General Synod: The unifier of our diverse church

photo: Maxim Studio
Published June 1, 2023

One of the joys of travelling again for me is the opportunity to see the diversity of our church from sea to sea to sea. From the smallest remote communities sustained by locally raised lay ministers and clergy to the largest urban parishes with multiple staff and programs, I worship with Anglican communities and see the ways in which they are sharing the Good News of the gospel in their context. I see the face of Christ in the greeters, lay leaders, clergy and parishioners. Whether they are worshipping with the Book of Common Prayer or the Book of Alternative Services, in English, Cree or French, with other Anglicans or in partnership with a Lutheran congregation, God is in their midst. We have dioceses with only a few widely scattered parishes and dioceses with hundreds of congregations in a small geographic area. We are discerning a new relationship with the Sacred Circle Indigenous church in our midst as we share the mission of the gospel across the land. And across all this diversity we are the Anglican Church of Canada, committed to following Jesus Christ and supporting one another—sharing resources through the Council of the North and diocesan partnerships, and sharing also our clergy and lay leaders.

In a few weeks the General Synod will gather in Calgary for its 43rd session. For most Anglicans its work seems distant from the day-to-day life of their parish and is a bit of a mystery! Yet, like the internal structure of a building that you rarely see, General Synod provides a framework for our church, holding it together across the country and linking it to the wider family of the Anglican Communion and our ecumenical partnerships.

General Synod brings together members from every diocese—bishops and an equal number each of clergy and laity proportionate to the number of Anglicans in each diocese—to discern the church’s governance needs so that the diverse body of Christ in Canada may thrive. The canons (laws) set by General Synod help establish a framework to govern those things necessary for faith, unity and discipline at a national level. Its resolutions set out the priorities and commitments we make as a whole church as we seek to listen to the Holy Spirit in our midst through the work of the committees, the Council of General Synod and the attention we pay to members’ concerns.

I ask your prayers for those who will gather for General Synod 2023. Our theme will be “Let there be greening,” in every sense of the word, including the greening of Creation as well as congregational growth and renewal. We will celebrate our full communion partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. We will celebrate with the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples as the self-determining Sacred Circle continues its emergence. We will worship and pray together as we discern God’s call for the future in our strategic planning aspirations, new liturgical resources and justice and peace initiatives. You can follow the work of General Synod through the livestream.

Pray that our hearts and minds will be guided by the Holy Spirit and our witness to the gospel strengthened through this General Synod


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