It was requested that the alternative motion moved by the Bishop of Nova Scotia and seconded by the Archbishop of Qu'Appelle, at the meeting of the House of Bishops in Niagara Falls, January 22-23, 1971, be tested by the Synod. The Bishop of Nova Scotia indicated that he did not wish to move the alternative motion and therefore it was introduced by the Reverend D. Crawley and seconded by the Reverend B. Barrett.
Moved by: Reverend D. Crawley
Seconded by: The Reverend B. Barrett
"That this General Synod:
1. Receive with appreciation the report of the Task Force on Christian Initiation, recognizing the evident desire in the Church for leadership and direction regarding Christian Initiation.
2. Request the Task Force to continue its studies and report to the next General Synod, giving due consideration to (a) Practical details which would be involved in the implementation of the considerable changes recommended.
- (a) Study of additional possibilities with attention to the present practice in other parts of the Anglican Communion, and in other Churches.
- (b) Possible effect on our Church of so considerable a change from our present established practice.
Request individual bishops before authorizing in any diocese experimental practice in Christian Initiation along the lines recommended by the Task Force, to give due consideration to the possible divisive effect in our Canadian Church of too wide a variety of practice, recognizing that the theology of Church membership is involved".
After some discussion, the mover and seconder agreed to delay the motion, give it further study, and re-introduce it.
Be it resolved that this General Synod urges the General Commission to reflect in the initiation rites proposals the essential unity of those rites. CARRIED IN BOTH HOUSES
[Recorded as No. 77 in Acts of Synod, p. 69. List of Acts includes actions which are NOT resolutions/acts.]
"That the following recommendations be referred to the Program Committee: that Membership, what it means and how we become part of the Church, be a topic for parish study in Lent 1976, with a study program developed in a packet (like the '10 Days for World Development' packet) including a study guide - not just a published book."
A memorial from the Diocese of Niagara was presented by Rev. Dr. R.C. Blagrave:
To the Bishops, Clergy and Laity of the Church of England in Canada in General Synod assembled.
From the Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Niagara.
Whereas there are many people in Canada claiming Membership in the Church of England who never assume any duties toward the Church and who rarely, if ever, attend her worship and are accordingly unknown to the Christian fellowship.
And Whereas as a consequence there is a wider discrepancy between the decennial census returns and the statistical returns made by the Parishes to the triennial meetings of General Synod.
And Whereas there are also many people known to the Church through her Clergy and some even enrolled on Parish lists who likewise recognize no obligation whatever to maintain the Christian cause or to unite with fellow Christians in the Church's worship.
And Whereas it is believed by many that it would give heightened value to actual Membership in the Church if some practical witness were required by the Church on the part of those claiming her Membership, and that failing such witness if some method of classification or description were adopted by the Church to distinguish such indifferent persons from those who are witnessing Members.
And Whereas it is also believed by many that such a classification or distinction would be recognized as fair and just by those who do not discharge any duty toward the Church (such as they observe to obtain in other societies).
Therefore be it resolved that the Diocese of Niagara petition the General Synod requesting that the General Synod take under advisement the whole question of the right to Membership within the Church of England in Canada with a view to defining in a practical way what obligations (if any) are really required of those who call themselves Church of England.
And in the meantime the House of Bishops be requested to address a communication through the Clergy to be given the widest publicity to all who call themselves Church of England but have placed themselves outside the worshipping fellowship calling upon them to justify their claim by bearing some measure of witness to their profession - as indeed the Christian faith has always required.
And your Memorialists will always pray.
Signed and Sealed on behalf of the Synod of Niagara. WILMOT NIAGARA
That this General Synod set up a Committee to survey the question of membership in the Church of England in Canada and to report findings to the Executive Council and in the meantime that the House of Bishops be requested to address a communication through the clergy, to be given the widest possible publicity to all who call themselves Church of England, but have placed themselves outside the worshipping fellowship, calling upon them to justify their claim by bearing some measure of witness to their profession. CARRIED in both Houses.
General Synod will consider resolutions from the Governance Working Group. "Ultimately, though, the issue of governance boils down to a simple, unsustainable paradox: the proportion of the budget that supports governance has been growing but church finances have been diminishing".
The Archbishop said discussion had centred on the report in the Convening Circular of General Synod, particularly on the procedures suggested by the Task Force on effecting union with other Churches. Voting membership was a matter given much consideration as, in many dioceses, this is decided by diocesan Canon. There was also concern for the theology underlying Church membership as defined by the Task Force.
This House of Bishops recommends to the Upper House that it informs the Task Force of the Committee on Organization that we would appreciate their favourable consideration of the withdrawal of Section 8-e of their Report, as it involves a theology of Church membership and, in our opinion, is not essential to the report at present, and is also related to the Canons of individual dioceses. CARRIED
Last month [November 2009] the Anglican Journal invited the Rev. Dr. Gary Nicolosi, Congregational Development Officer for the Diocese of British Columbia, and a former Episcopal Church rector, to address the House of Bishops meeting about declining enrollment in the Anglican Church of Canada. "Nicolosi calls Canada the second most secularized country in the Western hemisphere, next to Cuba." "[M]ore and more Canadian are saying they don't believe in God. An April 2009 Canwest and Global national survey has shown that the number of Canadians who believe in God has dropped from 84 per cent in 2000 to 71 per cent in 2009. The biggest decline is among men. Apparently, 36 per cent of Canadians under the age of 25 don't believe in God, either". "The good news in all of this is that the experience of God is the one thing that only the church can deliver, says Nicolosi. "The demographic group in Canada most open to attending church ? Traditional families with children, says Nicolosi. Why because they're socially more conservative than most. If they're going to come to church, however, we have to be able to provide excellent programs and facilities for their children and teens. That's on top of helping them make sense of their lives, of course. We've also got to get with the program when it comes to technology." Nick Brotherwood, is assistant director of the Institute of Evangelism at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, and a team leader of Fresh Expressions Canada in Montreal. He talks about engaging "with the unchurched, [to] share the experience of God, and help people define and create a worship experience that is meaningful to them".