Report Number: 003 appendix 6
Since my last report to you, the Task Force held a very productive meeting in Toronto in December 2003. Some additional electronic communication after our meeting has helped us to complete our task. I am pleased to attach to this report our proposed changes to the Canon on the Primacy. In addition, you will find a copy of the Canon as it currently stands.
At our first meeting we identified the parts of the Canon that should be tested through a questionnaire with a wider constituency. More than 50 questionnaires were returned to us; these were analyzed and then discussed at some length at our meeting in December. In the end we are proposing changes to three parts of the Canon: (3) the Term of Office, (4) the Duties of the Primate and (7) Resignation from Office.
We agreed that it is time to seek the mind of the church to test whether a term for the Office of Primate would serve our church well. There are, as you are well aware, many considerations relating to the proposal of a term. For example, a term would:
However, we also pondered whether a fixed term might:
After considering all the perceived advantages and disadvantages we settled on a term of nine years with a possibility of renewing for another three years, upon application by the Primate one year before the expiry of the term.
We believe that our proposals provide more clarity and direction to the ministry of the Primate in our church. We think that this reworking is a more accurate reflection of how the Office has evolved over time, and how we would like it to continue to evolve. Several changes in this section are proposed and you will see that we have addressed the Primate’s leadership roles in various ways.
We also reviewed the Resignation from Office section, and especially in the light of the recent experience of having a Primate resign, are proposing some revision to the way a resignation would be made. These add clarity to the process rather than substantially changing it.
Our small, but representative task force was very committed to the work we were asked to do. My colleagues gave me a fine committee to chair and together we look forward to the next steps in considering these revisions.
With the concurrence of the Council of General Synod we would like the General Synod to receive our work and have the opportunity to debate and decide on it. We would propose that each of the sections be voted on separately.
Archdeacon Pat Johnston,
Chair, Task Force on the Primacy