Editorial letter: Preparing for the General Synod ‘marathon’

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Photo: Kyle Pearce/Flickr

Editorial supervisor Matthew Townsend shares plans for the Journal’s coverage of GS2019, social media expectations and a prayer request

General Synod 2019 is upon us. As delegates and staff prepare for the event—days of meetings running morning, noon and night, with worship, decision-making and celebration—the Anglican Journal is preparing, too, for the marathon ahead.

The Journal will provide coverage of General Synod for its duration, offering news and insights on debates and decisions as they happen. Its three writers—Tali Folkins, Matt Gardner and Joelle Kidd—and I will be on the ground in Vancouver, observing events as they happen and describing them as impartially and expediently as possible. We won’t be alone, of course—General Synod communications staff in Vancouver and Toronto will be providing support, too. My thanks in advance especially to Alicia Brown, who will be helping out with social media posts and daily updates, and to Meghan Kilty and Alice Namu, who will help us check facts as questions arise.

Our collective hope is that you feel more connected to the work of General Synod—whether you’re a voting delegate, a concerned Anglican or someone watching the events for curiosity’s sake. Our goal: to help everyone understand what has happened clearly and completely. Of special concern to us are decisions around the marriage canon and Indigenous self-determination—and, of course, the election of a new primate. My intention is to share significant news as it happens (with care taken towards accuracy and fairness), but we will also send an email update each morning featuring highlights from the previous day.

Much more happens at General Synod than church governance—we also plan to share interesting news and short feature stories about subjects like the exhibit hall, the gospel jamboree, youth events and celebrations.

Many have made note that this General Synod could see debate over challenging subjects—especially the marriage canon. There are two places in which you can engage these topics directly: in comments on the Journal’s website and on the Journal’s social media feeds. With this invitation comes an expectation: that we will respect one another as beloved children of God, regardless of how upset we might be. I recently asked Jesse Dymond, former online community coordinator for the Anglican Church of Canada, to set the tone for the online conversations to come. Please read his beautiful response to my request—I think you will find it uplifting and pertinent. For my part, I will say this: I will not tolerate bullying, belittling or insulting comments, or hateful expressions of -isms or -phobias. Bring your disagreements, your concerns, your Scripture, your conscience, your experience, your hopes and your pain—but bring your love, too. The Anglican Journal is a journalistic instrument, but it’s also a Christian one. I believe it should reflect Christ’s great commandments in print, online and in the oft-chaotic world of social media.

Finally, I ask that you keep the staff members of the Journal in your prayers as they travel to Vancouver and ready themselves for the task at hand. Days are long for all involved in General Synod—but reporters tend to carry one of the heavier burdens, often completing the previous day’s work early in the morning and preparing for the day to come till the small hours of the night. Free moments are taken by writing; meals happen at keyboards. Our work won’t end on July 17, either, as we must prepare to print the September issue of the Journal by the month’s end—with news of General Synod, as it has just transpired, as well as content unrelated to events in Vancouver. I also ask for prayers of thanksgiving: that the Journal will be a part of this historic General Synod.

All my thanks,

Matthew Townsend
Supervisor, Editorial

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Matthew Townsend
Matthew Townsend has worked in editorial, journalistic, and web development roles with a variety of organizations, including the The Living Church, the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY, and the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida. He is a member of Episcopal Communicators and has consulted with a variety of ecumenical organizations, including Atlantic School of Theology, the Presbyterian Endowment Network, and the Associated Church Press.

2 COMMENTS

  1. My prayers are for all who are involved in GS2019. My hope is that everyone remembers Christ’s commandment to love one another is conflict does arise.

  2. Thank you for taking this approach. I have attended a national meeting of another denomination at a time during which there were contested theological positions and I wish that someone then would have had your approach.

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