At least six major issues will highlight the 25th Session of General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada next month in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
General Synod will convene at 9:30 am, Monday, January 25th in the Sheraton-Brock Hotel, with the opening Eucharist and the opening address by the senior Metropolitan and Acting Primate, the Most Reverend William L. Wright. The Session begins January 25th and continues to February 3rd.
According to the Executive Director of Program, National Office, the Anglican Church of Canada, Canon J.C. Bothwell, some of the major issues include: the election of a new Primate, the approval of a new joint hymn book for the Anglican and United Churches, the reception of the report of the Commissioners on Union, the full reconsideration of the Anglican Church of Canada's policy regarding overseas work, a discussion on the implications of the integration of the national structure of the Anglican Church Women with the structure of the whole church, reports and policy decisions on such matters as youth work, Coalition for Development and the implementation of the Hendry Report (dealing with native peoples).
Canon Bothwell says the reason for holding the Anglican General Synod and the General Council of the United Church at the same time and place, is to make sure the two national Churches will be on the same time schedule when an eventual Plan of Union is developed. Thus they would not be faced with the problem of one church having to consider such a plan before the other. He says, "I think there is general agreement that, although we are meeting in the same city and at the same time, for the most part, the two national bodies will function separately. On the other hand, there is much to be gained from the information sharing of the delegates of both churches."
General Synod is the national parliament of the Church and decides the policy for the work of the National Office at 600 Jarvis Street in Toronto. However, the Anglican Church is a "federation" of 28 dioceses and part of the job in the implementation of General Synod policy will be to make sure that the dioceses are adequately consulted and informed.
The last General Synod met at Laurentia[n] University in Sudbury in 1969.
With the exception of a few meetings at the Sheraton-Brock Hotel with the United Church of Canada, the Anglican sessions are being held about 75 yards away at the Sheraton Foxhead Inn.
The Most Rev. W.L. Wright, Archbishop of Algoma, has been Acting Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, following the resignation of the Most Rev. H.H. Clark.
As senior Archbishop in the Church, he will preside until the election of a new Primate at the Church's General Synod in Niagara Falls next January.
Archbishop Wright, 65, celebrated his 25th anniversary as a Bishop last year. He is the third generation in direct line of clergy serving in Ontario.
From the See City of Sault Ste. Marie, he has been the Metropolitan of Ontario since 1955. The area, which corresponds roughly to the Province of Ontario geographically, is made up of seven Dioceses - Toronto, Huron, Niagara, Ottawa, Ontario, Algoma and Moosonee.
Well-known abroad, Archbishop Wright has represented the Anglican Church at world conferences. His travels have taken him to India, Sweden, the Middle East and Formosa. He is one of the few Bishops in the world to have attended three Lambeth Conferences of the Anglican communion in 1948, 1958 and 1968.
A strong advocate of Church union, he is Co-Chairman of the General Commission on Church Union talks between the Anglican and United Churches and the Church of Christ (Disciples).
He was ordained a Priest in 1927 and his first appointment was as curate in St. George the Martyr in Toronto. From 1926 to 1940 he served in a number of cities in the Province, including Christ Church Cathedral in Hamilton.
Archbishop Wright went to Sault Ste. Marie in 1940 and three years later was enthroned as the sixth Bishop of the Diocese.
He holds honorary doctorate degrees from Wycliffe College, Toronto; Huron College, London; Bishop's University in Lennoxville, Quebec; Montreal Diocesan College, Toronto's Trinity College and Laurentian University in Sudbury.
Planning for the agenda of the 25th Session of General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada at Niagara Falls, Ontario, from January 25th to February 2nd, 1971, has moved into its final phase under the direction of the General Secretary, the Venerable E.S. Light.
Archdeacon Light and his staff, are assisted in their work by two task forces of the Church's Organization Committee: the Program Task Force which plans the agenda; and the Arrangements Task Force which looks after the physical arrangements of General Synod. Each of these task forces has representatives from across the country, and the local members have met frequently over the past six months.
General Synod will convene at 9:30 am, Monday, January 25th, in the Sheraton-Brock Hotel, with the opening Eucharist and the opening address, to be given by the senior Metropolitan and Acting Primate, the Most Reverend W.L. Wright. That afternoon, the Lower House of the Synod (clergy and lay delegates) will reconvene in Christ Church, Niagara Falls, as an Electoral College to elect a new Primate. At the same time, the Upper House of Synod (the Bishops) will meet at the Church and nominate candidates from amongst their number to submit to the Electoral College. When a new Primate has been elected by a majority vote from both clerical and lay delegates, the delegates will return to the Sheraton-Foxhead Inn, where the meetings of General Synod will begin that evening. It is expected that there will be approximately 270 delegates in both Houses.
For the first time in the history of the Anglican Church of Canada, the meetings of the regular sessions of General Synod will be presided over by a woman. Her title is Deputy Prolocutor, and she will be acting in the place of the Prolocutor elected at the last General Synod, who has since been made a Bishop. The Prolocutor fulfills the same functions as the Speaker in the House of Commons, and is elected by the Lower House (clergy and lay delegates) at each General Synod. The Deputy Prolocutor is Miss Betty Graham, who has been prominent in the affairs of the Church in the Toronto area. Since 1966, Miss Graham has been the Director of Child Welfare, in the Province of Ontario Department of Social and Family Services.
The last General Synod met at Laurentian University in Sudbury, in 1969, from August 18-26. At that General Synod, a new Canon on the Primacy was passed releasing the Primate from particular diocesan responsibilities, and locating his office in Toronto. The election in January will be the first one under this Canon. Other work at the Sudbury General Synod concerned a report on Theological Education across the country, and a report on Manpower in the Church, from which came resolutions establishing a national office for Personnel Resources. The General Synod also accepted new guidelines for Inter-Communion.
Under the general theme of "change," the General Synod heard reports on the Changing World, the Changing Church and the Changing Ministry.
Perhaps the single, most significant action taken by the 1969 General Synod, was the acceptance of the Hendry Report which redirected the Church's attitude towards the Native Peoples of Canada. A report on the implementation of this report will be one of the most interesting features at the General Synod to be held at Niagara Falls.
The executives of the Anglican and United churches in Canada have recommended simultaneous meetings of their respective legislative bodies in the same city in late 1970 or early 1971.
Biennial sessions of the general synod of the Anglican Church of Canada and general council of the United Church of Canada have always met in alternate years. The new plan will synchronize the meetings of the two churches so that they may consider, within the same year, concerns that are common to both.
It is expected that a plan of union of the two churches will be prepared by 1972, after which it will come before the churches for consideration.
Proposals for uniting some divisions in the churches' national offices, as well as the national newspapers of both churches were set aside by the churches' executive bodies.
Most Rev. H.H. Clark, primate of the Anglican church, said both churches recognize that step-by-step merging is neither as easy or desirable as was first thought.
"There is frank recognition of the fact that we have reached a stage in our negotiations where certain difficulties, both theological and organizational, loom larger than they did a year ago or five years ago," he said. He said representatives of both churches recognize this and that it is not surprising.
"What is more important is a working together in ever closer involvement without organizational mergers," Archbishop Clark said.
Archbishop Clark also announced the appointment of Rt. Rev. John O. Anderson, co-adjutor bishop of Rupert's Land, as bishop ordinary to the Canadian armed forces. Bishop Anderson, who succeeds Rt. Rev. Ivor A. Norris, bishop of Brandon, who died January 28, will be responsible for all work of the Anglican Church with members of the Canadian armed forces and their families.
The primate, after consultation with the church's National Executive Council, sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau in which he said he sees no serious objection to the appointment of a Canadian envoy to the Vatican, if such an appointment would "advance the cause of Canada."
However, he said, there is some fear that the proposed appointment might impede the growing spirit of ecumenism in Canada.
"Despite this, Anglicans are open to hear the reasons why this proposal is being considered at this time," Archbishop Clark said. He said he hopes the proposal does not involve any changes in the status of the present representative of the Vatican in Ottawa.
Next month, 233 men and women will choose from 34 Bishops, the new Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. He will represent the 1,175,000 Canadians who are on Anglican Parish rolls.
The men and women who make the choice, clergy, bishops and laity, meet at the 25th General Synod, January 25th 1971, Niagara Falls, Ontario.
The primatial election is described as probably the single most important event at General Synod since the Primate's responsibilities during one of the most crucial periods in the history of the Church will be enormous and the demands on his spiritual, intellectual and physical resources will be critical.
The new Primate, succeeding Archbishop Howard H. Clark, who retired in August, will be presiding officer for General Synod and the National Executive Council. He will be the chief executive officer for the national headquarters and for the first time start his term with his office in Toronto at 600 Jarvis Street. He will be the chief pastor for the whole Canadian Church and at times he will be its spokesman and certainly he will hold heavy responsibility for initiating and developing strategy and policy.
When delegates meet in Niagara Falls and after Synod is formally constituted, they will sit as an electoral college at 2 pm, January 25th at Christ Church. The assembly then elects two people from the more than two hundred lay and clerical members to act as secretaries of the Lower House. When this is completed, the Bishops leave to meet as the Upper House of General Synod. The remainder stay as the Lower House. Here, the delegates are seated with laity on one side and clergy on the other according to dioceses. A message is then sent to the Bishops that the Lower House is ready to receive nominations.
The Bishops meanwhile have nominated from themselves three names which are sent to the Lower House, where ballotting is carried out - clergy first, laity second from each diocese.
To be elected, a candidate must have a simple majority of both lay and clerical votes.
After examination of the results, the Prolocutor or Chairman of the Lower House will announce either there has been no election or that a Primate has been elected.
If there is no election after the first ballot, the Lower House may vote a second time on the same nominees or pass a resolution asking that the Upper House submit more names. If further names are send, these are added to the original nominees and a new vote is taken.
If two ballots are held on the new list without achieving an election, the nominee with the lower number of total votes is dropped from the list. This occurs with all succeeding ballots until an election is achieved.
The Bishops then return and the Bishop is proclaimed elected as Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.
Installation of the new Primate is planned for St. Thomas' Church, St. Catharines, Ontario on Sunday, January 31st .
That during this session of General Synod both Houses shall sit together in joint sittings, except when separate sittings of the two Houses are necessary, or are requested by either House. CARRIED IN BOTH HOUSES
[Recorded as No. 8 in Acts of Synod, p. 66. List of Acts includes actions which are NOT resolutions/acts.]
The 25th Session of General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada is being held from January 25th to February 2nd, 1971, at Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Overshadowing general business, will be the election at the very beginning of Synod of a new Primate to replace Archbishop Howard H. Clark, who resigned in August of this year. A new Primate must be prepared to face one of the most onerous times in the Church's history.
Experience, flexibility, physical and mental strength, the ability to travel widely and almost constantly, a concern for the wider picture outside narrow denominationalism and nationalism, plus the greater pastoral and spiritual responsibilities that the office requires, demand a man of rare qualities.
The Primacy originated in the first General Synod of the Church of England in Canada in 1893. This meeting was quite a radical step in those days, as it signified the will of the Canadian Church to regulate its own affairs as a national entity, instead of referring everything to Canterbury. Of course, it remained heavily dependent on British support in men and money, for half a century longer.
In 1886, the Provincial Synod of Canada appointed a committee to consider the legislation necessary in the various dioceses for bringing about a confederation of the Church in British North America. The project was brought before the various Diocesan and the two Provincial Synods of Canada, and Rupert's Land, and eventually resulted in a Conference being held at Winnipeg on September 18th, 1890.
The Provincial Synod of Rupert's Land expressed its conviction of the necessity of Provincial Synods for local needs and feelings, and its opinion that any scheme, to be satisfactory for this Province, must recognize Provincial Synods in subordination to the General Synod.
As a result of the Conference of Representatives from the several Dioceses of Canada, held in Winnipeg in 1890, the First Session of the General Synod met in Toronto on Wednesday, September 13th, 1893. At this Session, the Synod was organized and the Most Rev. R. Machray, Metropolitan of Rupert's Land was elected by the Upper House as Primate of all Canada. At the same Session the title of Archbishop was given to the Metropolitan of each Province then in existence.
In the early elections one of the Metropolitans was always elected, but under the present Canon, any Bishop who is a member of the Upper House is eligible.
The Primate's functions are both pastoral and administrative. He has a pastoral relationship to the whole Canadian Church. He is charged with giving leadership in initiating and developing the policy and strategy of the Church. He is the chief Executive Officer of the National Staff.
That in the proceedings of this General Synod the Constitutional and Canonical entity known as the "Upper House" be referred to as the "House of Bishops" and the Constitutional and Canonical entity known as the "Lower House", be referred to as the "House of Delegates." CARRIED IN BOTH HOUSES
[Recorded as No. 27 in Acts of Synod, p. 67. List of Acts includes actions which are NOT resolutions/acts.]
The 25th Session of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada will be held early in 1971 in Niagara Falls, Ontario at the Sheraton-Foxhead Hotel from January 25th to February 2nd.
For the first time a hotel setting will be used rather than meeting in a university or church background. Synods are normally held in August or September. This one is early in 1971 to accommodate another first: The General Council of the United Church of Canada will be meeting at the same time in Niagara Falls. While most sessions are separate, certain joint sessions to deal with such items as the new hymnal and the report of the General Commission on Union are planned.
According to the Venerable E.S. Light, General Secretary of The Anglican Church of Canada, time is being set aside for small groups of delegates from both churches to meet together to discuss the very important issue of Church Union, although there will be no plan for union ready for presentation at that time. Occasions for joint fellowship and worship are being planned.
Meeting within the constraints of declining income, the church will revaluate its overseas and domestic mission strategy. The impetus given the anti-poverty Coalition for Development and the pro-Indian Hendry report will be considered and continuing action planned.
The Synod will begin with the election of a new Primate to succeed the Most Reverend Howard H. Clark who has been Primate since 1959.
For the first time since 1938, a new Hymn Book will be presented to Synod Delegates. This book has been prepared by a committee drawn from both churches with the intention that it may be accepted for use in both Churches.
The General Secretary says although there will be many other important issues before Synod, such as a review of the National Program of the Church and a reappraisal of its financial resources, it is probable that any decision regarding the hymn book will have the most direct impact at the congregational level.
Theological Education, manpower, generation of new funds, regionalism, youth and many other details will face the more than 260 delegates from the 28 Dioceses making up the Anglican Church of Canada.
Their decisions will vitally affect the life of the church in the decade of the Seventies.