COGS Briefs

By on April 1, 2001

Financial campaign

Council of General Synod (CoGS) drew on the work of three recent consultations with about 100 Anglicans and decided to commission a study on the feasibility of starting a national fundraising campaign.

The campaign would develop financial resources for healing programs to repair damage caused by residential schools, support dioceses shaken by legal costs and restore the financial health of General Synod.

‘Human rights’

A report recommending guidelines aimed at helping Anglicans treat each other with respect, dignity and fairness was approved by CoGS and sent on to General Synod.

The report, with new language and a different process, is a successor to several “human rights” reports that have previously failed to get approval.

The new principles include transparency of decision-making, intentional listening, clear avenues for challenging decisions, assurance of response and accessibility.

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This report will recommend that everyone receiving sacraments and pastoral care as well as those seeking employment and those already employed in the church will be treated without discrimination on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, family or marital status, race, ethnic origin, ancestry, disability or socio-economic status.

Diluted motion

CoGS questioned a motion intended to show solidarity with Palestinian Christians that was critical of the Israeli government, and sent parts of it back for redrafting before eventually passing a watered down version.

CoGs members said the motion, which called on the government of Israel to de-escalate the violence in the Middle East, was overly prescriptive and explicit.

A softened set of motions eventually passed, condemning acts of violence on all sides, and calling on the government of Canada to ask Israel to recognise its accountability under the Geneva Convention as an occupying power over Gaza and the West Bank.

Primatial elections

CoGS has approved a significant change to the way Anglican primates are elected.

Under the new rules, bishops will meet between one and four months before General Synod and nominate three to five bishops for the office of primate. Members of General Synod will then receive background information about the candidates and vote at General Synod.

Previously, the nominating and voting took place in one day at General Synod and many delegates felt they didn’t have enough time to become acquainted with the candidates.

Synod on budget

Plans for General Synod 2001, in Waterloo, Ont., next July are on-budget at $450,000, the General Synod planning committee told CoGS.

The council heard an objection to an earlier decision to spend $50,000 to bring aboriginal observers to General Synod. They would contribute to table discussions but not have a vote.

General Secretary Jim Boyles said Bishop Barry Hollowell of Calgary said in an e-mail that and he and others were concerned that non-delegates would be allowed on the floor of General Synod and wondered how the expense could be justified, given the church’s difficult financial situation.

James Sweeny, of Waterville, Que., a member of the planning committee, responded that the courtesies of General Synod may be extended by the president to allow guests to participate.

Marriage law changes

CoGS has approved and sent to General Synod motions to modernize Anglican marriage practices.

The motions were based on recommendations from a task force and dealt with the remarriage of divorced persons, the blessing of civil marriages, previously prohibited marriages outside church buildings and inter-faith marriages.

CoGS also agreed to ask diocesan matrimonial commissions that they simplify application forms for divorced people seeking remarriage in the church.

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