The man whose name most commonly springs to mind when anyone says "Anglican" in Canada, is Ted Scott. The beloved and controversial "Archbishop Ted" will step down as Primate of the Church in June, after more than fifteen years as senior Archbishop of the country's approximately one million Anglicans.
His successor will be elected and installed at the thirty-first session of the Church's General Synod to be held in Winnipeg at the University of Manitoba from June 14 to 22.
The General Synod meets every three years and is the highest parliament and policy-making body of the Canadian Church. Reports will be received on all national and international work of the Church, and future policies and plans will be discussed. One major decision to be made concerns the future Anglican involvement in the Canadian Interfaith Television Network (CIN).
There will be a fully equipped and staffed Media Centre for the use of all accredited journalists throughout the Synod, the sessions of which are all open to the media.
Detailed releases on subjects to be discussed, format and agenda will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead, but make plans now to cover this highly significant event.
The Anglican Church of Canada is breaking new ground with a set of nation-wide broadcasts designed to help Anglicans take a hard look at their future.
The church recently was forced to trim a third of its national budget due to revenue shortfalls, but decided to go ahead with a three-part broadcast series as a means of national outreach.
Lisa Barry, series producer, says you don't have to be Anglican to enjoy the programs. "Anyone who is interested in matters of faith and spirituality will find this series engaging and entertaining," she says.
Entitled "Tomorrow's Anglicans", the Anglican Video production is scheduled to air in October on VISION-TV.
Highlights include an interview with a 21st century primate who delights in leading a church without buildings and a conversation with Festus Aviolus, a crusty slave with a faith unshaken by the loss of two parents to the Roman arena.
The programs aren't all whimsy and imagination, though. They include interviews with numerous Canadian Anglicans, including church leaders, youth representatives and members of the church's 200 native congregations.
The production aims at providing a glimpse of who Canadian Anglicans are by looking at what they have been and speculating on what they might become.
In between the first and last programs, viewers will be invited to phone or fax their comments and observations for possible inclusion on subsequent segments.
The series will air on three consecutive Wednesdays -- October 12, 19 and 26 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time (or local equivalent). Each broadcast will be repeated twice, once later the same evening at 1 a.m. (10:30 p.m. Pacific Time), and again the following day at 11 a.m.
Contact Doug Tindal, Director Communications 416-924-9199 ext. 286; 905-335-8349 (residence) or Lisa Barry, Senior Producer, 416-924-9199 ext. 295.
A report provided by the Rev. W.E. Lowe regarding the Canadian Interfaith Communications Network, along with a letter which Mr. Lowe prepared for distribution to all Parishes, was discussed.
Bishop Parke-Taylor distributed copies of a memorandum which he had received from the Media Communications Committee of the Diocese of Toronto in which the Committee raised concern regarding the philosophy, content and funding of the enterprise.
That the House of Bishops request that the issues raised by the Diocese of Toronto be discussed with Inter-Church Communications and that this matter be referred to the Program Committee for consideration. CARRIED #5-2-84
During the course of the ensuing debate, members expressed arguments in support of and against ongoing support of the Canadian Interfaith Network. At the conclusion of the debate and in light of what was said the Mover and Seconder of the original motion re-worded their motion, and therefore it was
That this National Executive Council approves the expenditure of $120,000 as its membership fee from September 1, 1985 to August 31, 1986, and recommends that this issue be presented for major consideration at the General Synod, 1986. CARRIED
It was agreed that the Primate should gather representatives of the Administration and Finance Committee, the Program Committee and the Senior Staff to consider possible sources of funding.
That when the report on the Canadian Interfaith Network has been received and questions addressed to the Committee, the House move into "in camera" to discuss the report. CARRIED #5-10-84
N.B. In camera minutes NOT included in electronic database.
The Rev. W. Lowe introduced the Rev. David MacDonald, president-Elect of the Canadian Interfaith Television Network, Dr. David Nostbakken, who has special responsibility for production and animation and the Rev. Canon Ebert Hobbs who has been involved in funding and development.
Mr. Lowe said that the two to three day hearing is to be held before the C.R.T.C. in November in Hull, Quebec. He reported that data revealed in the public hearing would be reviewed, and if approved, the licence will be issued in January or February of 1985.
Mr. MacDonald said that a free, no-pay television licence has been applied for. He stressed that a key question is the situation with the Roman Catholic Church whose real problem is both size and the Anglophone/Francophone division, further complicated by the fact that the Roman Catholic Church has had no personnel for communications for the past several years. He reported that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said that they felt it would not be appropriate for them to become further involved, as a Conference of Bishops, but would encourage regional participation.
Canon Hobbs reviewed financial statements which were distributed, for information. He reported that a Feasibility Study is now being conducted by Community Charitable Counselling Service and that their report will be part of the public document which is available at the Hearing. Among the questions and concerns raised by the Bishops were the following:
- What is the potential viewing audience ?
- What are the financial implications ?
- It was recognized that neo-religious groups will be given air time as well.
Dr. Nostbakken spoke regarding the Children's Broadcasting Institute. He said that research reveals that there is a large concern on the part of parents and teachers regarding the quality of programs which reach children. He stated that television has become a way of life for children and that, by the time they have graduated from high school, they have watched on an average of 15,000 hours of television. This has a great influence on their beliefs and attitudes.
Concern was expressed regarding production costs. Mr. MacDonald expressed the opinion that the C.R.T.C. will accept the Canadian Interfaith Network application, and Mr. Lowe added that the C.R.T.C. is concerned that the coalition of religious communities stay together in this endeavour.
Archbishop Scott reminded the Bishops that there is to be a meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, 6th November regarding the Canadian Interfaith Network, and enquired as to the possibility of any of the Bishops being present at that meeting. Unfortunately, all of the Bishops indicated that other commitments made attendance at that meeting impossible.
The Primate shared a letter which had been sent to the Rev. David MacDonald from the Jesuits in which they expressed enthusiastic support and indicated that financial support would be available for the Canadian Interfaith Network. The Jesuits indicated in their letter that they would encourage other Roman Catholic groups to give their support to the project.
That the Report be adopted. Carried in both Houses.
XXXI. Report of the Committee on Radio Broadcasting
To the Most Reverend, the Primate, and Members of General Synod:
The past few months have witnessed some very important developments in thinking and planning with regard to the role of radio and television broadcasting in the total mission of the Church. Before describing these developments, it will be useful to survey quickly the present organization in this department and the work that has been done since the last General Synod.
The Committee on Radio Broadcasting is composed of a Director, appointed by the Primate together with a Committee of five -- one representative from each Ecclesiastical Province, and a Secretary-Treasurer. The Director, in consultation with his Committee, has been responsible for all Anglican broadcasts produced on the networks of the CBC. In addition he has been one of two Anglican representatives on the CBC's National Religious Advisory Council, a body called into being by the CBC which meets monthly to advise the Corporation in matters pertaining to religious broadcasting.
One innovation in our use of the time allotted to us on the CBC's "Religious Period", was the production of a series on broadcasts in January of this year entitled "For Better For Worse". The subject of the broadcasts was Christian Marriage, and the speaker whose talks were introduced by dramatic sketches, was the Very Reverend Burton Thomas, Dean of Rupert's Land. The response to these broadcasts was beyond all our greatest expectations. The talks were printed, an distributed free of charge, along with other helpful literature pertaining to Marriage. There were over 2,200 requests for these printed talks, and letters of appreciation poured in from coast to coast, and from the United States. We have had requests, and expressions of appreciation from Provincial Synods, Provincial Departments of Health, University Schools of Nursing, Y.M.C.A. Secretaries, A.Y.P.A.'s, Chi Rho's, theological colleges and several Roman Catholic groups. Two interesting sidelights: four mothers with sons in the R.C.M.P. requested the talks, as they thought they would be just the thing for their boys; and sailors requestd more copies of the talks than all other members of the armed forces combined.
We hope that this may lead to further experimentation in the use of radio and TV in forwarding the work of the Church.
Financial aid has been given in the very important and commendable work of the Sunday School by Radio, although it has been agreed by the Committee that in view of the fact that 'now this has become an essential part of the activities of the G.B.R.E., the Board is to be requested to include the amount needed to continue Sunday School by Radio in the 1956 G.B.R.E. budget'. (Minutes of meeting of February 1955). This aid has been given out of the A.A.A. funds ($25,000) allocated to the Committee in 1952, and it is felt by the Committee that the money ought properly to be spent on the development of new work in this field.
In February of this year the present Director, who assumed his duties in April of 1954, presented a Brief to the Executive Committee of Executive Council, entitled 'The Place of Radio and Televsion Broadcasting in the Church of England in Canada', in which was set forth the present situation, together with an outline of the immediate needs and problems confronting the Church in this regard. This was prompted partly by a series of recent developments towards Inter-Church co-operation in relation to broadcasting, and partly by the obvious failure of ther church to take advantage of the tremendous potential in mass communication presented by radio and television.
The Executive Committee of the Executive Council, at the February 1955 meeting, requested the Primate to appoint a special committee to study and report on this Brief. The report of the special committee, as received by the Executive Committee of the Executive Council, will be submitted following the presentation of this report, by its Chairman, to the Synod for consideration and action.
In conclusion, I cannot state too strongly my conviction that we are bound in all conscience to make the best possible use of these tremendous new media of communication which are presented to us today. On this point one of the Public Relations Newsletters quotes from an Evanston report relevantly:
- "Literature and the arts play an increasing part in the shaping of men's outlook; but we also face today the overwhelming impact of the cinema, radio and television, as well as the greater perfection of posters, newspapers and magazines. The result is that the convictions and decisions of individuals in many countries are reached under the pressure of a common mental climate which these media of mass communication tend to create. Hence the Christian Church must use these same media; for it is essential that Christianity, the questions it asks and the answers it offers should permeate the general consciousness, if the ground is to be prepare for individual decisions for Jesus Christ ..."
In his penetrating essay on Christianity and Communication which appeared in the first issue of the Canadian Journal of Theology, Professor F.W. Dillistone writes:
- "Experiments are waiting to be made, techniques are waiting to be investigated. It is altogether doubtful whether televsion is the best means of communicating certain large aspects of Christian truth and certain critical proclamations of the Christian gospel. At the same time the Christian Churches dare not let this new and most powerful medium go by default".
I submit that in order to fulfil this responsibility it is imperative that we provide for adequate directorship, so that the Anglican Chuch can make known in every possible way the most important "information" ever communicated to man.
All of which is respectfully submitted,
E.S. Bull, Director, General Synod Committee on Radio Broadcasting.
Committee: The Rev, Canon E. Rigby, Sec'y Treasurer. The Rev. Canon G. Biddle, British Columbia. The Very Rev. N.D.B. Larmonth, Rupert's Land. The Rev. Gerald Burch, Ontario. The Ven. A.F. Bate, Canada.
Review of the Anglican Video coverage of the 1992 General Synod in Toronto. High marks for technical values but notes that "it must be remembered that these shows were the creations of the Church establishment".
See also "General Synod : a delegate's account" by David Mercer on pp. 15-16.
Parts of the agenda at General Synod, such as the forum on sexual orientation, and a controversial document on human rights principles in the Church, will likely place us in the public eye. "That can leave the Anglican Church vulnerable to unintended misinterpretations by the media," Doug Tindal, Director of Communications, says.
But most Anglicans across Canada will have access to Anglican Video coverage of General Synod, thanks to nightly broadcasts on Vision Television throughout Synod. The daily half-hour programs will include news updates on key discussions and decisions of each day.
"Anglicans have a right to a close-up view of General Synod so they can get information about the issues first-hand," Mr. Tindal said, "and there are important parts of our agenda that the secular media won't cover at all." The Communications department has distributed a poster to parishes that reads, "It's Your Story. Get it from Your Network."
Viewers will be invited to share their own views on Church issues by phone or mail. Viewer responses will be included in the broadcasts.
The programs will also feature Synod event highlights and "at-the-scene" commentary by delegates, as well as stories about the Church in the north, the role of women, and mission work over the past 100 years of Synod.
Vision Television, the Canadian network supported by faith communities, including the Anglican Church, now reaches six million cable households across Canada, as well as households served by satellite dish. Owners of satellite dishes will find Vision TV on Anik E1 Transponder 8A, Channel 15.
The Synod highlights specials will run Thursday, June 18 through Friday, June 26, except for Sunday, at 9:30pm Eastern Standard Time, with regional equivalents (11:00pm in Newfoundland, 6:30pm in British Columbia, etc.). Local time and channel are available from newspaper TV listings.
For further information contact: Mr. Doug Tindal, General Synod Communications, Phone 416-924-9192, ext. 312, Fax 416-968-7983.