A lull during the three-day council meeting in Mississauga, Ont.
Residential schools risks eclipsing everything the Anglican church does, a Lutheran observer told Council of General Synod. Canadian Lutheran Mark Harris deviated from a tradition of gentle feedback to express his concern. “I continue to be … confounded by the time and energy that residential schools issues are taking. How can you do ministry in a way that you aren’t overwhelmed?” Council of General Synod voted to adopt guidelines for Anglican and Lutheran clergy serving in one another’s parishes and for common worship.
Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, staff support for the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission, said that at the group’s first meeting in Halifax in February, “we found that all sorts of people had been appointed rectors (to one another’s churches) and chaplains. There are many long-term relationships (between Anglicans and Lutherans). So we are eager to get on with things.” The next meeting of the joint commission will take place Sept. 5-8 in Saskatoon.
Verna Firth, outgoing CoGS representative from the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, requested deferral of a proposed motion that would have approved ACIP incorporation. Ms. Firth said she would prefer the motion to be handled by CoGS when ACIP co-chair Todd Russell could be present to speak to it.
In her report, Ms. Firth noted that the New Agape binder project, designed as a parish resource to help Anglicans work toward a new relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous people, is going ahead.
The Indigenous Healing Fund report showed that in March 2002 the healing response committee had approved projects totaling $118,780 for its present series of grants. (Since the fund’s inception in 1992, a total of $1,082,448 has been awarded.) The committee voted to approve 16 out of 25 current grant applications.
A motion presented by the Information Resources Committee to form a non-profit corporation under the name Anglican Book Centre was passed. A resolution concerning copyright was tabled.
CoGS also agreed with the recommendation that the Anglican Journal Board report directly to CoGS, through the editor or his designate. The Journal was incorporated recently.
CoGS approved more work on sexual abuse and harassment guidelines by human resources consultant, Judith Kidd. CoGS saw an Anglican Video production on sexual misconduct which showed several scenarios in church-based settings where sexual harassment did or could have occurred.
Archbishop Tom Morgan, reporting for the Pensions Committee, said that pensions director Jenny Mason will retire at the end of 2003. A motion to accept redefinition of the General Synod actuarial bonus addition and adjust members’ accrued pension was carried. This was to ensure fairness for all pension plan members. CoGS also approved a regulation to respond to changes in the Quebec Supplemental Pension Plans Act, and approved amendments to the Lay Retirement Plan. Transitional rules for the continuing education plan were approved to ensure the plan continues in case General Synod becomes insolvent.
Stem cell research
CoGS agreed to write to federal health minister Anne McLellan and to the chair of the Canadian Institutes of HEALTH Research to complain about a less than comprehensive analysis of the moral issues and implications of human stem cell research and about the limited public consultation and debate.
CoGS will hold a joint meeting with the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples in Nov. 2003, and will use liturgical material developed by the joint task group of ACIP and Faith, Worship and Ministry.