Richmond Hill, Ont.
On the morning of July 7, Anglican youth delegates who had come from across Canada for the 41st General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, were given the opportunity for a pre-synod question-and-answer session with Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Canadian Anglican church.
Their questions ranged widely.
Some of the youth were interested in learning more about the technical aspects of the church governance-for example, what is a metropolitan and how is a primate elected-while others wanted to know what parts of his role Hiltz found most “life-giving” (The answer: getting to watch people go deeper into what it means to be a disciple of Christ.)
Hiltz also gave the youth a run-down of his own position in the church, and explained what they can expect over the course of the next six days.
He reminded them that although the vote on whether or not to change the marriage canon to allow same-sex couples to marry may cause tensions to run high, that would not be the only matter discussed at synod.
“We’re gathered to do God’s work, and some of our work is going to be delightful, and some of it is going to be challenging, but in the midst of it all, we are a praying community and we are being surrounded by many, many people who are praying for us,” he said.
Hiltz stressed, too, that youth should take an active role in discussions and debates on the floor of synod.
“It is important that the General Synod hears your voice-your heart, your mind, your passions, your vision for our church,” he said. “I am really glad that you are all here. I encourage you to participate fully, but enjoy the synod, too.”
Archbishop Fred Hiltz shares a light moment with young Anglicans at General Synod 2016. Photo: Art Babych
When asked how they felt the session went, some youth delegates said they found it to be a helpful introduction, even if not all of the information shared was new to them.
“It was nice to get that extra bit of information we wouldn’t have otherwise got, because the primate was able to offer that unique point of view,” said Rachel Barrett, of the diocese of Fredericton.
Asher Worley, of the diocese of Caledonia, agreed. He said that while Hiltz didn’t say “anything unexpected,” it was useful to get the primate’s take on the synod process.
Before the primate’s arrival, the session also featured a presentation from Sheilagh McGlynn, facilitator of justgeneration.ca for The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), on how Anglicans can get involved in fighting the water crisis in Indigenous reserve communities.