An unofficial digest of the proceedings of the 37 th Session of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada
Friday, June 4, 2004
Bishop Duleep Chickera and his wife, Gita, described the background of colonialization and civil war in his country, Sri Lanka, and recommended that the Canadian church continue its dialogue with Indigenous people so that they can remember their past in creative ways and both victims and victimizers can be set free.
Rev. Stephen Lane, a member of the Executive Council of the Episcopalian Church of the United States of America (ECUSA), reported that his church had stabilized after the struggles of its most recent general convention over the issue of human sexuality, commended the Anglican Church of Canada for the bravery, honesty, compassion and civility of its discussions at Synod and advised it to continue the grand dialogue in order to widen the circle.
B003 St. George’s, Harriston
To transfer the parish of St. George’s Harriston from the Diocese of Niagara to the Diocese of Huron. Carried.
To ask the federal government to press the Columbian government to respect human rights. Carried.
C001 Rejection of war
To reject the use of war. Carried.
A170 Anglican-Roman Catholic relations
To draw attention to the response to The Gift of Authority, a report by the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada. Carried.
A155 Ballistic missile defence
To encourage a letter-writing campaign against the US ballistic missile defence program. Carried.
B001 Unified Book of Common Prayer
To direct the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee to create a new prayer book uniting traditional and contemporary rites. Defeated.
Response to deportation order
To support the application of Sanja Pecelj, currently in sanctuary in St. Mark’s, Halifax, to stay in Canada. Carried.
Thanks were offered to the many organizers of, and participants in, General Synod.
4. Acting Primate’s closing remarks
The Most Rev. David Crawley, Acting Primate, spoke about compromise, which he defined as a condition in which “no one is completely happy but with which most people can live.” He noted that Canada was born in compromise and that “it is also the Anglican way…. The church prides itself on being the middle way.”
He added that the middle was not a dot or a line but a space and that “we must, as a church, for the next three years work very hard to make that middle space as wide as possible.”
The Most Rev. Andrew Hutchison was installed as the 12th Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada at Christ Church Cathedral in Hamilton, Ont. During the sermon, the Most Rev. Frank Griswold, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America, reflected that “it has not been an easy time in the life of the church” but that, regardless of differing opinions on issues, “we are part of the same body” and that “only together can we form the full church.”
Archbishop Hutchison, introduced members of his family and thanked his colleagues, including those bishops who signed a statement expressing concern about General Synod’s decisions regarding the blessing of same-sex unions.
“Some people want the House of Bishops to speak with one voice and they think that that is leadership,” he said. “Not so. They led by example and showed the courage to disagree but to say let’s stay together and work it through.”
At the closing dinner that followed, Archbishop Hutchison officially prorogued the 2004 session of General Synod and quoted from a note given to him during Synod by a seven-year-old girl. It was a list headed “Primate: things to do,” he said, and contained four items: “Teach people about the Lord; Read the Bible; Learn new things; have fun being Primate.”
Archbishop Hutchison said he intended to have the note framed and hung in his office.
“It will be my mandate for the next three years,” he said.