Glossary of Common Terms
This is a short glossary of some of the more common terms you will find used in the Convening Circular and at General Synod. A more complete glossary is found on page 1 of the Handbook of General Synod.
Acting Primate: The Provincial Metropolitan, senior by election, who functions in the place of the Primate in the event of a vacancy in the Primacy or during the incapacity of the Primate. The Acting Primate has authority to perform all duties of the Primacy.
Anglican Church of Canada: The communion of Anglican dioceses in the nation of Canada. The Anglican Church of Canada (Anglican Church of Canada) comprises 30 dioceses across Canada each under the jurisdiction and pastoral care of a diocesan bishop. The dioceses together comprise approximately 2,800 congregations organized into approximately 1700 parishes.
Anglican Communion: The worldwide family of autonomous, interrelated, and interdependent provinces and national churches all of which are in communion with one another and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Anglican Consultative Council: A synodical body that assembles every three years with up to three representatives from each national member church of the global Anglican Communion. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the President of the Consultative Council and its proceedings are chaired by one of its members.
Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples [ACIP]: A Council established by the 1975 and 1980 General Synods giving ACIP members the responsibility to carry concerns of indigenous people directly to the Council of General Synod and General Synod. Members must be indigenous people and representatives from dioceses with indigenous congregations or urban indigenous populations.
Archbishop: A bishop elected by clerical and lay delegates of the synod of an ecclesiastical province; the senior official of an ecclesiastical province. Takes the title of archbishop of the diocese (e.g. Archbishop of Moosonee) and the metropolitan of the province (e.g. Metropolitan of Ontario). The Primate carries the title of Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Canada.
Bishop: An order of the ordained ministry in the Anglican Church. Bishops are elected by the diocese or by the province, according to the particular canons of the diocese. A bishop almost always presides over a diocese and is sometimes called “the Diocesan”. The Canadian House of Bishops is a twice-yearly meeting of all bishops across Canada. The House of Bishops makes recommendations to General Synod on matters of church policy and nominates candidates for Primate.
Canon: An ecclesiastical law or regulation of the diocesan, provincial, or national Church or an honorary title conferred by a bishop on a priest or (if the canons of the diocese permit) on a lay member of the Church.
Chancellor of the General Synod: A judge or barrister, who is an officer of the General Synod, appointed to advise the Primate.
Church House: The common name used to refer to the national offices of the Anglican Church of Canada located at 80 Hayden Street in Toronto, Ontario.
Commission: A group of people appointed to undertake a particular task for the Church.
Convening Circular: A publication containing reports, notices of motion, resolutions, memorials and petitions related to the business of the General Synod and circulated to its members before the convening of the Synod.
Council of General Synod: The body elected at a General Synod that exercises executive powers of Synod between sessions to oversee the implementation of General Synod decisions.
Council of the North: A Council that identifies needs of the Anglican Church of Canada Church in the north; develops strategies for mission and for enhancing the relationships between the Anglican Church of Canada in the north and the in the south.
Courtesies of the General Synod: An invitation extended to certain persons who are not members of Synod to sit with and/or address the General Synod, but with no right to participate in debate or to vote.
Credentials Committee: A sessional committee constituted to report to Synod the credentials of all the persons who claim membership in the General Synod and to advise the chairperson as to the present quorum of each Order.
Deacon: A person ordained by a bishop to serve in a diaconal ministry, to model
servanthood by personal example and in liturgical action. There is currently a movement in the Anglican Church to restore the office of Deacon so it is not limited to candidates for the priesthood.
Deputy Prolocutor: An officer of the Synod elected by the members of General Synod from the Orders of Clergy and Laity at each session but not from the same Order as the Prolocutor.
Diocese: The area or district under the jurisdiction and pastoral care of a bishop.
Ecclesiastical Province: A group of dioceses under the jurisdiction of a provincial synod and presided over by a metropolitan. In the nation of Canada there are four ecclesiastical provinces: British Columbia, Rupert’s Land, Ontario, and Canada.
Ex-officio: A position or office that is granted to an individual because that person holds another specified office.
Galley Group: Mixed group of members and partners sitting together on the plenary floor.
General Synod: The governing body of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) that consists of elected lay and clerical (priests and deacons) members and the bishops from across Canada who come together to discuss and take action for the national and international concerns of the Church.
Journal of Proceedings: A publication of the day-by-day decisions and activities of a session of Synod together with reports and other related material.
Laity / Lay Persons: All baptized members of the Church who are not ordained to a clerical order (Bishop, Priest, or Deacon).
Lambeth Conference: A meeting of bishops invited from the member churches of the Anglican Communion that gathers once every ten years. It is a forum for sharing and consultation rather than for legislation and it is chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Memorial: A formal written statement describing a position taken by an individual or organization such as a diocesan synod.
Metropolitan: An archbishop with jurisdiction over an ecclesiastical province or a national Church (Primate).
Notice of Motion: A formal notice by a member that he or she intends to present a resolution on a particular stance. The resolution wording may be included in the notice.
Orders: Refers to membership of the General Synod: the Order of Bishops, and the Order of Clergy, The Order of Laity.
Orders of the Day: A detailed agenda for Synod distributed each day
Parish: The local unit of the Anglican Church presided over by a Priest at the pleasure of the Diocesan Bishop that may be comprised of one or more congregations.
Point of Order: An appeal to the chair that the procedures of the meeting are at variance with the Rules of Order or Canons.
Priest: A person ordained by a bishop to be a servant of the Church through Word and Sacrament. Prior to ordination to priesthood, a priest has served as a Deacon for a period of time.
Primate: The presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada. The Primate is the senior metropolitan of the Church, the chairperson of the House of Bishops, and the president of General Synod. The Primate carries the title of Archbishop.
Prolocutor: An officer of the General Synod elected at each session by the members of the General Synod from the Orders of Clergy and Laity. Next to the Primate, the Prolocutor is the senior officer of the General Synod.
Question (putting the, calling the): Placing a formally moved and seconded motion before the Synod for a vote.
Resolution: A formal written proposal for action to be considered by the General Synod.
Refer (a motion): To send to another group to deal with.
Session: The term used for the period of several days during which the Synod meets.
Sessional Committee: A committee struck for the duration of a session of General Synod to facilitate the work of the session.
Solemn Declaration: The statement made at the General Synod of 1893 declaring the fundamental faith and doctrine of the Church as constituting the foundation of the Synod structure. As a historic statement, the Solemn Declaration cannot be amended.
Standing Committee: A committee whose work extends through several sessions of General Synod and deals with ongoing needs. The Standing Committees of the General Synod are listed in Article VIII of the constitution found on page 29 of the Handbook of General Synod.
Table (a motion): To postpone temporarily.
Do You Know Your ABC’s?
A few of the acronyms you’re most likely to run across at Synod:
ABC: Anglican Book Centre
ACC: Anglican Church of Canada, and Anglican Consultative Council
ACIP: Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples
ACW: Anglican Church Women
BAS: Book of Alternative Services
BCP: Book of Common Prayer
CCC: Canadian Council of Churches
CCCB: Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
CCJP: Canadian Churches for Justice and Peace
CIDA: Canadian International Development Agency
CIRC: Communications and Information Resources Committee
CoGS: Council of General Synod
CoN: Council of the North
DIFT: Dignity, Inclusion and Fair Treatment (statement adopted by General Synod 2001)
ELCIC: Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
FMDC: Financial Management and Development Committee
FWMC: Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee
GWG: Governance Working Group
JPIC: Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation (WCC)
NGO: Non-government Organization
NIAB: National Indigenous Anglican Bishop
PIMEJ: Partners in Mission & EcoJustice Committee
PTLC: Primate’s Leadership Circle – Church House Directors
PWRDF: Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund
TEC: The Episcopal Church
UCC: United Church of Canada
VIM: Volunteers in Mission