Registration is now open for delegates to General Synod 2016, which is scheduled to meet July 7-12 in Richmond Hill, Ont.
Around 269 delegates are expected at General Synod, a decrease from the approximately 290 who attended in 2013, said Dean Peter Wall, chair of the General Synod planning committee.
The decrease is due to a change in the formula for the selection and election of delegates, which increases the minimum number of delegates from smaller dioceses while decreasing the number for more populous ones, Wall told the spring meeting of Council of General Synod (CoGS) March 10.
“We increased the minimum [number of delegates], and some dioceses by virtue of their own reporting and statistics reduced,” he said.
He expects, however, that with guests, visitors and staff, the number of total attendees will be somewhere around 325.
Wall also said the team is working to ensure that the schedule will allow delegates enough time to discuss the business before them.
“We do not want to rush what it is that we have to do, since so much of it-all of it, indeed-is so important,” he said.
In preparation for the vote on the marriage canon, Wall explained that two morning sessions on July 9 and July 11 would be set aside for delegates to talk in smaller “neighbourhood groups” about the motion asking General Synod to change the church’s marriage canon to allow for same-sex marriage.
“We have a significant amount of time in the agenda at the moment for discussions about the marriage canon, honouring requests from the [CoGS] working group to separate some of the pieces of the neighbourhood groupings by at least a day,” he said.
Wall also said that July 10 would be dedicated to considering a call for greater self-determination from the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples and that in addition to this, 30 minutes of “flex” time has been built into each day of the draft agenda to ensure that discussions are not cut short due to time constraints.
Time has also been apportioned for regular synod business, such as reports from the departments and ministries of General Synod, a legislative session to deal with current business, and the election of new CoGS members.