Dean Peter Wall, chair of the General Synod planning committee, updated the Council of General Synod (CoGS) on plans for General Synod 2016 and put forward a resolution proposing that during that meeting members of General Synod will be “seated, at times, in diocesan groups, and at other times, in mixed table groups,” depending on the agenda items.
That resolution was carried, but some members expressed concern that the resolution was not more specific about when members would sit in diocesan groups. CoGS prolocutor Harry Huskins pointed out that members might particularly want to sit in diocesan groups when the agenda involves the possible amendment to the marriage canon to allow for same-sex marriage.
General Synod will take place July 7 to 13, 2016 at the Sheraton Parkway North in Richmond Hill, Ont. The theme, “You are my witnesses” comes from Isaiah 43.10, and communications staff from the national office presented draft ideas for its visual presentation to CoGS.
Jennifer Warren, a lay member from the ecclesiastical province of Canada, noted that youth members who are new to the processes at General Synod might want to be seated near someone who can guide them.
Wall said that it was too soon to include more specifics in the resolution. “We will come back as we have more agenda items in front of us and advise on how that’s looking. I think that’s the best we can do at this point.”
Cynthia Haines Turner, a member of the planning committee, assured the council that the committee has heard their concerns as well as those of others from across the country. At this point, though, she said the committee asks for “a bit of trust that there is no agenda for us other than to make this a synod where people can explore the issues and express the issues and take the actions that they believe are best for themselves and for their church.”
Wall also mentioned that the same company that had managed electronic voting at General Synod 2013 has submitted a competitive tender for 2016.
Accommodation and the meal plan has also been negotiated, he said, adding that the General Synod treasurer will be advising her diocesan counterparts of anticipated costs within in the next few weeks. Archdeacon Michael Thompson, general secretary, confirmed that a reserve has been set aside for dioceses, upon request, to seek a rebate of 50% of the meal plan costs.