General Synod 2004 – the church’s triennial governing convention – will be covered extensively by Anglican print, video and Internet media and is expected to generate considerable interest in the mainstream press as well.
“If (the Episcopal Church’s) General Convention last year is any indication, there is the potential for a lot of media attention,” said Vianney Carriere, director of communications and information resources at the Anglican Church of Canada’s national office in Toronto.
About 310 delegates from across the nation are scheduled to gather May 28 to June 4 in St. Catharines, Ont., near Niagara Falls, where one of the most contentious issues to be discussed will be whether the church should offer blessings to gay couples.
Last August, the U.S. church’s General Convention attracted a huge amount of attention – and more than 350 accredited media – when it confirmed the election of the denomination’s first openly-gay bishop and acknowledged that same-sex blessings take place within the life of the church. In Canada, the diocese of New Westminster voted in 2002 to allow parishes to offer same-sex blessings and the issue is being debated nationally.
Also expected to attract media coverage are the election of a new primate, and an address by United Nations diplomat Stephen Lewis on AIDS.
General Synod plenary sessions and the primatial election at Brock University and the installation service at Hamilton’s Christ’s Church Cathedral may be viewed live on the Internet, said Web manager Brian Bukowski.
Viewers may log on to gs2004.anglican.ca, the General Synod Web site, and click on a button entitled “View Webcast.” However, noted Mr. Bukowski, only those with a high-speed connection, such as a cable link, will be able to see the best-quality video.
Anglican Video, the national church’s two-person office in charge of video operations, has engaged Winnipeg university student Tim Morgan to be the Webcast host and interview participants for analysis at the end of each day’s events, said senior producer Lisa Barry. In previous years, a wrap-up video of General Synod has been available for purchase, but that will not be available this time due to budget cuts, she said.
The Anglican Journal and the diocesan newspapers are delaying their June issues, which would normally have gone to press before the start of General Synod, in order to provide full coverage of the convention. The June issue should arrive in Canadian Anglicans’ mailboxes before the end of that month. Some Journal coverage of Synod will be on the Web site during and after General Synod, along with General Synod news releases and a newsletter with highlights of each day’s activity.