Bishop Short reported on behalf of the Task Force which recommended the following as principles for further discussion:
(1) electoral procedures should not be affected by economic considerations
(2) all dioceses should have the same right to elect their bishops
(3) the Province should have a significant role in making nominations in all episcopal elections
(4) the Province should participate in each episcopal election
(5) a Provincial Committee (?) should be in charge of all nominations, which may be submitted from the Church-at-large.
It was pointed out that one of the least defined areas in the Episcopacy is that of Suffragan, and agreed that this requires further study, along with a consideration of more extensive opportunities for the translation of Bishops.
"That this House strike a Task Force to give serious consideration to the matter of episcopal elections in the light of the recommendations presented to the House at the December, 1974, meeting, and that a report of their considerations be presented at the next meeting of the House." CARRIED
Bishop Bothwell noted that General Synod is to be held from 2:00 p.m. Thursday, June 12th until noon, Thursday, June 19th, 1975, at Laval University, Quebec City. He expressed the hope that the Bishops would all find it possible to participate in the cross-cultural weekend which is being planned, and reported that a special Seminar is to be held at Laval University Sunday, June 15th. This is to include leaders of government and church, theologians and sociologists. Bishop Bothwell said that there is to be a dinner for Synod delegates at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday evening given by the Province of Quebec followed by a Service in the Great Seminary Chapel at which it is hoped that Cardinal Roy will preach. The Theme for the Synod is to be "Together in Christ", and some of the main issues are Christian Initiation, Ordination of Women, Church Union, the new Pension Canon, re-structuring of the Diocese of Newfoundland and Program Policy.
Archbishop Davis described facilities available at Laval, and expressed the opinion that they would prove most satisfactory. He said that the Local Arrangements committee is very anxious to help and co-operate in any way possible. It is expected that many of the Bishops and delegates to General Synod will attend Mass on Saturday afternoon with their hosts, and this will enable people to accept preaching invitations for Sunday morning.
Archdeacon Light said that he would be writing to all Bishops and Diocesan Secretary-Treasurers within the next two weeks requesting that he be informed, as soon as possible, of the names of youth delegates. The nominations are to go before National Executive Council in February for voting. He also requested that he be kept informed of Memorials to Synod, names of delegates, and the names and biographies of deceased members. He said that the Convening Circular will be circulated at least six weeks prior to General synod.
"That the Report of the General Synod Planning Committee be received." CARRIED
The Primate noted that samples of the 1974 PWRDF Christmas card were available, and that quantities could be ordered through the Reverend Robert MacRae, Church House.
Bishop Matthews reported on the Joint Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination (ACPO) which met November 19-20, 1994. This was in response to a recommendation from the October 1994 gathering of the House of Bishops which recommended to the Committee on Ministry that a small joint taskforce meet. It was suggested that the joint taskforce should be made up of two representatives from the Committee on Ministry and two representatives from the House of Bishops in order to review the ACPO process, and to make recommendations about the future of ACPO to NEC when it met in March 1995.
The Joint Committee made six recommendations which they presented. There was some discussion in plenary about the recommendations, the role of ACPO and whether or not it should continue. The question "Where do the ACPO recommendations go now?" was asked of the House.
At Archbishop Peers' request, a small taskforce was formed to investigate whether or not it would be possible for the House of Bishops to reach a common mind regarding ACPO. The taskforce consisted of Bishop Matthews, Bishop Bays, Archbishop Crawley, Bishop Mason and Bishop Morgan. They agreed to report back to the House later in the meeting.
When the taskforce reported back to the House they made several recommendations (see appendix i) and proposed the following motion.
That this House urges NEC to provide funding for ACPO at 65% of the 1994 budget for ACPO. CARRIED
House of Bishops' ACPO Report Response Group
Membership: Bishops Bays, Hiltz, Mason, Matthews and Archbishop Crawley.
1. That dioceses engaged in selecting non-stipendiary and locally raised up priests invite the regional Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination (ACPO) secretary or his/her designate to attend the diocesan screening procedure as an assessor in that process.
2. That future ACPO conferences offer the category "recommended at this time for postulancy" instead of "recommended at this time for training."
3. That at this time no ACPO procedure for the vocational diaconate be set up by the provincial or national church structures.
4. That this House of Bishops affirm the existing standard that no one be ordained to the priesthood without attaining an ACPO conference, while also acknowledging that there will be more than one expression of ACPO conference in the future.
5. That the April 1996 meeting of the House of Bishops spend significant time on the topic of "mutual ministry." We suggest assistance be sought from Bishop Tom Ray or Dirk Rinehart.
6. That this House of Bishops urges the National Executive Council (NEC) to provide funding for ACPO at not less than 65% of the 1994 ACPO budget.
(Note: The sixth recommendation was put before the House of Bishops as a motion. See House of Bishops Minutes, May 1995, pages 5-6.)
Bishop Matthews and the Reverend Alyson Barnett-Cowan reported on the January meeting of the ACPO [Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination] secretaries. At that meeting there was a sense of frustration because on the one hand, the Church makes use of ACPO, but on the other hand, dioceses use several different systems for screening potential candidates for ordination. A discussion followed. Another difficulty for the ACPO secretaries is the feeling that their requests for direction from the House of Bishops often receive no response.
Issues which were raised at the secretaries' meeting included questions such as:
- What models are we looking at ?
- Does ACPO have a role in screening out sexual abusers ? And, how can that be done ? Can that be done in one weekend ?
- Does ACPO help or hinder the process of screening candidates ?
The House of Bishops broke into provincial table groups to discuss three questions asked of them.
The groups reported back in plenary. There was some disagreement about whether the ACPO recommendations put to the House at their May 1995 meeting were dealt with and what was the final agreement. (The recommendations were attached to the minutes of that meeting as appendix i.)
1. In light of the re-structuring of General Synod, and of new realities of ministry, the House of Bishops recommends to the Council of General Synod that it establishes a consultation to examine and make recommendations to the appropriate bodies concerning:
a) The role and governance of ACPO
b) Alternate models of ministry and methods of discernment for these models
c) The appropriate lines of accountability for processes relating to all models on the diocesan, provincial and national levels
and that this consultation be representative of:
a) the House of Bishops
b) the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee
c) ACPO secretaries
d) Theological Colleges
e) those conversant with the concept of Mutual Ministry;
2. The House recommends that, in the meantime, ACPO be considered by all concerned as discernment for training for the professional model of priesthood;
3. The House requests that future ACPO conferences offer the category `Recommended at this time for postulancy' instead of `Recommended at this time for training'. CARRIED
Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan gave a brief update since the last meeting of the House of Bishops. (At the last meeting of the House, the bishops worked on a document of recommendations about the discernment of ministry, written by the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee at the request of the bishops. The proposals were to go to the Council of General Synod for its approval.) She distributed a document outlining the actions of the Council of General Synod and the recommendations which it accepted as ACPO [Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination] guidelines. The House was asked for its approval of those guidelines.
"That the document be approved by the House of Bishops." CARRIED
Bishop Tottenham as the Episcopal representative requested that the members submit to her the name of their ACPO secretary in time for the November meeting of the ACPO committee.
[Document No.] 006-18-97-11
Recommendations of the Consultation on Discernment for Ordained Ministry
A. Concerning the Role and Governance of ACPO
1. ACPO is advisory to bishops. We recommend that ACPO continue as a national process, accountable to the House of Bishops. We recommend that the budget should be set by the Council of General Synod and administered for the House of Bishops through the Primate's office.
2. There are 4 arenas of discernment: the parish, the diocese, the theological college/training institution, and ACPO. While each arena of discernment will assess a wide range of criteria and gifts, each has an area of particular responsibility. It is the primary responsibility of the parish to assess a candidate in the areas of spirituality, leadership, and Christian lifestyle. It is the primary responsibility of each diocese to assess the particular gifts of the candidate in the context of its own diocesan needs and ministries. It is the primary responsibility of the training institution/theological college to assess competency in academic and professional skills. It is the primary responsibility of ACPO to assess for the wider church on issues related to character, charisms, and call to ordered ministry.
3. ACPO's primary task is to assess for suitability for postulancy for the priesthood. ACPO can identify areas in which the candidate needs to grow.
4. It is the responsibility of the diocese and training institution/theological college to make decisions about programs of education and formation suitable both for the candidate and for the particular form of ministry for which he/she is preparing.
5. In order to facilitate clear accountability and structure, we recommend that ACPOs be established and held accountable to the House of Bishops through Provincial structures, e.g. the Metropolitan and Provincial House of Bishops. We recommend that each Province have on ACPO coordinating group, consisting of a bishop, Secretary and lay assessor. We recommend that the bishop be chosen by the Metropolitan, and that the Secretary and the lay assessor be chosen by the Provincial Council. The suggested length of term is three years, renewable once, and we recommend staggered appointments.
6. We recommend the establishment of a national ACPO coordinating group which would include the members of the co-ordinating group from each Province.
7. A pool of assessors needs to be maintained in each Province by the Secretary and the lay assessor, on nominations by the dioceses. The pool needs to be diverse, including individuals representative of and/or sensitive to the varieties of cultures present in the Province, and familiar with the diverse forms of ordered and lay ministry present and evolving within the Province.
8. Training for assessors is essential. General standards for this training need to be set by the national co-ordinating group. Detailed standards need to be developed by the Provincial co-ordinating group (bishop, Secretary, lay assessor). Training should include an exploration of the assumptions assessors are bringing to the task, developing clarity and consensus about the task, the theology of the priesthood as found in the ordinals, cultural sensitivity training, sensitivity to the particular ministries and cultures in the Province, discernment processes and skills, sexual harassment training, and confidentiality.
9. We recommend that the "Checklist of Indicators" presently in use by ACPO be revised as amended (Appendix "C"). This Checklist is to be used by ACPO assessors in their evaluation of candidates, and is commended to other arenas of discernment for their use.
10. Extraordinary care needs to be taken in the various processes of discernment for the selection and screening of postulants for the ordained ministry around the issues of power, trust, sexual harassment and abuse.
11. It is the responsibility of the national coordinating group to set standards for background checks, reference checks and psychological testing. These would normally be undertaken by dioceses. It is the responsibility of Provinces to ensure that appropriate information arising from these is communicated to the Secretary before the ACPO event.
12. The entire process needs to be communicated clearly to the candidate at every stage, including the fact that there are no guarantees that approval at any stage will lead to ordination and/or employment. Recommendations from each arena need to be clearly communicated to each of the other arenas, stating what is affirmed, what recommendations for the future are being made, and if the candidate is recommended for postulancy to the priesthood or not.
13. We recommend that, in general, the ACPO contribution occur at an early stage of the overall discernment process, although diverse individual and contextual circumstances may result in individuals attending ACPO at different stages in the process.
Supplementary with respect to the "Interim Report" and "Recommendations" of the Consultation on Discernment for Ordained Ministry: some members of FWM suggested that further consideration be given to the following matters regarding ACPO:
- "Interim Report,"[Section] D. We need to develop our theology of ordained ministry. This section seemed to some to set the Prayer Book understanding of ordination in an unjustifiably severe opposition to the understanding of the Book of Alternative Services. We think that there is more theological convergence than this approach suggests. Recommendations as to how ACPO can be used and what its criteria of judgment will be, will naturally depend on a prior theology of ministry.
- "Recommendations", [Section] A,2. We should reaffirm that it is the bishop who makes the final decision whether to ordain a candidate. ACPO, candidates committees, examining chaplains, parishes, theological colleges, and so on, all indeed contribute to the process of discernment, but we should be careful not to write as if they have final authority in any decision about ordination.
- "Recommendations, [Section] A,2. Those helping candidates in the process of discernment should talk to each other. The "Recommendations" seemed to envision that the four "arenas of discernment" had different tasks and worked independently.
- "Recommendations, [Section] A,3. ACPO should help persons in a process of vocational discernment. The report seems to envision that persons will come to ACPO with a clear sense of calling, and that ACPO's job will be to assess the call to ordained ministry. But some persons cannot claim a calling without the kind of self-examination and reflection which a different kind of ACPO process might assist. At present such persons are asked to defer ACPO for a year or two while they work out their sense of calling for themselves, and the result is that they come to ACPO as they are about to finish their studies, which reduces the usefulness of ACPO. Assessment as such should not be part of ACPO's task. Assessment is better left to something like the current system of evaluations by seminaries, field placements, internships, CPE supervisors, examining chaplains, and so on. ACPO assessors have a very limited exposure to candidates and are not in a position to assess their skills and aptitudes.
- "Recommendations," [Section] A,9. The "checklist of indicators" needs to be rethought. It needs to reflect a clearer, more generally agreed, and more theologically informed understanding of ordained ministry. It will be of limited use in discernment of vocation (as opposed to assessment of skills and aptitudes).
- "Recommendations", [Section] A,11. Psychological testing should not be part of ACPO. It might be recommended in particular cases. One problem is the potential for legal issues involving confidentiality and the civil rights of candidates. Another problem is that to choose an approach to psychological testing is to choose from among a variety of modern theories about human personality, and the Church might well be reluctant to commit itself to a particular school of modern psychological thought.
General. Recruitment is vital. ACPO cannot be expected to provide the Church with good ministers. Conversely, the problems of ministry in the Church today are not likely to be solved by a better ACPO. Bishops, parishes, and other leaders should be encouraged to identify and recruit those who may have gifts for the work of ordained ministry. Unfortunately, if the system for discernment and assessment is complex, cumbersome, and overly procedural, it may be hard to attract the best prospective candidates. The Church needs to put more energy into attracting talent, as opposed to screening out mediocrity.
The House received information that Archbishop Appleton will be able to be present at our January-February, 1978, meeting.
"That we request the Primate to write Archbishop Appleton to be present at our January-February 1978 meeting so that he might share his experience with us and possibly contribute to the devotional aspect of the meeting." CARRIED
Moved by: Archbishop Watton
Seconded by: Bishop Goodman
"That the Primate invite members of the Dialogue Group as guests during Archbishop Appleton's presentation on Dialogue with Other Faiths". CARRIED
Bishop Matthews said that earlier in the meeting of the House of Bishops during the conversation about the Bishop of New Westminster's Council of Advice, it became clear that there was a need to clarify the jurisdiction of dioceses and diocesan bishops.
"Be it resolved that this House of Bishops ask the Council of General Synod to appoint a task force to work in consultation with dioceses and ecclesiastical provinces to consider and propose a definition of the jurisdiction of dioceses and diocesan bishops and ecclesiastical provinces with respect to discipline and doctrine. The Task Force membership is to include representation from the House of Bishops, and those with appropriate legal and canonical expertise; the report to be submitted to the House of Bishops and the Council of General Synod respectively."
Moved by: Bishop Ingham
Seconded by: Bishop Hutchison
"That the motion be tabled." LOST
The motion by Bishops Matthews and Finlay was put back on the floor. CARRIED
When the House of Bishops returned in the evening to a plenary session, the writing group made up of Bishops Ferris, Howe and Johnson presented their amendment to the fourth point of Archbishop Hutchison's and Archbishop Finlay's motion.
Moved by: Bishop Howe
Seconded by: Bishop Ferris
"4. That the Task Force of the House of Bishops select a negotiator, as soon as possible, to work with the Bishop of New Westminster and the dissenting parishes to secure the appointment of an interim Episcopal Visitor within the model of the ministry of Area Bishops in other parts of the Anglican Church of Canada."
There was some discussion about the writing group's proposal. Bishop Lawrence observed that it was clear that the bishops were at an impasse.
"That the House of Bishops table the motion (by Archbishop Hutchison and Archbishop Finlay) and the writing group's proposed amendment to it until 9 a.m. the next morning." CARRIED Res. #HB-03-10-09
The next morning Archbishop Peers told the bishops, Bishop Buckle had indicated that he was unable to fulfill section one in the motion by Archbishops Hutchison and Finlay. In that section of the motion the House of Bishops requested that he refrain from exercising Episcopal ministry in the Diocese of New Westminster.
Archbishop Hutchison and Archbishop Finlay withdrew their motion. The House of Bishops consented to have it removed.
Bishop Ingham and Archbishop Crawley indicated that had the motion passed they would have complied with its second and third points (to stay disciplinary proceedings). Bishop Buckle said that the relationship between the dissenting parishes and the Bishop of New Westminster had broken down to a point of no reconciliation. He reported also, that the parishes had lost confidence in the House of Bishops and had made an appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury requesting that Bishop Buckle be appointed to give them pastoral care.
Archbishop Crawley commented that if the Archbishop of Canterbury were to say "no" to the parishes, it might encourage them to reconsider. He asked if there was some way of keeping the motion over. Archbishop Peers responded that he thought the best way to do it would be for the House to move a similar motion at the next meeting. The discussion continued and there were several expressions of concern about having the motion withdrawn. Archbishop Hutchison said he withdrew only under the understanding that a motion incapable of performance should be withdrawn. However, he said he thought it was a statement that was worthy. Some discussion continued.