General Synod votes to review governance structures

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General Synod delegates gather for a moment of prayer after the marriage canon vote. Photo by Milos Tosic

An amended motion for a constitutional review passed on the last day of General Synod 2019, setting the stage for a thorough examination of the body’s governance structures.

Resolution C005, as amended, directs the Council of General Synod to review the composition of membership and the rules of order and procedure of General Synod, and to bring forward any recommended changes for consideration to General Synod 2022.

The original motion, which did not include a review of the rules of order and procedure, was moved by Monique Stone and seconded by Beth Bretzlaff. Stone noted that the Anglican Church of Canada was in the midst of significant organizational change with the election of a new primate, shift to a new strategic plan and establishment of new church structures.

“Evaluation and adaptation are key traits of success for sustainable, responsible and responsive organizations that honestly and authentically examine where they are in their current context, and how they will move into the future,” Stone said.

The amendment to include rules of order and procedure was moved by David Harrison and seconded by Ian Alexander. Speaking on the proposed amendment, Harrison said that governance would be one of the main issues coming out of synod.

“I think some of us have felt that we haven’t had the kind of mechanisms that we might need, as the Order of Clergy or Order of Laity, to speak into this synod as the Order of Bishops has,” Harrison said.

Though none of the speakers directly linked Resolution C005 to the marriage canon vote, secular media drew a connection, with The Canadian Press reporting: “One of Canada’s largest Christian denominations will spend the next three years considering whether to change its governance structure amid outrage that just two bishops’ votes stood in the way of having same-sex marriage recognized by the church’s laws.”

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Matt Gardner
Matt Gardner is a staff writer for the Anglican Journal. Most recently, Gardner worked as corporate communicator for the Anglican Church of Canada, a position he held since Dec. 1, 2014. He previously served as a city reporter for the Prince Albert Daily Herald. A former resident of Kingston, Ont., Gardner has a degree in English literature from Queen’s University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario. He will continue to support corporate communications efforts during his time at the Journal.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Why did the Canadian Press story say that the votes of two bishops led to the defeat of the motion? As I recall, the vote in the order of bishops was 23-14 with two abstentions. Even if those two bishops had voted in favour of the motion, the result would still have been short of the required two-thirds majority. With 14 No votes, there would be a need for 28 Yes votes for the motion to pass.

  2. i was a member of synod and a member of diocese council, i ran for cogs but got smeared and lost. of the lay delegates, that were sent to cogs, 90% were employed by the diocese, this is unfair, the employees of the diocese have more exposure than the huddled masses, something should be done to give all who want to serve on cogs, a fair chance.

    my father always said, the problem with bishops is that every diocese has one.

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