General Synod 2004 will gather in St. Catharines, Ont., near Hamilton and Niagara Falls.
St. Catharines, Ont.
Delegates to General Synod 2004 may need intense powers of concentration as they meet at Brock University here, a short drive from the wineries of the Niagara peninsula, the Shaw Festival repertory theatre and the multiple attractions of Niagara Falls.
The eight-day meeting from May 28 through June 4 ? the church’s triennial governing convention ? will elect a primate, debate same-sex blessings and consider a response to the HIV/AIDS crisis, among other matters.
Brock University, founded in 1964, is located on the Niagara Escarpment, a high ridge of land that creates Niagara Falls and runs 700 km north to the Bruce Peninsula. The university overlooks St. Catharines, an industrial city of about 130,000, located about 110 km from Toronto. The university is named after Sir Isaac Brock, a British general who died in a nearby battle on Queenston Heights in the War of 1812.
Delegates will stay in university residences and gather at the campus’s Sean O’Sullivan Theatre for opening worship and for the primatial election. Plenary sessions will take place in the Bob Davis Gymnasium, located in the same complex as the theatre. A second gym, next to the main venue, will house an area where such groups as the Anglican Book Centre, Integrity and Essentials will have booths and displays. All facilities are air-conditioned ? a relief for any who recall sweltering in the summer sauna that was General Synod 1998 in Montreal.
Delegates will travel off-site on several occasions: a farewell dinner honouring the outgoing primate, Archbishop Michael Peers, to be held at a Niagara Falls hotel, the installation of the new primate at Christ’s Church Cathedral in the diocese of Niagara’s see city of Hamilton, and a dinner that evening hosted by the diocese in Hamilton’s stately old Canadian Pacific Rail train station, now a banquet hall.
General Synod organizers will be using a unique space called Pond Inlet, near the gym and the theatre, for daily eucharist and receptions. Named after a community on Baffin Island, the hall’s two-storey windows overlook a contemplative waterfall garden.
The meeting will also feature a companions’ program that includes a winery tour. Companions may also attend a performance at the Shaw Festival, located in the historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The town of Niagara Falls offers many activities, from wax museums to the Maid of the Mist boat ride to the base of the cataract.
The diocese has also planned a children’s program, featuring worship, crafts, storytelling and music.