Forums designed to foster dialogue without debate

Published July 1, 1998
Delegates engaged in round-table discussions after hearing from speakers at each forum.

Six forums were offered at synod over three days. Delegates were invited to attend a forum each day.

The topics were: Partnerships, which discussed relationships with Christian – primarily Anglican – partners outside Canada; Northern Lights, in which members were encouraged to express their opinions about the historic mission of the church in the North; In Full Harmony, which explored Anglican comprehensiveness and diversity; New Ways of Working, which discussed providing services to dioceses; and forums on ecumenical relationships and social justice.

Canada creating ‘road map’

The Canadian church is ready to be a primary voice in world Anglicanism, says Rev. Randall Chase, a member of the U.S. Episcopal Church’s executive council and a partner to the Canadian church’s Council of General Synod since 1995.

Telling synod members that their work is critical, not just for the Canadian church but for the whole Anglican Communion, he said, “I don’t think you know how far along you are in your journey. You are creating a road map for the Anglican Communion as it approaches the millennium.”

Another synod partner and Roman Catholic, Janet Somerville, was more cautionary. The Canadian Council of Churches’ first woman general secretary urged Canadian Anglicans to be careful about becoming too complacent and modern at the expense of listening to voices of the past.

Church helps move families out of Brazilian dump

A human life can be worth no more than the price of a pair of brand name running shoes in the tough world of Brazil’s street kids.

Rev. Simea de Sousa Meldrum is all too familiar with that world.

“I’ve seen people killed because someone wanted their shoes or clothes,” the first woman to be ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of North Eastern Brazil said in an interview. “It’s scary.”

Previously rector of the Good Samaritan Parish and priest-in-charge of the Church in the Garbage Dump in Olinda, Mrs. Meldrum co-ordinates planning and social action throughout the diocese. Because of her work with the poor, the young, the elderly, the homeless and women, she has been called the Anglican Mother Teresa with a keen social conscience.

Rethinking evangelism

Five years ago, Bishop Donald Harvey would not have expected an invitation to be a panelist at a forum on evangelism.

Had he been asked, the bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador would have declined.

Back then, Bishop Harvey said, evangelism was a naughty word. It was better left to the holy-rollers down the street who could shout, sway and holler to their hearts’ content.

Bridging the gap between North and South

Shortly after Bishop Gordon Beardy of the Diocese of Keewatin was consecrated, his diocesan bishop asked him to officiate at an ordination service.

There was Bishop Beardy with mitre and staff, dressed in full episcopal regalia and some of the congregation looked around and asked, “Where’s the bishop?”

Bishop Beardy, one of the Canadian Anglican church’s three indigenous bishops, tells the story to illustrate how ingrained attitudes adopted during the white missionary days are hard to break, particularly among Native elders.

Synod suggests Canada host Anglican missionaries from overseas

Anglicans from overseas may one day come to Canada as missionaries under a recommendation approved by synod.

The idea was discussed in the Partnerships forum and was included in an evaluation of the Volunteers In Mission program which arranges for volunteers to be placed with overseas dioceses requesting help in meeting special needs.

The evaluation affirmed it as “a worthwhile program … that should be enhanced.” It offered 12 recommendations to increase the effectiveness of Volunteers in Mission, including arranging placement of missioners from overseas in Canadian parishes.


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