Primate cites pastoral visit as a highlight of first year in office

Published May 26, 2008

Mississauga, Ont. Displaying a Bible, a clay chalice and communion plate from the diocese of Cuba, photographs, posters, books, and documents, Archbishop Fred Hiltz offered members of the Council of General Synod (CoGS) a glimpse of the places he’s been, and the people he’s met almost a year into his primacy. “There were many things that were quite moving for me,” said Archbishop Hiltz, primate (national archbishop) of the Anglican Church of Canada, during a reflection on his work on the first day of the spring meeting of CoGS, the church’s governing body between meetings of General Synod. Among them, he said, was a trip in February to the diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, which he described as “pastoral visit in light of developments in that diocese.” (Last November, the retired bishop of that diocese, Don Harvey, left the Anglican Church of Canada to become a bishop in the South American province of the Southern Cone. Bishop Harvey is also moderator of the Anglican Network in Canada, comprising congregations and parishes that have left the Canadian church.) Archbishop Hiltz said that he met with active and retired clergy of the diocese, describing it as “an occasion to talk and to hear one another as we wrestle with issues before the church” like the blessing of same-sex unions, and the unity of the church in Canada and the Anglican Communion. “There was a huge diversity of opinion. But there was a genuine commitment to remain in conversation with one another and to be faithful to the Anglican Church of Canada,” he said. Archbishop Hiltz noted that he and bishops David Torraville of the diocese of Central Newfoundland and Percy Coffin of the diocese of Western Newfoundland also spent some time together with Cy Pitman, the bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, to provide “genuine support for a colleague in ministry.” The primate also announced that the celebration for the 50th anniversary of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), the church’s relief and development arm, will stretch over a 18-month period beginning in October. Commemoration of the anniversary will begin in Springhill, N.S., where a mining disaster in 1958 gave impetus for Anglicans to set up PWRDF. Archbishop Hiltz, who is president of the PWRDF board, said that Canadian Anglicans have responded with “great love and compassion” to various PWRDF fundraising appeals, noting that that they have given $88 million over the years. But, he added that more work needs to be done to promote the work of PWRDF among Anglicans, citing that “only 30 per cent of Anglicans are aware of what (it) is all about.” In his report, the primate also:?highlighted a meeting in February of the Episcopal Church in Cuba and noted that it is growing – plans are being laid out for the creation of two dioceses; ?described the church leaders’ tour to promote the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as “an enormous event;” ?noted that he has spoken to the Canadian Council of Churches about mobilizing churches “to begin a huge public awareness program” about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) so that people can pressure governments to meet their commitments. “I’m really beating the drum on this one,” he said. “We’ll be the ones to hold their feet to the fire.” ?updated CoGS on the Anglican church’s continuing ecumenical dialogue with the Roman Catholic church; he also said that he meets regularly with the national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Susan Johnson.?said that by the end of 2008, he will have visited 23 of the 30 dioceses in the Canadian church. He cited as a highlight the ordination of Wilfred Sanderson, from James Smith reserve, in Saskatchewan. He described it as “powerful,” citing that Mr. Sanderson’s community was visibly excited and joyful about the event.


  • Marites N. Sison

    Marites (Tess) Sison was editor of the Anglican Journal from August 2014 to July 2018, and senior staff writer from December 2003 to July 2014. An award-winning journalist, she has more that three decades of professional journalism experience in Canada and overseas. She has contributed to The Toronto Star and CBC Radio, and worked as a stringer for The New York Times.

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