At its March meeting in Mississauga, the Council of General Synod (CoGS) devoted significant discussion to the formation of a self-determining Indigenous church, same-sex marriage, the future of the Anglican Journal and matters of finance. However, the body also considered a number of other resolutions over the course of its four-day meeting, including several proposed by the national office’s faith, worship, and ministry department. CoGS also discussed pensions and conducted elections for deputy prolocutor, and it appointed the archivist of General Synod based on electronic ballot results.
The Rev. Eileen Scully, director of faith, worship and ministry, brought 12 resolutions before CoGS, most of which contained a motion to forward to General Synod 2019. Scully began with a March 15 report on the “Anglican Communion Safe Church Charter” and the “Protocol for the Disclosure of Ministry Suitability Information between the Churches of the Anglican Communion.”
On March 16, Scully presented a resolution that, if passed at General Synod, would adopt the charter and the protocol; commend the charter to dioceses and other bodies of the Anglican Church of Canada for use in the revision and creation of policies and training materials for safeguarding and right conduct; and engage in a self-study of the conduct policy base of the corporation of the General Synod in light of the charter, reporting back to the General Synod of 2022 on developments and with revised policies. The motion passed by consensus.
Other resolutions from faith, worship and ministry, all of which passed by consensus and will proceed to a vote at General Synod, include:
• Authorization to use “Alternative Collects for the Revised Common Lectionary,” “Gathering Rites for Paschaltide,” “Thanksgivings over the Water” and “Seasonal Forms for Daily Office,” where permitted by the ordinary.
• A first reading to an addition to Canon XIV, Section 5, that would delete from use and future printings of prayer number four in “Prayers and Thanksgivings upon Several Occasions” in the Book of Common Prayer. The prayer—“For the Conversion of the Jews”—would be replaced with, “For Reconciliation with the Jews.”
• Directing the Anglican Church of Canada to join other signatories to “A Common Word Between Us and You.”
• Affirmation of the “Arusha Call to Discipleship,” which emerged from the World Council of Churches’ Conference on World Mission and Evangelism.
CoGS also adopted resolutions from Scully that did not require a motion to be forwarded to General Synod:
• Approval for trial use, evaluation, and feedback of “Rites for the Catechumenal Process,” where permitted by the ordinary.
• Commending use of the Inclusive Language Liturgical Psalter and the Inclusive Language Liturgical Psalter (pointed).
Bob Boeckner, trustee for the Pension Committee, also presented the committee’s report to CoGS. Facing intensifying decline in membership and a need for greater equity, he said, the trustees had established an expansion committee to explore how best to provide equitable and sustainable pensions. According to Boeckner, proposed solutions include winding up the Lay Retirement Plan and enrolling all members in the General Synod Pension Plan; expanding the General Synod Pension Plan employer base by offering the plan to other not-for-profit employers; and enabling amendments to Canon VIII and IX to carry out these plans.
Boeckner introduced two motions asking CoGS to affirm the recommendations to change the canons; both were adopted by consensus. CoGS also elected Dean Peter Wall as deputy prolocutor and appointed Laurel Parson as archivist of General Synod.