What are galley groups…

Published June 2, 2010

Delegates from different parts of the country sit together in table groups.

Historically, galleys were ships or rowboats propelled by sails or oars. The planning committee for General Synod 2010 chose the nautical term to describe the table groups in which members will sometimes sit.

And they won’t necessarily be sitting with other members from their diocese, either. This year, based on delegate evaluations from previous synods, planners decided to create a seating arrangement that gives delegates from across Canada an opportunity to know each other better.

“It is our attempt to mix the delegates from the different parts of the country,” explains Canon Barbara Burrows, chair of the General Synod Planning Committee, adding that the seating arrangement will put together lay and clergy, male and female, bishops with staff, and so on. “The hope is that by being in the galley groups, particularly through morning prayer and through the Bible study, people will get to know each other and build trust and respect for each other.”

Not sitting with in a diocesan group may make it easier for delegates to hear different points of view, points out Burrows.

Still, some people expressed concern the new seating arrangement would make it cumbersome for members from the same diocese to confer with each other. In response, the planning committee decided that seating would be a mix of galley groups and diocesan groups.

“Our attempt was to have galley groups [seating] as much as possible, but we recognized that there are times when the dioceses really want to have all their delegates sitting together for consultation…so we will be floating back and forth,” says Canon Burrows.

Community building exercises have also been built into the agenda for the first days of the synod.


  • Leigh Anne Williams

    Leigh Anne Williams joined the Anglican Journal in 2008 as a part-time staff writer. She also works as the Canadian correspondent for Publishers Weekly, a New York-based trade magazine for the book publishing. Prior to this, Williams worked as a reporter for the Canadian bureau of TIME Magazine, news editor of Quill & Quire, and a copy editor at The Halifax Herald, The Globe and Mail and The Bay Street Bull.

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