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Eleven of the Anglican Church of Canada’s 30 dioceses will have no members on the Council of General Synod (CoGS) for the next three years.

The election took place Wed. Jun. 9, after the earlier reduction in its size when the Council, informally known as “CoGS,” was cut from 42 members down to 31 as a cost-saving measure.

Dioceses not to be found amongst the elected members of CoGS include Athabasca, Brandon, Caledonia, Central Newfoundland, Fredericton, Moosonee, Nova Scotia and PEI, Ontario, Rupert’s Land, Saskatoon, and Yukon. The previous practice was to try to have at least one member from each diocese.

However, two people who are members on CoGS by virtue of their positions do come from dioceses not represented: Chancellor Ron Stevenson is from the diocese of Fredericton, and Primate Fred Hiltz was bishop of Nova Scotia and PEI before election in 2007.

The General Synod without debate endorsed election of members who had been nominated at regional caucuses.

Earlier in synod, delegates approved a resolution to reduce from 36 to 22 the number of members elected at General Synod from the four regional groups of dioceses, which are called “ecclesiastical provinces.”

It then added members by giving voting privileges to two observers from the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP), and one vote to the partner representative of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).

It did not change the CoGS status of five officers: Primate, Prolocutor, Deputy Prolocutor, Chancellor and General Secretary. Nor was the representative of the Anglican Military Ordinariate (military chaplains) changed.

CoGS has been described as “the synod between General Synods,” although it cannot change the Constitution or doctrinal matters. It does have responsibility for the annual budget which may prove to be a difficult task in the coming years. Large cuts are needed if the Church’s practice of deficit financing is to end and financial reserves built up.

Delegates were warned that the practice of having every diocese represented on CoGS would no longer take place if the size of the body were reduced. In theory at least, members on the Council represent not the dioceses or areas from which they come, but the General Synod and the church as a whole.

Nominated from each of the four ecclesiastical provinces and voted into office by the General Synod were the following elected members, with their dioceses:

Province of Rupert’s Land:

Bishop Greg Kerr-Wilson (Qu’Appelle), the Rev. Chris Harper (Saskatchewan), the Rev. Gene Packwood (Calgary), Verna Firth (Arctic), Peter Kitchekeesik (Keewatin), Jonathan Sinnatamby (Edmonton), Debbie Rye (Saskatchewan).

Province of British Columbia and Yukon:

Bishop James Cowan (British Columbia), the Rev. Lynne McNaughton (New Westminster), Randall Fairey (Kootenay), Lela Zimmer (APCI), Melissa Green (APCI).

Province of Ontario:

Bishop Colin Johnson (Toronto), the Rev. Michael Thompson (Niagara), Ron Chaplin (Ottawa), Katie-Scarlett MacGillivray (Huron), Brianna Locke (Algoma)

Province of Canada:

Bishop Dennis Drainville (Quebec), the Rev. Josiah Noel (Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador), Cynthia Haines-Turner (Western Newfoundland), Susan Winn (Montreal), Felix Cote-Gaudreau (Quebec)

Other members:

The Rev. Sidney Black (ACIP)

Gloria Moses (ACIP)

Douglas Reble (ELCIC)

the Rev. Michelle Staples (military chaplains)

Archbishop Fred Hiltz (primate)

Prolocutor Robert Falby

Deputy Prolocutor Harry Huskins

General Secretary Michael Pollesel

Chancellor Ron Stevenson

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Neale Adams
Neale Adams is a freelance writer in Vancouver. He was former editor of Topic, the newspaper of the diocese of New Westminster.

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