When they meet July 3 to 7, about 300 General Synod delegates will have a packed business agenda that will address internal, Anglican Communion-wide and ecumenical issues.
The triennial meeting of General Synod, the governing body of the Anglican Church of Canada, will take place at the Ottawa Convention Centre. (The gathering has been shortened to four days from the usual nine days-for the first time since entering full communion in 2001, Anglicans will spend some time with Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada delegates in joint assembly.)
At their General Synod, Anglicans will be asked to act on various motions dealing with church governance, including a proposal that could reduce the size of the body, as well as amendments to Canon 22, on national indigenous ministry.
They will also consider a constitutional amendment that would alter the nature of all but two of the Council of General Synod (CoGS) standing committees, as part of initial changes being recommended to the national church’s structures.
General Synod’s concurrence will be sought for the proposed dissolution of the diocese of Keewatin and the creation of a new one that will serve First Nations communities in northern Ontario.
On the international front, delegates will consider a motion that continues the conversation and delays a final decision on the proposed Anglican Covenant. They will not be asked to either accept or reject the covenant, a set of principles recommended in 2004 by a Lambeth-appointed body as a way of healing relationships among member provinces of the Anglican Communion, which were damaged by theological divisions over the issue of human sexuality.
A resolution focusing on the conflict in the Middle East and educating Canadian Anglicans about the “life and witness” of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem will also be presented to delegates.
The resolution will urge General Synod to “commit to act together” with the ELCIC and the United Church of Canada (UCC) in pursuing “peace with justice for all in Palestine and Israel.”
Joint actions could be in such areas as educating members about “the impact of illegal settlements on the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis, and about imported products identified as produced in or related to the illegal settlements and misleadingly labeled as produced in Israel, and about the complexities of economic advocacy measures.”
The resolution does not call for a boycott of such products from Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, a measure the UCC adopted at its General Council in 2012.
Despite the abbreviated schedule, the General Synod planning committee has expressed confidence that delegates will have enough time to deal with its business agenda.
“Reports and presentations will be both shorter in length and fewer in number than in the past…speeches will be kept to a minimum,” said Dean Peter Wall, committee chair.
The meeting will also use clickers, which will allow people to cast their votes on resolutions electronically, with results counted in a matter of seconds.