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.
Archdeacon R. Baxter, in presenting the interim report, noted that one year has passed since Dr. David Skelton made his presentation to the House of Bishops. He reported that Phase I of the work is now completed, and the Paper presented represents a summary of the principle recommendations.
Archdeacon Baxter invited Dr. C. Schwenger to address the House. Dr. Schwenger laid particular emphasis upon health care services for the elderly.
Archdeacon Baxter indicated the intention to prepare a program for use at diocesan and parish levels, and expressed the hope that additional attention will be given in theological colleges to the whole area of care of the elderly. He reported that the Anglican Book Centre has agreed to publish a popular edition of the Report.
Archdeacon Baxter expressed appreciation to the Dioceses which have appointed diocesan representatives, and also to the dioceses which have provided financial support to the Project. He said that diocesan representatives will be called upon to be more involved now that the program phase of the Project is being entered into. He said that additional diocesan representation would be welcome and urged those dioceses which have not appointed a representative to do so.
Dr. Schwenger, in referring to the United Nations "World Assembly on Aging" which is to be held in Vienna in July, 1982, noted that the elderly population in the Third World countries is increasing, while traditional methods for care of the elderly are disappearing, creating desperate needs on the part of the elderly.
Archdeacon Baxter thanked the House for the opportunity to present the Report of the Elders and Ministry Project, and said that a full report will be sent to all diocesan representatives.
That the Executive of the Elders and Ministry Project provide appropriate material to be sent to the Bishops to assist in the observance of a "Senior Sunday" in June, 1982. CARRIED #13-2-82
That the Council for Social Service of the Church of England in Canada be requested to study the whole problem of exemption from Income Tax for all persons over seventy years of age, whose income is below the required subsistence level. CARRIED in both Houses.
That the General Synod records its appreciation of the sympathetic consideration accorded to the representatives of the Church through its Council since the General Synod of 1943 on matters of social security, and in particular welcomes the provision of Old Age Pensions for those seventy years of age and over and of the special assistance programme to those in the sixty-five to sixty-nine year bracket;
And urges at this time that further and continued study be given to the great discrepancies in health services and the uneven distribution of medical facilities among our people and respectfully requests that early steps be taken looking toward the improvement of this situation. CARRIED in both Houses.