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CANADA: Reflections on a Recent Synod

CANADA: Reflections on a Recent Synod

Abp Foley Beach (left) looks on as Bp Charlie Masters (right) passes the crozier to Bp Dan Gifford, during his installation as the new diocesan of The Anglican Network in Canada. Photo: ANiC

December 23, 2022

The Anglican Planet invited Bishop Don Harvey to reflect on the Anglican Network in Canada's 15th Annual Synod which was hosted by St. Peter & St. Paul's church in Ottawa Nov. 2-4. Bp Harvey was ANIC's first Diocesan Bishop although at that time he was known as its Moderator.

THIS WAS the first time we have gathered in-person as a Synod in almost three years, which set the tone that continued throughout the whole event as old friendships were renewed and new ones cultivated.

The numbers were impressive. For example, six out of the seven Bishops were there in person. In total there were 161 delegates and 42 observers.

At the start of the Synod the diocesan bishops past, present and future stood in the Sanctuary for the opening Eucharist and the installation of Bishop Dan Gifford. At the end of the service there were two past and one present diocesan.
Archbishop Foley Beach [the Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, of which ANiC is a diocese] was present to install Bp Dan. At one point, Bp Charlie [Masters] removed the Diocesan Cope and placed it on his successor before passing the crozier to him, acknowledging him to be our third diocesan bishop since our inception.

Prayers were offered in thanksgiving for Bp Charlie's faithful ministry before and after the establishment of the Diocese.
On Wednesday evening (the change of temporal and spiritual authority had taken place that morning) there was a banquet with approximately 200 people in attendance to pay tribute to Bp Charlie and his wife Judy. Several deeply moving tributes were paid, as well as some lighter and more amusing episodes in his episcopacy, which made for a delightful evening for all. The love and respect for this faithful servant was obvious throughout.

I could not help comparing this to that first Synod in Burlington in 2008 when we launched forth with two bishops, two priests, two deacons and two parishes. It was obvious that there has been amazing growth in just over a decade.

This was further brought home to me when I was administering the Blessed Sacrament at the opening service and realized that I now know less than ten percent of the clergy by name. While part of this reflects my aging memory, even more so it reflects the fact that the majority of those present were not even on the horizon when I stepped down as Moderator. (The term Moderator now has been retired and replaced with "diocesan.")

Part of the reason for the smooth running of this Synod was that none of the more controversial topics, such as restructuring into more than one diocese and women's ministry, came up for discussion. The intention seemed to be to rejoice in the essential matters of the faith that led to our creation, our deep fellowship with one another that survived the long Covid lockdown, and our desire to give the new diocesan a smooth start as he faces the challenges ahead.

Until the next Synod in 2023, we will be operating with just two "active" bishops: Bp Dan will remain in the west for almost another year and Bp Stephen [Leung] will continue to shepherd the Asian and Multicultural Ministries. During this period the diocesan will rely on the retired bishops to help with episcopal-pastoral ministry -- especially on a geographic basis. Bishop Charlie will continue to provide oversight (in a volunteer capacity) of Eastern Canada until Bishop Dan moves east later in 2023. At our next synod in 2023 we will elect a new Area Bishop for Western Canada.
All the synod delegates seemed to be aware that they were witnessing history as yet another chapter in our brief but colourful story came to an end and another was launched. To God be the Glory! TAP

Some facts and figures about ANiC
The Rev Canon Tom J. Carman, the Registrar for ANiC, reports:
• Total Congregations: 81
• Total Clergy (not including Bishops): 244
• Licensed Clergy (including non-stipendiary, but not General Licence): 183
• Stipendiary Clergy (full & part-time): 93
• House of Bishops: 7 (includes 5 retired Bishops who have voluntary roles and with whom the acting Bishops consult)
• Acting Bishops: 2 (Dan Gifford and Stephen Leung)
• Total ANiC Membership: About 6,100

ANiC has 6 predominantly Chinese Congregations, 1 Japanese and 1 Sudanese.
On its website, ANiC describes itself as a "three-stream" diocese consisting of congregations that are variously Anglo-Catholic, Reformed/Evangelical and Charismatic.

It also calls itself "a continent-wide family of churches which, like the majority of Anglicans worldwide, remain faithful to established Christian doctrine and Anglican practice."

ANiC is a member not only of Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) but also of the global GAFCON movement which represents about 70 of the 90 million Anglicans worldwide.

Moderator Diocesan Bishops of ANiC
Donald Harvey 2008-2014
Charles Masters 2014-2022
Daniel Gifford 2022-


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