St. Giles Anglican Church, Estevan

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The 42nd General Synod was held in Vancouver, BC July 10-16.  General Synod opened with a service of Holy Eucharist on Wednesday, Juy 10 at Christ Church Cathedral.  The service began with a performance from The Kwhlii Gibaygum Nisga’a Dancers.  
The Anglican Foundation of Canada served as visionary sponsor for General Synod 2019 and Executive Director Judy Rois brought greetings from the Foundation. 

Dean of the Catherdral, Peter Elliott, brought greetings from the Cathedral.  National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald preached, reminding everyone that in a changing world, Anglicans must rise to the challenge and once more become a “community of disciples".

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, presided over the Eucharist. 

(All photos courtesy of the Anglican Journal unless otherwise noted. Click on the photos to enlarge them.)

July 11 was the first full day of General Synod. Primate Fred Hiltz gave his Primatial address and you watch it here.

Also on Thursday Representatives of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP) were accepted as full voting members of General Synod 2019  Attending members were invited on stage to receive proper accreditations and voting devices.

Following this, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, responding to a national call, and at the request and with the authority of the Council of General Synod,  offered the an apology for the cultural and spiritual harm the Anglican Church of Canada inflicted on all Indigenous Peoples. Click to read the response in full.

A few days later Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP) responded to the Archbishops apology with a letter. You can read that letter here.

Also on July 11, the 42nd General Synod passed a resolution acknowledging receipt of the report 'One Step on a Journey: The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and the Anglican Church of Canada—Lessons Learned', along with its executive summary. The resolution encourages all levels of the church to read the documents and to “take action on their recommendations for ongoing reconciliation work both within the Anglican Church and more broadly.”

Melanie Delva, reconciliation animator for the Anglican Church of Canada, presented the 21-page report and the resolution to General Synod. Delva played the lead role in writing One Step on a Journey and the exercises that provided its content, which asked respondents to reflect on their experiences of the IRSSA. Read the entire report here.

On Friday morning rules were changed to enable a self-determining Indigenous church within the Anglican Church of Canada.  And the title of Archbishop was bestowed upon National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald.  Archbishop MacDonald now ranks with the Metropolitans. After the nearly unanimous vote, Primate Fred Hiltz presented Archbishop Mark MacDonald, with a metropolitan cross made for the new role,  which was decorated by Saskia Rowley, graphic designer at the national office of the General Synod, with input from Indigenous Ministries Coordinator Canon Ginny Doctor.

“So you see on the cross there the four colours for the four peoples of the world. You’ll see she’s drawn the colour blue in the middle, blue of course being the colour of hope for the Indigenous peoples,” explained Hiltz. There is also an eagle feather hung from the cross, “reminding us of the great text that is so dear to Indigenous peoples, the text from Isaiah: ‘Those who wait for the Lord renew their strength; they mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint.’”

Friday afternoon and evening was dedicated to discussing the proposed changes to the marriage canon (canon XXI)  Many members of Synod spoke both for and against the proposed changes.    Following emotional pleas from both sides the vote was taken.  To pass the motion there had to be a 2/3 majority in each of the three houses, bishops, clergy and laity.  The clergy (73.2%) and laity (80.9%) surpassed the needed votes however votes from the house of bishops were only 62.2% in favour so the motion was defeated.  This caused anguish throughout the crowded hall especially with the youth delegates, some running from the room in tears.  Chaplains were on hand to offer pastoral support to whoever needed it.

Acknowledging the earlier observation of a member of synod, Archbishop Fred Hiltz noted, “Our children are crying. And many of you are crying, for a variety of reasons. So I think it’s time to adjourn. It’s time to leave this hall in silence. It’s time for you to go and do what you need to do—to cry, or to gather with delegates from your own diocese; to gather with friends, to gather in circles of prayer, just to try and be attentive to one another."

While the proposed changes to the marriage canon did not achieve the supermajority required in each order, General Synod did adopt overwhelmingly the ‘Word to the Church’ from the council of General Synod and its affirmations.  The affirmations are as follows:

Affirmation #1
Indigenous Spiritual Self-determination Whatever the action of the church at this General Synod, we affirm the right of Indigenous persons and communities to spiritual self-determination in their discernment and decisions regarding same-sex marriage.

Affirmation #2
Diverse Understandings of the Existing Canon
We affirm that, while there are different understandings of the existing Marriage Canon, those bishops and synods who have authorized liturgies for the celebration and blessing of a marriage between two people of the same sex understand that the existing Canon does not prohibit same-sex marriage.

Affirmation #3
Diverse Understandings and Teachings

We acknowledge the ongoing reality that there is a diversity of understandings and teachings about marriage in the Anglican Church of Canada, and we affirm the prayerful integrity with which those understandings and teachings are held.

Affirmation #4
Our Commitment to Presume Good Faith

We affirm our commitment to presume good faith among those who hold diverse understandings and teachings, and hold dear their continued presence in this church.

Affirmation #5
Our Commitment to Stand Together

We affirm our commitment to walk together and to preserve communion, one with another, in Christ, within this church, within our Anglican Communion, and with our ecumenical partners.

The full document can be read here.

Primate Fred Hiltz and officers of General Synod were visibly upset at the reaction caused by the vote on canon XXI

On Sunday, July 15, Archbishop Fred Hiltz read a letter from the House of Bishops to General Synod, Read that here.  

The following day, July 16, this statement was delivered by the Prolocutor and Deputy Prolocutor, in response to the statement from the House of Bishops.

You can read that here.

Saturday, July 13 started with a service of Holy Eucharist at Christ Church Cathedral.  Archbishop Fred Hiltz spoke before the service began and then an honour song was shared by Charlie and Diane Champagne. And the homily was given by The Right Reverend Lynne McNaughton. Following the Eucharist service Archbishop Hiltz handed over the Primatial cross to prolocutor Cynthia Haines-Turner in trust until it could be handed over to the next Primate.
(Photos courtesy of the Diocese of New Westminster)

Following the service, bishops left the church and delegates prepared to begin voting for a new primate.  There were 5 nominees for the position,  The Right Reverend Dr. Jane Alexander,  The Most Reverend Ron Cutler, The Most Reverend Gregory Kerr-Wilson, The Right Reverend Linda Nicholls, and The Right Reverend Michael Oulton.
After 2 rounds of voting the field was narrowed to 3, Kerr-Wilson, Nicholls and Alexander.  One more round saw one more name removed leaving Nicholls and Alexander.  After the 4th round The Right Reverend Linda Nicholls was elected, becoming the 14th Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. This is the first time a woman has been named Primate.
The bells at Christ Church Cathedral sounded the good news as delegates awaited her entrance.  The new Primate had a few words for the congregation before the event concluded.

On Sunday morning delegates were invited to services at churches throughout the Diocese of New Westminster.  Everyone enjoyed the wonderful hospitality shown by the various congregations! 

Sunday evening a reception was held to honour our Primate, Archbishop Fred Hitz.   Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, and Susan Johnson, National Bishop of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, brought greetings and thanksgivings to a banquet celebrating our beloved Primate, Fred!  Prolocutor Peter Wall also spoke and then was joined by Dean Peter Elliott and Bishop Susan Bell for a song written especially for the Primate, followed by a presentation of copies of hymns composed for Fred.  And Archbishop Hiltz took to the podium to thank everyone for the kind words.  He kept the crowd laughing with stories from his past 12 years as Primate.

Pictures courtesy of Wendy Godfrey

Sunday evening delegates were treated to a Gospel Jamboree! Archbishop Mark MacDonald  joined pianist Lonnie and other guests for a time to get together for prayer, for singing and dancing! A great time was had by everyone in attendance, including Primate Fred Hiltz. Hiltz was presented a gift for his work on reconciliation from Archbishop Mark.  

(Photos courtesy of Wendy Godfrey)

Some other important highlights from General Synod:

On July 15 a resolution passed first reading to delete prayer number four in “Prayers and Thanksgivings upon Several Occasions” from use and future printings of the BCP, and replace it with a prayer entitled “For Reconciliation with the Jews.”

The resolution passed by nearly unanimous votes in all three orders.

Primate Fred Hiltz presented Rabbi Adam Stein with a gift and signed copy of Resolution A051-R2, “Prayer for Reconciliation with the Jewish People.” Photo: Brian Bukowski

Mohammad Shujaath Ali addressed Synod members to talk about the shared heritage between Muslims and Christians.  Following his presentation a resolution was passed nearly unanimously to sign on to A Common Word - a statement celebrating that heritage.

Photos courtesy of Scott Sharman

On Sunday, General Synod welcomed Suheil Dawani, Archbishop of the Diocese of Jerusalem, and the Primate of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East. He spoke about the power of building bridges and respect between religions in the Middle East.

He asked that we all pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of The Diocese of Algoma

An election was held to choose new members for the Council of General synod (CoGS)  In our Province of Rupert's Land, members include Gregory Kerr-Wilson- Bishop,  Joey Royal-Bishop, Amos Winter-Clergy, Freda Lepine-Laity, Michael Siebert-Laity, Chris Wood-Laity, Luke Gobbett-Youth

Delegates from other provinces:

Province of British Columbia and Yukon

Lynne McNaughton-Bishop, Marnie Peterson-Clergy, Ian Alexander-Laity,  Jody Walker-Laity, Dale Drozda-Youth

Province of Canada

David Edwards-Bishop, Paulette Bugden-Clergy, Margaret Jenniex-Laity, Ann Cumyn-Laity, Scott Potter-Youth

Province of Ontario

Andrew Asbil-Bishop, Valerie Kerr-Clergy, Kim Chadsey-Laity, Hugh Mackenzie-Laity, Lyds Keesmat-Walsh-Youth

Anglican Council of Indigenous People 

The Rev. Canon Dr. Murray Still, Ms. Sheba McKay

Anglican Military Ordinariate

Major The Rev. Dennis F G Newhook

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada:  
To be named in September

To learn about the financials reported at General Synod, this story comes from the Anglican Journal.
General Synod came to a close on Tuesday afternoon with a service of Holy Eucharist at Christ Church Cathedral.   A this service our New Primate, Archbishop Linda Nicholls was installed in her new role as the head of the Anglican Church of Canada.
Also participating in the servie was The Most Rev. Michael Curry- Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Suheil Dawani- Primate of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, Bishop Elizabeth Eaton -Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Bishop Susan Johnson - National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada, and Archbishop Michael MacDonald - the National Indigenous Anglican Bishop.
(Photos courtesy of the Diocese of New Westminster)