Traditionally, the list of questions delegates to General Synod are asked to tackle is on the long side.This year’s event in Halifax, from Jun. 3 to 11, is no exception.What follows are some of the highlights of the work to be done.
The future of the Anglican Church of Canada
The Council of General Synod (CoGS) is recommending the final report from the Vision 2019 Task Force for General Synod’s consideration and adoption as a strategic plan for the next nine years. In the first triennium, the Vision 2019 report will help inform some of the tough budget decisions that the national church will make to achieve its commitment to end deficit budgeting by 2012.
Our place in the Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion Covenant has been proposed and drafted as a way to define the relationships between the provinces in the Anglican Communion and to help heal divisions. After revisions, it has been sent out to the provinces to be ratified. CoGS followed the lead of the House of Bishops in recommending the covenant to General Synod for its consideration. However, CoGS stopped short of recommending that the church sign on. Some in the Canadian church are still concerned that the covenant in its current form could be used to take punitive action against the church in Canada.
The Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee (FWMC) will report back on its work on the issue of human sexuality since the last Synod, including the Rothesay Report and the Galilee Report. Since the writers of these reports were divided on the issue, the committee is recommending a process for dialogue at General Synod. After hearing the committee’s report in plenary, delegates will break into smaller discussion groups and feedback will be shared in a subsequent plenary session. This will be followed by a second round of small group discussion and more feedback before a resolution is crafted that delegates can vote on.
How to govern the church
Delegates will be asked to consider a resolution from CoGS that would reduce the number of delegates to General Synod, using a new formula to determine the number of clerical and lay members for each diocese. Another resolution proposes to decrease the number of CoGS members from 42 to 30. Another resolution proposes entrenching the role of the National Indigenous Anglican Bishop, the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples and Sacred Circle into the church canon.
The role of the primate
The Primacy Task Force is recommending that the primate’s role include work as the senior metropolitan bishop. The resolution also recommends that the primate lead the Anglican Church of Canada in discerning and pursuing the mission of God, exercise pastoral and spiritual leadership throughout the Anglican Church of Canada and regularly visit every diocese, as well as exercise a pastoral ministry, particularly to bishops.
Solidarity in the Middle East, climate change
Delegates will also consider resolutions from the Partners in Mission and Eco-Justice Committee proposing a statement of solidarity with the diocese of Jerusalem in the pursuit of peace with justice for all in Palestine and Israel. They will also consider a resolution on climate change. Ω