Highlights of council meeting

Published June 1, 2003

Bishop Victoria Matthews (left) of the diocese of Edmonton listens to proceedings at the May meeting of the Council of General Synod at the University of Calgary.

Stephen Lewis, UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, has been invited to be guest speaker at General Synod 2004. The theme for General Synod 2004 will be “See! I am Making All Things New!”

CoGS directed that the planning and agenda team provide an opportunity for representatives of the Financial Management and Development Committee to meet with them to express their concerns about the strategic planning process for the national church.

Among approved resolutions from the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee was a motion to commend for widespread distribution the HIV/AIDS document from the Council of the Anglican Provinces in Africa and the Anglican primates meeting in Canterbury on HIV/AIDS. This document, called Our Vision, Our Hope, was presented to the Africa regional sub-group of Partners in Mission and resulted from a gathering in Johannesburg in August 2001, to generate an all-Africa response to the pandemic.

Council also endorsed a proposal to have an educational session on HIV/AIDS at General Synod 2004.

CoGS commended a document: Life, Patent Pending, a discussion guide on biotechnology and the “oncomouse” produced by the Canadian Council of Churches for use in the Anglican Church of Canada.

Another document commended was a covenant of the Ecumenical Task Force on Health Care that was incorporated in part into the Romanow Report on health care in Canada.

Council supported a proposal for meetings with young leaders of the church as part of the orientation process for the new primate.

A larger Primate’s Theological Commission was approved to make room for greater cultural diversity in the group.

Revised guidelines for Anglican and Lutheran priests and pastors serving appointments in each other’s churches and revised Guidelines for Common Worship were approved. Council also established a joint task force with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada to study the theology and practice of confirmation in the two churches.

Council asked the chancellor to prepare a motion for General Synod 2004 amending the constitution to include the treasurer as an officer of General Synod.

With an eye to expanding amounts given out to healing projects with indigenous people, the Healing Fund Committee was asked to review its terms of reference and funding criteria because of the strong need for greater church participation in restoration of language and culture through programmatic grants.

CoGS voted to register its displeasure concerning the manner in which the recent closing of the East Coast cod fishery was implemented without prior consultation with the fishing communities that were affected. It also urged the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and government officials to increase pressure on foreign commercial fishers to reduce the amount of fishing now occurring in international waters close to Canadian areas now closed.

As well Council urged the DFO to acknowledge the devastating effects of the escalating seal population on the future recovery of the fishery.

Council recommended that General Synod approve the form for “The Blessing of a Civil Marriage” as modified from The Book of Occasional Celebrations including an amendment where the couple acknowledges their union to be lifelong.


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