Sunday, November 17, 2013

Highlights from the Council of General Synod: General Secretary's Report and the Primate's Reflections (Nov 16)

The Ven. Dr. Michael Thompson, General Secretary, presented his report.

Mr. Thompson emphasized early on that the national church's work is made possible by the generosity of parishes and dioceses. It's "...the incredible gift of sacrificial giving that makes it possible to do the work of General Synod."

Canada is diverse and it takes effort to remain united and loving towards each other, but as a church we are held together by prayer and grace. "We depend on God for our communion, and we offer ourselves to God in that communion to be a witness to the world." Our unity is not defined by sameness or agreement, but rather "the generous and unstoppable love of God which holds us in communion."

Mr. Thompson then enumerated the roles of COGS associates in committee meetings with four Ls: to Listen to the church and to COGS; to find the Links between what they hear in the committee, what they hear in the church and what they hear in COGS; to Learn the priorities and values which drive the work of COGS and the committees; to Loop together the life of the committees and the life of COGS, making sure to bring issues from committees to COGS. The ultimate goal is to weave committees into the life and consciousness of COGS.

Mr. Thompson ended his report by giving thanks for the privilege of serving.  

Primate's Reflections

The Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, offered news of his ministry and his reflections thereon.

The Primate shared the life-giving nature of parish and diocesan visits and noted the importance of that part of his ministry. "It's about relationships, connection, and belonging-seeing the church at the local level, seeing people living out the Marks of Mission faithfully in local context. I could not imagine this ministry without that opportunity every week."

The Primate then spoke about his sabbatical time. He thoroughly enjoyed the change of pace, and spent much time digging into the history of the church via his reading, particularly through presidential addresses of past Primates-their themes revealing much about the church, particularly a consistent commitment to ecumenism-and a biography of past Primate Howard Clark.

The Primate also spoke about a discussion he had with Archbishop Michael Peers on Archbishop Peers' memoirs, to take shape with editing by Bishop Michael Ingham and input from major figures in Peers' ministry.

Archbishop Hiltz told COGS that upon his return from sabbatical he went directly to a meeting of the House of Bishops (House and Spouse) and felt immediately reconnected. Notable was the bishops' joy at the creation of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikweesh.

The Primate requested for prayer for the Diocese of the Arctic for the financial crisis facing the cathedral and for the many parishes without clergy.

After a brief break to pray for the episcopal election happening at that moment in St. John's, Nfld. for Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, the Primate noted more episcopal elections were approaching rapidly and called the House of Bishops "an ever-changing community."

The Primate called for a retreat for the House of Bishops. House meetings are very busy, and bishops arrive already tired from their work at home. One frustration is that meeting agendas are so busy that conversations can't "go deep" and follow through on important issues. This retreat is intended to be a time of deep reflection on the nature of the bishops' vocation, prayer, and building a sense of community within the house.

The Primate went on to speak on commitments made at Joint Assembly, and the need to continue to act on those commitments in partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)

Remarking on this meeting of COGS, the Primate said that COGS associates liaising between COGS and committees are a sign of working together in partnership. The Primate also called the clarity of the 2014 budget a great sign of the commitment and hard work of General Synod ministry directors, and thanked the treasurer and management team for "an incredible piece of work."

Reflecting next on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Primate spoke of his debt of gratitude to Henriette Thompson, Nancy Hurn, Esther Wesley, and Terry Finlay for their work. Anglican presence at TRC events across the country has been strong. The Primate thanked staff, bishops, and Anglicans on the ground for their support for TRC events. The Primate was pleased to see that the mandate of the TRC had been extended to 2015.

The Primate spoke of his strong commitment to the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund and their food security campaign "Fred Says." The Primate will be giving as much time as possible for travel and speaking to promote the campaign. Archbishop Hiltz also spoke of giving more time to the Anglican Foundation, promoting their work through speaking engagements.

On the Companions of the Diocese of Jerusalem, the Primate said he was pleased with this new ministry of our church. He would like to see the Companions grow, and challenged all bishops of the ACC to become Companions.

The Primate gave a recap of his attendance (along with Principal Secretary Paul Feheley and PWRDF's executive director Adele Finney) at the installation of the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Archbishop Hiltz told those assembled that Archbishop Welby will be visiting all Primates before gathering them together, and will be visiting Canada in early April 2014.

In conclusion, the Primate expressed his gratitude for the chance to serve the Anglican Church of Canada.

After the Primate finished his reflections, it was announced that The Venerable Dr. Geoffrey Peddle had been elected Bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador.

Source: Anglican Church of Canada

Related Article
Highlights from the Council of General Synod: General Secretary's Report and the Primate's Reflections (Nov 16)

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