Met from Thursday, May 6th to Sunday May 9th
to do the work of the Anglican Church of Canada
The meeting opened with Evening Prayer on Thursday, May 6th. The Liturgy of the Word included the Holy Day observance of St John the Evangelist, along with a celebration of national Church ministries.
The three days of meetings took place via zoom. The Rev. Louise Peters is the Chaplain to the Council of General Synod. Highlights of the meeting are available on the Anglican Church of Canada website.
This day included the Primate’s Remarks; the appointment of Marlena Anderson from Territory of the People to the Dismantling Racism Task Force; a Safe Church Update; a report on the Surprised by the Spirit initiative; reports from the Pension Committee, Laurel Parsons, General Synod archivist, and Deborah Barretto, director of Resources for Mission; and a presentation on Youth Ministry. The day also included a Bible study.
Dr. Martin Brokenleg led a panel on racism in the church. The panelists were the Rev. Canon Ginny Doctor, Indigenous Ministries coordinator; Dion Lewis, co-chair of the Anti- Racism Task Force for the diocese of Montreal; and Pastor Chung Yan Lam, incumbent priest for the Anglican parish of Bearbrook, Navan and Blackburn, and Vars Chapel in the diocese of Ottawa. Each panel member spoke about their own personal experiences with racism.
Reports were presented by Joseph Vecsi, director of Communications and Information Resources; Scott Sharman, animator for ecumenical and interfaith relations, who provided information about the trial use of the prayer for reconciliation with the Jewish people; Ryan Weston, lead animator of Public Witness for Social and Ecological Justice, and Andrea Mann, director of Global Relations, on the church’s work across Canada and around the world to combat human trafficking and modern slavery; and the Strategic Planning Working Group. A Bible study was held.
Reports were given by National Indigenous Archbishop Mark MacDonald; Hanna Goschy, treasurer and CFO, for the Financial Management Committee; and General Secretary Alan Perry.
The meeting adjourned for a space of time so that they could meet as the directors of the Missionary Society of the Anglican Church of Canada to do some of its business.
Deputy prolocutor Judith Moses noted the importance of how CoGS shares information and keeps people connected to build relationships. The Rev. Marnie Peterson and Chris Wood shared how they brought information and insight from CoGS back to their home parishes and dioceses, and how the pandemic has affected that process. Council members suggested the following key messages from this meeting be shared with dioceses and parishes:
- Greater understanding of the work and dynamic relationships that the national church does on our behalf
- Encourage participation in Surprised by the Spirit
- Holiday on diocesan contributions—a way of “pushing the money down” to the ground, where ministry happens day by day and moment by moment
- Release of the General Synod 2019 minutes will cause reactions
- Work that continues around human trafficking and modern slavery
- Progress on Indigenous Church Covenant and Our Way of Life
- We are able to continue learning and growing in our work towards anti-racism, through listening to stories and our work as a council. Sensitivity is needed in dismantling racism.
- Perhaps unusually this time, three of the four metropolitans are members of CoGS. Are they able to be a conduit of information to the bishops and executive councils of the dioceses in their provinces?
- Increase in pensions
- Importance of remaining connected to national church and sharing important issues the national church is addressing, e.g. by reporting during meetings with archdeacons and bishops
- National church is doing valuable and needed work nationally and globally
Two representatives of the Anglican Church of Canada’s partners offered their reflections: Canon Noreen Duncan for The Episcopal Church (TEC) and Pat Lovell for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC). Two further reflections followed from Canadian Anglicans who work with the church’s partners: Bishop Andrew Asbil is the Anglican Church of Canada’s representative on the executive council of TEC and the Rev. Canon Dr. Murray Still serves as Anglican representative to the ELCIC National Church Council.
The next meeting of the Council of General Synod will take place in June.