News Release: Key issues introduced at Anglican synod

St. Catharines, Ont. (May 29)

Two of the major topics that will be before the Anglican General Synod meeting here until June 4 were introduced to members yesterday.

They are a controversial package of motions dealing with the blessing of same-sex unions, and a plan, or Framework, to guide the work and mission of the Anglican Church of Canada for the next six years.

Synod members heard several speakers who gave the history of the development of the same-sex blessings motions they will be asked to vote on next week and then discussed, in small groups, the first two components of the five-part motion.

The first part of the motion would commit the church to strive for unity despite a recognition that there are “deeply held convictions” on both sides of the issue. The second part affirms that each of the church’s 30 dioceses, with the concurrence of its bishop, has the authority to bless or not bless same-sex unions.

There has not been public debate of the motions yet. Members of synod will vote on the motion on Wednesday, June 2

The Anglican General Synod is the church’s highest governing and legislative body. It is made up of lay people, deacons, priests and bishops elected from each of the church’s 30 dioceses, and meets every three years. The synod has gathered in this Southern Ontario city to conduct the church’s business for the next nine days.

The strategic plan presented Saturday to members of synod is called Serving God’s World, Strengthening the Church, and commits to church to continue the work it is presently engaged in but also adds work in the area of congregational and leadership development.

General Synod members were told that new work contained in the plan, if it is approved, would be phased in as funding for it became available.

In other business, synod members on Saturday rejected a motion that would have limited the term of office of the Anglican Primate to nine years. The Primate is an archbishop and the leader of the Anglican Church of Canada. At present he or she serves until resignation or until reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.

The previous Primate, Archbishop Michael Peers, served 18 years and retired in February. A successor will be elected on Monday.

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The General Synod web site may be found at http://gs2004.anglican.ca/

For more information, please contact Vianney (Sam) Carriere, director of Communications, or Brian Sarjeant, media relations, at the general Synod Media Room: 905-984-4868.

Mr. Carriere’s cell phone is 416 540-3653; Mr. Sarjeant’s cell phone is 613-558-5023