A straw poll at the Nov. 15-18 meeting of the Council of General Synod (CoGS) has revealed that members feel the two-term limit for CoGS membership should be reviewed. This is also the view of the Governance Working Group (GWG).
Chancellor David Jones called the two-term limit “unconstitutional” and said it should be removed from the General Synod Handbook.
In other news:
· The GWG informed members that it is working with the general secretary and Resources for Mission staff to update diocesan statistics. Jones described the current state of these statistics as “lamentable.” He said having updated and accurate statistics was important because the 2010 General Synod voted to revise the formula for diocesan representation at General Synod. GWG is proposing that membership be calculated on the basis of attendance over two years on Easter, Pentecost, the second Sunday of September, and Christmas.
· Archbishop David Ashdown, outgoing chair of the Council of the North, spoke about better working relationships between the Council and two other bodies: General Synod and the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP). Ashdown attributed these changes to better cash flow and the appointment of a national indigenous Anglican bishop. Resolutions adopted at the General Synod 2007 included the move to have fixed grants over five years and collective fundraising to supplement the Council’s income. The appointment of a national indigenous Anglican bishop also “opened up new possibilities,” and enabled “significant bridge-building” to take place between ACIP and the Council, said Ashdown.
· The Rev. Canon Ginny Doctor, indigenous ministries coordinator of General Synod, announced plans by the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP) to train young indigenous Anglicans in gospel-based discipleship, ministry and effective lay leadership.
· Henriette Thompson, public witness coordinator for social justice, asked members to make a personal commitment around the church’s work of healing and reconciliation with aboriginal people. Thompson reminded CoGS that it is “the leadership body of the church and we need to move forward.” She asked them to answer the following questions: “How do you want to go further in your journey?” “Where do you feel God calling you to take steps?”
· CoGS partners from The Episcopal Church, Martha Gardner and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), the Rev. Doug Treble, offered their reflections. Gardner said her church is going through its own restructuring and consultations are ongoing. She noted how it is important not just to have “people in the know” involved in the consultations, but also those with “a critical distance from the church’s institutional leadership.” Treble said the ELCIC struggled with its own restructuring: proposals for changes at the synod level have been rejected by governing bodies, so that changes will only happen at the national church level.