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Highlights from the first day of Synod

Synod members join hands during worship. Photo by Michael Hudson

The 155th Regular Session of Synod is being held Nov. 29-30 at the International Plaza Hotel in Toronto.  Here are some of the highlights from the first day.

Archbishop delivers charge
Archbishop Colin Johnson delivered his charge to Synod. “I long for every parish in this Diocese to be missionally shaped,” he said.

13 named canons
Archbishop Johnson named the following honorary canons of St. James Cathedral:

  • Ms. Clare Burns
  • Ms. Mary-Anne Nicholls
  • Mr. Stuart Mann
  • Mr. Dave Robinson
  • The Rev. Susan Bell
  • The Rev. Dennis Dolloff
  • The Rev. David Harrison
  • The Rev. Mark Kinghan
  • The Rev. Steven Mackison
  • The Rev. Heather McCance
  • The Rev. Ted McCollum
  • The Rev. Kevin Robertson
  • Rev. The Major David Warren

Report from General Synod
Bishop Linda Nicholls gave some of the highlights from Joint Assembly, a meeting of General Synod and Lutheran Assembly on July 2-7 in Ottawa. About 600 Anglicans and Lutherans from across Canada worshipped together and enjoyed the warm, collegial friendship of Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the Primate, and Lutheran Presiding Bishop Susan Johnson. The gathering heard from the keynote speaker, Prof. Christopher Duraisingh of Episcopal Divinity School, on the challenges of mission. The gathering heard presentations leading to resolutions of resource extraction, homelessness, and peace and justice in Palestine and Israel. Bishop Nicholls also spoke about resolutions coming to the next meeting of General Synod. More information.

2011-2013 Report card
Synod received the document entitled “The Anglican Diocese of Toronto: Priorities and Plans 2011-2013—Report Card.” The document highlights the actions taken over the last two years to achieve the Diocese’s strategic priorities. Over the last two years, the Diocese has focused its work on four key areas, as outlined in the Our Faith-Our Hope campaign: strengthening local parishes; building the church for tomorrow; revitalizing our inheritance; and giving to others beyond ourselves.

Departed remembered
Synod remembered the following departed who were connected to Synod: the Rev. David Adams; the Rev. Canon Gordon Baker; the Rev. Murray Belway, Sister Joyce Bodley, SSJD; Sister Angela Blackburn, WSHS; Ms. Kathleen Violet Carter; Mrs. Evelyn Cotter; the Rev. William Craig; the Rev. Canon Frederick Cross; the Rev. Canon Jack Crouch; the Rev. Canon Robert Cuyler; the Ven. Robert Dann; Ms. Virginia Finlay; the Rev. Canon John Fralick; the Rev. Canon Timothy Grew; the Rev. Canon Stanley Hanes; Mr. John Herron; the Rev. Peter Hill; Mrs. Elizabeth Jennings; the Rev. Dr. Michael Lloyd; the Rev. Thomas Little; Ms. Donalda McTaggert; the Rev. William Manley; Sister Jean Marston, SSJD; Ms. Wilma Mills; Sister Constance Murphy, SSJD; the Rev. Bruce Mutch; the Rev. Pat Orr; Mrs. Hope Sibbald Thompson; the Rev. Canon John Speers; Mrs. Marilyn Tibbles; the Rev. Dr. Versey Wigmore; Ms. Shirley Wigmore; the Rev. Dr. Bruce Williams. Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them.

Bishop Jane Alexander at Synod. Photo by Michael Hudson

Bishop of Edmonton addresses Synod
Bishop Jane Alexander of the Diocese of Edmonton spoke to Synod about mission. Watch the video.

Synod members had 10 workshops to choose from: Your Church on Social Media, with Henrieta Paukov; Matching Mission and Context; A Monastic Sacred Footprint, with the Rev. Kim McArthur; Collaboration with Economically Marginalized People, with the Rev. David Opheim; Messy Church, with the Rev. Claire Wade; The Roots of New Hope Anglican Ministry, with the Rev. Esther Deng; Redeeming the Power of our Communities, with Murray MacAdam; Starting a New Service in a Small Church, with the Rev. Martha Tatarnic; and Spirit of Invitation, with the Rev. Mark Kinghan and Jeff Potter.

Designated ministries
Synod approved changes to the Constitution and Canon 29 that will allow Designated Ministries to have lay members of Synod, if permitted by Diocesan Council.

Top four favourites
Synod members used electronic devices to vote for members of Provincial Synod. To make sure Synod members were comfortable using the devices, JP Copeland, the technical director of Data on the Spot, asked them to name their top four favourite seasons from the following list: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, All Saints/All Souls, and Reign of Christ. Their top four favourites were Christmas, Easter, Advent and Lent.  They were also asked to choose their four favourite books of the New Testament from the following list: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts of the Apostles, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, Hebrews and Revelation. Their top four favourites were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Youngest member of Synod
The Rev. Ryan Sim of Ajax wasn’t able to attend Synod and lead a workshop because he was with his wife Kristen, who gave birth to a baby boy on the first day of Synod. Synod was delighted with the news.

Elected to Provincial Synod
The following clerical members of Synod were elected to represent the Diocese of Toronto at the Provincial Synod in 2015:

  • The Rev. Joan Cavanaugh-Clark
  • The Rev. David Giffen
  • The Rev. Canon David Harrison
  • The Rev. Canon Mark Kinghan

The following lay members of Synod were elected to represent the Diocese of Toronto at the Provincial Synod in 2015:

  • Mr. Brian Armstrong
  • Ms. Suzanne Lawson
  • Mr. Jonathan Lofft
  • Ms. Laura Walton

Missional moments
As the Diocese seeks to become shaped for mission, Synod heard from presenters on how they are taking different approaches to connect with people who are not being served by traditional forms of church. These were called “Missional Moments.” There were three presentations today. The Rev. Canon Mark Kinghan and Jeff Potter spoke on “Spirit of Invtiation;” the Rev. Ted McCollum spoke on “Plentiful Harvest;” and Bishop Linda Nicholls (standing in for the Rev. Ryan Sim) spoke on “Redeem the Commute.” Tomorrow, the Rev. Dawn Leger will speak on “Youth Ministry.”

Council of the North
Bishop Michael Hawkins, the bishop of Saskatchewan and co-chair of the Council of the North, made a presentation about the Council of the North and showed a video.