Anglicans across Canada will be invited to “help shape the mission priorities” for 2010 to 2019 of General Synod, the governing body of the Anglican Church of Canada, by participating in a voluntary, congregation-based lenten study next year. The study will allow participants to share their vision for their church’s work.
This process, developed to guide the work of General Synod, was approved by the Council of General Synod (CoGS) at its May meeting. CoGS is the governing body of the Anglican Church between triennial meetings of General Synod.
“This (discussion of mission) has the potential to bring us together across theological lines,” said Dean Peter Elliott, chair of the 2019 Visioning and Planning Task Group. “It can lead us to many exciting possibilities. There’s a great future for our church. We can sometimes get discouraged and depressed, but there’s a fresh wind blowing in the life of the Anglican Church of Canada to engage us again in this important reflection on God’s mission and what it is we’re called to be and do.”
Mr. Elliott said the task force hopes to compile input from the lenten studies and develop consultations with provincial synods, the Canadian house of bishops and CoGS by May 2009. The first draft of the plan will be presented to the house of bishops meeting in October 2009 and to the fall meeting of CoGS in November 2009. A final report is expected to be ready in March 2010.
Several CoGS members expressed their support for the lenten mission study, but many had questions about how to engage people in the process.
Dr. Randall Fairey, of the British Columbia diocese of Kootenay, asked, “How do we overcome the lassitude that we see in parishes for lenten programs?” Mr. Elliott said the impetus would have to come locally.
“I’ll support it wholeheartedly,” said Bishop Colin Johnson of the diocese of Toronto. “A study on the mission of the church and the mission of God is exactly what we need to do. Lent is an ideal time as one makes the journey through lent, through Easter, and the resurrection.”