By Bishop Todd Townshend
From June 27 to July 2 the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada met in Calgary, Alberta. The Diocese of Huron was well represented by Kyle Gascho, Dorothy Patterson, Paul Townshend, Pam Walters, Grayhame Bowcott, Jane Humphreys, Tanya Phibbs, and me.
General Synod is the “national” body of the Anglican Church of Canada consisting of the bishops of each diocese and members chosen from the clergy and laity of each diocese, to serve the well-being of the whole church.
Anglicans were not alone in this meeting as we also gathered in “Assembly” with delegates from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, our full-communion partners. In this Assembly we welcomed the Moravian Church into full communion with us, as well. The Moravian Church is one of the oldest Protestant churches in existence. What a gift it is to grow in communion and to learn from the faithfulness of each church.
A large portion of the gathering is worship and informal times of prayer, meals, and fellowship. It is always astonishing to be in a room where people are gathered from every part of Canada. There is a powerful unity in this diverse gathering, even when we sometimes find the differences to be difficult. There are so many good and faithful people in our church.
Another large part of the meeting is to hear about, and debate, “resolutions” – and there were many.
Listening well is one of the challenges and joys of General Synod. Sitting for long periods of time takes energy and dedication! We pray that all these voices reveal the voice and will of God for us – so, the work is holy. If you would like to see details of these resolutions and their outcomes, please go to https://assembly.anglicanlutheran.ca
General Synod also does the work of electing lay and clergy leadership for the period between sessions.
Archdeacon Tanya Phibbs was elected to serve as Deputy Prolocutor, a senior officer of General Synod, (in addition to her work in Huron) for the next two years. Congratulations, Tanya! She will join Dorothy Patterson, also of Huron (Six Nations of the Grand), who was elected to the Council of General Synod (COGS, the executive body serving between General Synod sessions).
Many other Huron leaders serve on the various committees and councils of our national church. Thank you, all!
I was grateful for the many, many people who made this large gathering possible and fruitful. I was especially grateful for our Primate, Archbishop Linda Nicholls, for her leadership throughout these past four years and in this meeting. Her skill and faithfulness were constantly evident, but it may have been most clear in her powerful homily at the closing Eucharist. This will be Archbishop Linda’s last General Synod as she will retire before the next meeting in 2025. Thank you, +Linda.
Speaking of the next meeting – it was announced at the closing banquet that the Diocese of Huron will host the 44th session of General Synod in 2025 in London! We will be delighted to welcome delegates/members to Huron and we’re grateful for the honour.