Ms. Amy Newell, Chair of the General Synod's Implementation Team and Ms. Suzanne Lawson, Director of Financial Development at the national office spoke to the House of Bishops to give an update of the progress of the Implementation Team.
The Implementation Team group was given a mandate by General Synod in 1992 to continue until the meeting of General Synod in 1998. Ms. Newell said they were not yet at the point of making the shift from planning the work which needs to be done, to actually doing it. She and Ms. Lawson had come to the House of Bishops to enlist its help in two areas.
1. The role of the House of Bishops
2. Its (H of B) place as a "committee" in the structure of General Synod (See appendix iv for diagram) [Appendix iv NOT INCLUDED in electronic database.]
Ms. Lawson commented on the written material which had previously been distributed. It described the work completed and the work still to be done. The House of Bishops broke into table groups to discuss and respond to questions.
I. What question or issues do these papers raise for you as a member of the House of Bishops ?
II. When you look at the structural diagram, what does it say to you ? And, what does it say to the Church ?
Back in plenary the following comments were made:
- there is a distinction between the Order of Bishops and the House of Bishops
- the House of Bishops is not a governing body
- anything which indicates that the primary role of the House of Bishops is legislative, is misrepresentation
A member of the House of Bishops expressed concern that there was no episcopal representation on the Implementation Team. He said that if the work of the Implementation Team was to have an impact on bishops, then he thought it was important that they were represented on the Implementation Team.
Before the House broke into table groups to discuss questions put before them, there was some conversation about not having had enough time to read the document brought earlier by Ms. Lawson for the session on the Implementation Team.
Material proposed for discussion at a meeting of the House of Bishops be in the hands of members at least two weeks before the meeting date. Material may be accepted after this time with the consent of the House. CARRIED
Ms. Newell acknowledged that it was important for the House of Bishops to contribute to the discussions. That being the case, she requested that one or more of the members of the House of Bishops, respond to the resource materials they had received in writing. She noted that submissions needed to be received by the Implementation Team in time for its next meeting on January 16, 1997 in Victoria, BC. A comment made at that time from the floor, was that before responding to the Implementation Team, the members of House of Bishops needed to be clear about who they are first, before they decided who they relate to as a body.
Ms. Newell concluded by asking for input about how the House of Bishops would like to be attached to the implementation process in the future.
Archbishop Peers thanked Ms. Newell and Ms. Lawson for their time and for sharing some of the points which arose from (the 1992-1995) diocesan consultations with the House of Bishops. Since much of the discussion centred on the relationship of the House of Bishops to the Council of General Synod, he went on to compare that relationship with the relationship between the Anglican Primates' Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council. He said that part of the difficulty is that there is a sense that power exists.
Bishop Williams said that, in the Arctic, there are fifty-one communities, twenty-one of which do not have a permanent priest. He said that it is very expensive and time consuming to get to these communities which started out as CMS projects having Eucharistic allowance many years ago. The parishes are demanding Eucharistic ministry more and more, and they are now looking at the possibility of locally raised clergy.
That this House of Bishops requests the new Doctrine and Worship Committee to reconsider the question of the provision of regular sacramental ministry to communities where the ministry of a priest is not available except at infrequent intervals. Such consideration should include a study of the House of Bishops Guidelines of 1983 and the Form of Service produced by Doctrine and Worship for use on such occasions. CARRIED
During General Synod 1992, the House of Bishops and the National Executive Council were requested to commission a study of sexuality (specifically homosexuality and homosexual relations). The first two days of the House of Bishops were devoted to beginning their study on the topic. The session was held in camera.
The following motions were put forward.
Moved by: Bishop Brown
Seconded by: Archbishop Lackey
That the session be held in camera. CARRIED
Moved by: Bishop Lawrence
Seconded by: Bishop Baycroft
That the courtesies of the House be extended to allow the Anglican Journal to plea [sic] to stay in the House during the session on sexuality. CARRIED
Mr. Bill Glisky from the Anglican Journal spoke to the House to request that it reconsider its decision to keep the sessions on sexuality in camera. Mr. Glisky then left the room and a general discussion took place.
Moved by Bishop Genge
Seconded by Archbishop Stewart
That the study on sexuality be held in camera. CARRIED
Moved by Bishop Brown
Seconded by Bishop Asbil
That during this in camera session of the House of Bishops, the Principal Secretary to the Primate and the Executive Assistant to the Primate be present. CARRIED
seconded by Bishop Finlay
That the Director of Communications should be present for this in camera session. CARRIED
That the Bishop of Bermuda and the Bishop of Tabora be included in this in camera session. CARRIED
The Principal Secretary and Executive Assistant were asked back into the House of Bishops. Archbishop Peers invited the Director of Communications by telephone.
Discussion continued about "guests" during in camera agenda items. It was suggested that the Primate appoint an adhoc committee to review procedures for the in camera session of the House. The committee would also prepare guidelines for how the House of Bishops should make use of the services of the communications officer.