Following a lively presentation by the Council of the North, General Synod voted unanimously to affirm that support grants to the church in Canada’s North will continue at no less than the current level for the next five years.
In addition, Synod endorsed the council’s proposed fundraising activities to supplement the income received from those grants.
The council’s presentation began with a welcoming drum song by the Sagkeeng Drum Group – a sung prayer of thanks to the Creator.
Through words, songs and images, the work of the northern church was brought to life, with examples of the commitment and vitality that makes the North, as council chair Bishop Anthony Burton called it, “the soul of the Anglican church.”
Several segments of the presentation described examples of “real people doing real ministry” – from Inuktitut-speaking clergy who travel hundreds of kilometres to visit patients in hospitals far from home, to the ministry of presence offered by one priest to a bereaved family in an isolated Yukon community.
Each story was interspersed with a throat-singing performance by Inukshuk Aksalnik and Stephanie Adams of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.
Synod members heard that in spite of the success stories, northern ministry is struggling. It was reported that the number of paid incumbencies throughout northern dioceses continues to shrink; staff positions are being cut back or eliminated. “The net result is an overall impoverishment of the church’s ministry to the North,” said presenter Rev. Bruce Myers.