“I think we’re on track, we’re on schedule and we’re on budget,” Dean Peter Wall, chair of the General Synod planning committee, told the Council of General Synod (CoGS), describing preparations for the next meeting of General Synod, to be held in Richmond Hill, Ont., from July 7 to 13, 2016.
Wall said the committee is now working on agenda matters and will be seeking advice from CoGS and the commission on the marriage canon so that “listening and reflecting times” can be included to deal with matters, including the marriage canon and Indigenous ministries.
Wall said that members of General Synod will again be issued clickers-handheld electronic devices-for electronic voting, an announcement that drew some reactions from CoGS members.
Deputy Prolocutor Cynthia Haines-Turner said using clickers has the effect of turning votes into secret ballots, “which is not where we have been or the way we work, so we may need to think about that.”
Bishop Lydia Mamakwa of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh echoed the same sentiment, saying that because her people are very anxious about the proposed change to the marriage canon, they would not want any resolutions about it to be a secret vote.
James Sweeny, of the province of Canada, offered a counterpoint, saying that clickers might allow someone who was worried about his job to vote as prompted by the Spirit without worrying about his job if his vote was out of step with his diocese.
Haines-Turner suggested that the issue warranted more discussion at a future CoGS meeting, and Wall said he would ask the planning committee to discuss it before the next CoGS meeting in the fall and to provide a framework for that discussion.
Wall said the committee is working toward, and strongly committed to, the goal of providing some simultaneous translation of significant parts of the event into some Aboriginal languages.
Archbishop Suheil Dawani from the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and Bishop Griselda Delgado from the Episcopal Church of Cuba are slated to come to the General Synod as guests, he also announced.