in the membership of the Council:
Ms. Catharine Torraville was added as the youth representative from the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada
Ms. Louise Cooper was added as the youth representative from the Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia and Yukon
The resignation of the Venerable Susan DeGruchy, her place being taken by the Rev. Dr. Stephen Andrews
The appointment of the Ven. Dr. Michael Pollesel as the General Secretary of General Synod
The retirement of the Ven. Peter Zimmer, his place being taken by the Very Rev. Louise Peters
The appointment of Mr. Justice Brian Burrows as Vice-Chancellor
The resignation of Mr Peter Irish as Deputy Prolocutor, his place being taken through election by Mrs. Susan Winn

At each meeting the council welcomed Archbishop Terry Finlay as its chaplain.
Also welcomed to the meetings was Canon Allen Box and, from time to time, Archdeacon Helena Houldcroft, who functioned as facilitators, as well as Bishop Jim Cowan, chair of the Planning and Agenda Team.

At its meeting in March, 2007 the Council awarded the Anglican Order of Merit to:
Ms. Dorothy Davies-Flindall of Ontario, Mr. Klaus Gruber of Saskatoon, Mr. Clyne Harradence of Saskatchewan, Ms. Elizabeth (Betty) Livingston of Huron, and Mr. Tsuyoshi Eddy Nishida of Calgary.

During its first meeting Council was introduced to the theme for the coming three years: Serving God’s World, Strengthening the Church: a framework for a common mission in Christ. This theme was adopted, affirmed, and often referred to during the triennium.

Residential Schools
Although the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, as well as all dioceses had reached an agreement with the federal government in the last triennium with respect to payment of claimants, there was still an unsettled issue regarding the Roman Catholic entities.

Early in the triennium Council acknowledged with gratitude a monetary gift from ECUSA amounting to $329,000 (Cdn.) for use in relation to the residential schools file.

In May 2006, the Agreement-in-Principle was accepted by the Government of Canada, thus becoming the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA), which was immediately submitted to the courts in nine jurisdictions across Canada for approval. The approval process took many months but was finally completed on March 23, 2007. A 5-month “opt-out” period has now commenced. This will enable former students to decide whether or not they wish to be included in the IRSSA. Any former student who chooses to opt out will not be eligible for the Common Experience Payment, and will not be eligible to apply to enter the Independent Assessment Process. This means that litigation will be the only avenue still available as a means of settling their claims. Those who do not formally opt out will be deemed to be included in the IRSSA, and will be eligible for the benefits of that Agreement. It is expected that implementation of the IRSSA, following the opt-out period and some time for administrative set-up, will occur sometime in the fall of this year. There is a proviso in the IRSSA that if more than 5000 former students opt out, then the Agreement could be declared null and void. Most observers consider this to be unlikely.

The 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement includes an amended version of the Anglican Agreement of 2003. The main provisions of this new Anglican Amended Agreement of 2007, which will come into effect immediately upon implementation, are as follows:

  1. The Government of Canada will pay 100% of all compensation to eligible former students, both the Common Experience Payments and any compensation for abuse claims awarded under the Independent Assessment Process.
  2. The Government of Canada will refund to the Anglican Church of Canada Resolution Corporation all compensation paid out between November 20, 2005 and the date of implementation of the IRSSA. There will be no refund of compensation paid out before that date, which sum is approximately $6.7 million.
  3. The total amount that the Anglican Church of Canada is required to raise under the Anglican Amended Agreement is approximately $15.7 million, which includes the $6.7 million mentioned above. The amount that has been raised by the efforts of all dioceses and the General Synod currently exceeds $18 million.
  4. This means, therefore, that dioceses that have paid more than their share of the $15.7 million will be eligible to receive a refund from the Anglican Church of Canada Resolution Corporation.
  5. It is anticipated that these refunds will be available to dioceses towards the end of 2007 or early in 2008.
  6. After these refunds have been paid, the remaining money will be put in a new Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation (AFHR), to be allocated over a 12-year period to support healing and reconciliation projects.
  7. This means that the AFHR will have at its disposal more than double the amount that is currently available each year to fund projects of healing and reconciliation.

Council welcomed and thanked Mr. Justice Frank Iacobucci, Mr. John Page, and Archdeacon Jim Boyles for the part each played in arriving at this new, amended agreement, which is now in the opt-out period, and which we expect to into come into force in September, 2007.

The Anglican Church of Canada Resolution Corporation continues to exist. The financial statement of the Corporation for 2006 will be distributed during the session of Synod.

Social and Eco Justice Issues
The Council took action on several issues:

  1. Approved and forwarded a motion to General Synod to merge the Eco Justice and Partners in Mission Committee into a new Standing Committee to be named Partners in Mission and Eco Justice Committee
  2. Called upon the Government of Canada to support as its priority the draft UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Human Rights Council, Res. 2006/2, 29 June 2006, Annex) and its adoption by the General Assembly before the end of 2006
  3. Requested that the General Synod Planning Committee consider, and to the extent possible, budget for and implement measures to ensure a “green” and “fair” Synod in 2007
  4. Received the Statement to the Anglican Communion from the Anglican Communion Environmental Network (Appendix 1), and endorsed its recommendations that all Anglicans be encouraged to:
    • recognize that global climatic change is real and that we are contributing to the despoiling of creation
    • commend initiatives that address the moral transformation needed for environmentally sustainable economic practices such as the Contraction and Convergence process championed by the Archbishop of Canterbury
    • understand that, for the sake of future generations and the good of God’s creation; those of us in the rich nations need to be ready to make sacrifices in the level of comfort and luxury we have come to enjoy
    • expect mission, vision and value statements to contain commitment to environmental responsibility at all levels of church activity
    • educate all church members about the Christian mandate to care for creation
    • work on these issues ecumenically and with all faith communities and people of good will everywhere
    • ensure that the voices of women, indigenous peoples and youth are heard
    • press government, industry and civil society on the moral imperative of taking practical steps towards building sustainable communities.
  5. Endorsed the KAIROS Canada Water Campaign for 2005-2006 and encouraged parishes to use available resource materials
  6. Encouraged the PWRDF, the Eco Justice Committee and the Partners in Mission Committee to urge Anglicans across Canada to ask their MPs to support an increase in Canada’s overseas development budget in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals of allocating 0.7% of revenue to international development programs
  7. Asked the Primate to meet and/or communicate with appropriate Ministers of the Federal Government to underline the need for the Parliament of Canada to reclaim as a priority the eradication of child poverty in Canada
  8. Urged the Government of Canada to take all available measures to ensure the opening of the USA/Canada border for the movement of live cattle as soon as possible

Very early in this triennium Council appointed an Anti-Racism Working Group.  This working group was given funding to assist it in its work of providing Anti-Racism Training to the Council, as well as to all Standing Committees, ACIP, and the Board of the PWRDF.

At the last meeting of the triennium Council approved A Charter For Racial Justice in The Anglican Church of Canada (see Appendix 2) as a guide to the General Synod’s ongoing work on racial justice.

Also at the last meeting of Council a new name was approved for this working Group: “Anti-Racism Implementation Group,” along with the following Mandate.
“In the 2007 – 2010 Triennium, the Anti-Racism Implementation Group shall:

Ecumenical and Anglican Communion Relations
Time was given during each meeting of the Council to hear reports from our invited partners. Normally these included a representative from ECUSA, ELCIC, and PWRDF.

Council also heard regular reports and reflections from our Primate about his participation in gatherings both within our Canadian borders and beyond. Of particular interest to Council members have been reports on the several meetings of the Primates and some of the Communiqués coming out of these.

Time was taken at Council meetings to discuss and decide on an appropriate response from our Province to the issue of attending but not participating in the June, 2005 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council.

Council also heard from the Rt. Rev. John Patterson, the chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, who expressed his support for The Anglican Church of Canada and of our role in the Consultative Council.

Council endorsed the report of the Windsor Report Response Group, of the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee. (Appendix 3)

At its May, 2005 meeting Council received the Report of the Primate’s Theological Commission on the Blessing of Same-Sex Unions [The St. Michael Report] (Appendix 4), and commended “it to the provinces, dioceses and the House of Bishops for study and response.

As well, Council:

Council also heard reports from various individuals who attended the World Council of Churches 9th Assembly in Brasil, and congratulated Canon John Steele on his election to the Central Committee of that body.

During the triennium Council confirmed the nominations of the Ven. Dennis Drainville and the Rev. Kate Merriman to the Governing Board of the Canadian Council of Churches for a three-year period, beginning with the November 2006 meeting.

Financial Concerns
At the November, 2004 meeting, following an in-camera session, the Primate announced that the Council had appointed Mr. Peter Blachford as Treasurer of General Synod.

In November of each year the Council approved the General Synod budget for the following year, and in May of 2005 and May 2006 it received the audited financial statements for the previous year.

Regular reports were heard about the status of the Letting Down the Nets ministry which had been approved the General Synod 2004. Although it was acknowledged that the ministry being carried out was invaluable to dioceses and that each of the pilot Dioceses was gaining a great deal from being involved, it was also apparent that funding the program posed a serious challenge.

Council addressed these and other issues in the adoption of several resolutions that highlight the importance of financial development for our denomination:

  1. affirming that financial development is an important priority in building the resources for the mission of serving God’s world and strengthening the church.
  2. asking the House of Bishops to develop, articulate and proclaim a compelling pastoral statement on Biblically based stewardship as a call to action for the whole church, and
  3. building on this statement, to engage fully as individual leaders and as a House, in modeling and creating opportunities to promote stewardship and financial development as a priority for the church.
  4. approving the establishment of an Anglican Church of Canada Development Office to coordinate and enhance all financial development activities of General Synod and its partner agencies at the earliest possible date but no later than January 2009 and requests FMDC to present to the Spring 2008 meeting of the Council of General Synod, for its consideration and approval, a detailed report incorporating the staffing needs of the development office, the related costs and a funding proposal to cover the costs.
  5. directing the General Secretary and the Treasurer to work with the FMDC Chair and the Senior Development Officer to investigate funding for ongoing development initiatives in dioceses throughout the balance of 2007.
  6. directing the General Secretary and the Treasurer, in whatever consultation they deem appropriate, to investigate funding for the ongoing development initiatives in dioceses through 2008.

Spurred on by financial concerns Council established a Prioritized Operational Plan (POP) Working Group, which met twice. Out of the POP Working Group’s Report came the following Council resolution:

That the Council of General Synod approve the following as Operational Principles by which current or suggested General Synod ministries ought to be undertaken or continued:

  1. God’s mission in the world is the church’s focus locally, nationally and internationally.
  2. All ministry initiatives need to be both realistic and balanced (in terms of human and financial resources).
  3. All ministry initiatives will contribute to building healthy congregations and leadership.
  4. We affirm and encourage ecumenical collaboration in carrying out our mission and ministry.

We will work at finding appropriate ways of investing for the future of our mission and ministry.

The POP Working Group also recommended that the Anglican Book Centre storefront operation cease to operate and that it continue to function as a web-based and telephone facility. While this was being developed a number of interested parties approached the General Synod, with a view to taking over the storefront work. This resulted in the following resolution being passed by Council:

That this Council of General Synod authorize the Officers of General Synod to negotiate with Augsburg Fortress Canada on its assumption of the affairs of the Anglican Book Centre, including but not limited to matters of inventory, retail management, and the use of the name “Anglican Book Centre”.

The Council heard regular reports from the Pensions Committee and passed a series of regulations affecting the Pension Plans, Long Term Disability and the Continuing Education Plan.

During this triennium Council welcomed the news that the Pension Plan of the Diocese of Montreal had successfully merged with the General Synod Pension Plan, thereby achieving a union of all dioceses in our Province.

Handbook Concerns
During the triennium Council heard several reports from the Handbook Concerns Committee. The following were included among the topics covered:

The Council also received the report of the Governance Working Group. Council resolved to forward resolutions in Categories One and Three of the Governance Working Group Report to General Synod, and to forward to its successors the information and recommendations contained in Category Two of the same report for further development. The report is found in the Report Section of the the Convening Circular.

Other Actions
Recommended the continuation of a Planning and Agenda Team for COGS 2007-2010 with composition and terms of reference. See Appendix 5.

Requested the General Synod Planning Committee to include time on the agenda of General Synod 2007 for a report on the partnership between General Synod and Ask & Imagine, and other youth initiatives. Further, that this report include recommendations to General Synod on the inclusion of these initiatives in the annual budget for 2008 and beyond.

Adopted the document Vision and Principles of Communication (Appendix 6) as the basis for the communication practices and policy of General Synod and commended it to the church as a basis for communications practice and policy.

Adopted the following policy regarding the copyright of the liturgical resources of the General Synod of The Anglican Church of Canada:

Substituted revised Guidelines for the Conduct of a Primatial Election.
See Appendix 7.

Asked the Officers of General Synod, in consultation with the staff, to ascertain present and future needs for office space for the national church and to make specific recommendations to the March 2007 meeting of the Council of General Synod regarding the use of the present site or the advisability of moving to a new location.

* Traveled into the City of Toronto to experience the Church in the Diocese of Toronto and to learn about the challenges and innovations in ministry that it presents.  The morning activities included a visit to the diocesan offices, an introduction to key diocesan staff and programs, and an opportunity to learn, to network and to identify resources on a variety of subjects.  In the afternoon members had the opportunity to visit their choice of one of the following ministries: 

Endorsed the establishment of an Endowment Fund in support of the Council of the North to be administered by the Anglican Foundation of Canada.

Authorized and supported the Primate in his appointment of a National Indigenous Anglican Bishop.

Strongly endorsed the resolution of the House of Bishops concerning legislation before the Nigerian parliament that would prohibit or severely restrict the freedom of speech, association, expression, and assembly of gay and lesbian persons in Nigeria.
Approved for trial use and evaluation the French texts of several different liturgical Services prepared by the Comite liturgique episcopal francophone (CLEF).


Appendix 1: Statement to the Anglican Communion from the Anglican Communion Environmental Network
Appendix 2: A Charter For Racial Justice in The Anglican Church of Canada
Appendix 3: A Response of the Windsor Report Response Group (PDF)
Appendix 4: Report of the Primate’s Theological Commission on the Blessing of Same-Sex Unions (PDF)
Appendix 5: Governance Working Group Report to Council of General Synod
Appendix 6: Planning and Agenda Team Terms of Reference
Appendix 7: Vision and Principles of Communication
Appendix 8: Revised Guidelines for the Conduct of a Primatial Election

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