Even bishops need a break

Published April 20, 2011

Traditionally, house of bishops meetings have combined a heavy theological agenda with back-to-back presentations. Photo: Vianney Carriere

A new more laid-back structure at the April meeting of the House of bishops set the tone for the way in which these semi-annual gatherings will unfold in the future.

“The agenda was very different,” said Primate Fred Hiltz. “We were determined to have a better balance between the time that we need for theological reflection and matters of faith and order and the time we give to hearing presentations from groups seeking our support and endorsement.”

Traditionally, the meetings have combined a heavy theological agenda with back-to-back presentations-“often so many that we had no time for the reflection we should have been doing,” he said. The decision to change the agenda was made last fall.

“In the last few years, we’ve discovered afresh what it means to be a community of bishops and to come together to provide leadership for the church and mutual support and encouragement for each other in the exercise of our mission,” Archbishop Hiltz said. “This is our work as guardians of the faith and discipline and as apostles and pastors.”

A consequence of this realization was the bishops’ reclaiming of their own agenda. Accordingly, the pace was slowed to allow attending bishops more free time. “I’ve been saying for four years now that my ultimate hope is that our bishops will come to their meetings with a sense of anticipation and leave feeling refreshed,” the primate said.


  • Diana Swift

    Diana Swift is an award-winning writer and editor with 30 years’ experience in newspaper and magazine editing and production. In January 2011, she joined the Anglican Journal as a contributing editor.

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