In other news, the fall 2018 meeting of Council of General Synod (CoGS):
- Heard from Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) executive director Will Postma that the fund had issued three times as many appeals for emergency response in the first nine months of 2017 as it had the entire previous year.PWRDF also spent more money on emergency work, Postma said, funding relief in areas such as Sierra Leone, Nepal, Bangladesh, Mexico, the Caribbean and the United States. So far this year, he said, Canadian Anglicans have given $379,000 for famine relief in Africa, including South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen.Postma also said there was a growing desire on the part of Canadian Anglicans for PWRDF to focus more on responding to emergencies in Canada, and in a separate presentation, PWRDF board member the Rev. Gillian Hoyer noted that a recently completed independent evaluation of the fund recommended, among other things, that it improve its preparedness to respond to emergencies in Canada.
- Listened to the Rev. Mark Whittall tell how six years ago he planted a church at St. Alban’s parish in Ottawa after its former congregation had decided to leave the Anglican Church of Canada. Whittall recruited a small team to build the new congregation, and after studying the neighbourhood, the team decided to focus the church’s mission on students, young adults and homeless people.
The church, he said, has focused on social media as a communications tool and experimented with a variety of new activities, such as a poetry night instead of a sermon, a wide range of forms of music and a question-and-answer session after sermons.
In a reflection on the fall session of CoGS, Pat Lovell, representative to CoGS from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, said of Whittall’s presentation about St. Alban’s, “I thought that was just super, because here he took a church from nothing and made it into something where all people can participate,” she said. Quoting words she said were from Saint Leo the Great, a fifth-century pope, Lovell added, “If you believe it, then act on it.”
- In its role as board of management of the Missionary Society of the Anglican Church of Canada, passed a resolution making a number of changes to the application used in interest-free vehicle loans offered to clergy and lay workers serving in Council of the North dioceses. The maximum loan was increased from $13,000 to $16,000; the period of loan repayment was increased from 40 to 48 months; and the requirement that a lien be put on the vehicle by the missionary society was removed. Also, a reference to “clergyman” in the application was changed to “cleric.”