Magazine article Anglican Journal

General Synod Wants to Hear What You Think

Magazine article Anglican Journal

General Synod Wants to Hear What You Think

Article excerpt

IN LESS THAN THREE MONTHS, about 450 people from across the Canadian church will gather in Montreal for nine days at General Synod to help chart the future of the national church.

For most Anglicans, General Synod is probably as remote and benign as the UN. For some, it is either an irritant or the lifeblood of the church, the place where things like hymn books and BAS's are approved.

It is also the body through which (good things) like ecumenical relationships are fostered, mission and outreach work is co-ordinated and national policies developed for some pretty common things like marriage and clergy pensions.

For the moment, synod meets every three years. Between meeting, it governs through a group of about 30 people, one from each diocese, called the Council of General Synod. The work synod wants done, is primarily accomplished by the more than 100 staff at 600 Jarvis St. in Toronto.

So far, the May meeting in Montreal looks to be a bit of a sleeper. There are few topics on the horizon likely to grab the attention of many people. Some will require further discussion before the meeting, but for the moment, it's wide open.

In part, this is a result of the last synod where a massive restructuring of head office was approved. It also resulted in a vastly reduced governing council meeting only twice a year.

That council and its committees have barely had time to get to know one another. Now they will be getting new members. A fresh perspective is good but it raises the question whether synod needs to meet as frequently.

The bill for nine days in Montreal is going to be substantial. Is it worth it?

The total bill will be difficult to tally, since dioceses pay delegates' room and board and General Synod pays for travel and the meeting costs, but synod organizer Jamie Tomlinson says it will be in the vicinity of $750,000. Add the cost of broadcasting and other regular and extra staff (including a Journal team of four writers, photographer and editor) and the real cost heads towards seven figures. Now that's a far cry from the nearly $10 million the Americans spent on their equivalent General Convention, but what if that money were spent on supporting youth ministry at the local level in dioceses or on outreach? …

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