Archbishop Curtis reported that he along with the Roman Catholic and Lutheran bishops in his diocese recently met with representatives form the Marie Lebrec Centre, in Edmonton. The centre is a place for people they refer to as "the voiceless" (e.g. elderly people with diseases such as Alzheimer's etc.). Archbishop Curtis and his colleagues were asked if they would declare Thursday, May 20, 1999 a "Day of Compassion". A group from the centre are designing an ecumenical liturgy to be used on that day for those interested. Archbishop Curtis expressed his feeling that since the United Nations had declared 1999 to be the Year of the Older Person it was fitting to assign a day to "the voiceless" and encouraged his colleagues to participate.
Discussion followed. Bishop Stavert inquired about the process for making the "Day of Compassion" official at the national church level. The House heard that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) had agreed at their last meeting to participate. Bishop Baycroft suggested passing on information to the members of the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) and also to the leaders of other faiths saying "We don't have a monopoly on older people."
That as part of the 1999 International Year of the Older Person, Canadian Anglicans be encouraged to observe Thursday, May 20 as a Day of Compassion for all voiceless seniors and that the dioceses give support to this observance by raising awareness of the rights of those suffering from Alzheimer's and related diseases to be cared for and loved in accordance with their inherent dignity and that this resolution be forwarded to the Council of General Synod. CARRIED #06-11-98
Bishop Valentine introduced Dr. David Skelton who is a geriatric specialist and ordained priest. He explained that Dr. Skelton and Archdeacon Ralph Baxter, out of their deep common concern for the elderly, have spearheaded the Elders in Ministry Project. Dr. Skelton thanked the Bishops for the opportunity to address the House. He provided background information on the study, noting that in geriatric medicine concern is for physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of life. He reported that, barring unforseen calamity, the world's population will double within the next thirty-five years.
Dr. Skelton explained that the purpose of the Project is to develop programs for use on the national, diocesan and local levels within the Church framework which will improve the quality of life of the elderly.
Dr. Skelton outlined the three phases of the Project as follows:
(i) to identify the needs and resources - (data is available through university computer facilities);
(ii) assessment of how older people view their needs to discover similarities and differences;
(iii) development of facilities to enable older people to become actively involved in both secular and church activities.
Using researched data, work out strategies to fill the identified gaps;
Implement programs and make them available to Church, society and government. Dr. Skelton noted that Bishop Valentine is Chairman of the Board which is centred in Winnipeg, and that there is a good representation of seniors on the Board. Dr. Skelton said that Archdeacon Ralph Baxter is fulltime Project Director, while he serves as technical adviser. Dr. Skelton urged those Bishops whose dioceses have not yet appointed a diocesan representative to convey the name of their representative to Canon Baxter as soon as possible. He noted that the United Nations has designated 1982 the Year of the Elderly, and suggested that a Senior Sunday may be set in the Fall of 1981 which would provide an opportunity for national coverage.
Dr. Skelton expressed appreciation to the Bishops for the opportunity to speak, and kindly offered to contribute the notes of his address. (Appendix D)
That this House recommend to the National Executive Council that it consider the possibility of including "Elders in Ministry" in the national program. CARRIED
Bishop Valentine kindly agreed to present this concern to the National Executive Council.
That this National Executive Council appoint Miss Gertrude Beattie and Sister Constance SSJD, as official representatives of the Anglican Church of Canada on the CIRG, until General Synod 1977, and that from time to time they report to the Program Committee. CARRIED
The first development grant to be made in Canada to a citizens' action committee by the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund of the Anglican Church of Canada has gone to an organization called: "Pensioners Concerned."
The grant of five thousand dollars was presented on June 16th by Most Rev. Howard H. Clark, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada to the founders of Pensioners Concerned, Mrs. Corabel Penfold of Toronto and Mr. Reginald Watson of Weston, Ontario.
The organization, formed in 1969, is designed to spark interest across Canada on the part of all retirees to approach the three levels of government to at least partially restore the purchasing power of the retiree's income that has been eroded by inflation.
The Federal Government is being asked to raise the exemption for retirees to three thousand for single persons and 45 hundred dollars for those retirees who are married. For those earning less than those amounts, the government will be asked to provide a form of negative income tax.
In the Provincial-Municipal field, the organization wants retirees who own their homes or are renting to be excused from the education tax. Health services for those in the three thousand and 45 hundred dollar category would be provided free.
The five thousand dollars provided by the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund will enable Mrs. Penfold and Mr. Watson to travel to various centres across Canada, beginning in September to recruit retirees into Social Action groups to make their case known to the levels of government.
"That this General Synod, recognizing the need for more positive attitudes towards the aging process and towards older adults:
1) welcomes the initiative being taken by the Program Committee to advance the spiritual, social and personal well being of the elderly;
2) urges the new Program Committee to continue to provide guidance and leadership for study and programs in this area;
3) recommends that in discerning the special gifts and needs of older people this be done where possible in co-operation with other churches and groups, and that in assigning responsibilities, older men and women be included in planning and leadership." CARRIED Act 103