Perspectives from General Synod 2019 - by Liz Macdonald.

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Although not an elected member of this years General Synod held in Vancouver , I was privileged to be able to attend some of the sessions as an observer.

As PWRDF Representative for All Saints, I volunteered to man our display table on the second floor of the Sheraton Wall Centre where the Synod was being held. This was a good location, as after sessions people would congregate there for coffee, lunch and general conversation. It also provided an opportunity to browse the display tables, of which there were many displaying information, sales items and free promotions.

A fund raising promotion for PWRDF were the colourful ‘logo’ socks for sale which proved to be a popular choice for many, with much laughter, and a designated ‘sock day’ when we could sport (no pun intended) our unique footwear! People were also invited to colour a large poster depicting one of PWRDF’s many projects, and to pick up pamphlets, free trade chocolate, stickers, colouring books and crayons, magnets and the new logo pin. It was a delightful opportunity to meet and greet delegates from across Canada and to promote the work of PWRDF which is so generously supported by the National Church.

The main session which I was able to attend was for the amendment of Canon 22. Briefly, the proposal was to allow the National Indigenous Ministry to make changes to matters specified by the Canon without having to consult with General Synod, and to confer the title of Archbishop upon the Indigenous Bishop, Mark MacDonald, enabling him to become a voting member of Council of General Synod. The proposal would also enact a change in Canon 3 to specify “ the Primate is always an invited guest at the Sacred Circle, and has a voice but no vote”.

After some brief discussion for clarification the vote was taken, and the delegates agreed almost unanimously with the motion. The hall erupted into loud and prolonged applause at the result, and the Primate, Fred Hiltz, was then able to confer the title of Archbishop upon Mark MacDonald. It was obvious to all that this was both a historic and very moving conclusion to an important recognition of Indigenous people and their ongoing contribution to the work of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Archbishop MacDonald was gifted with a Pectoral cross that was specifically made to represent the Indigenous communities in Canada, and included the attachment of an eagle feather to the cross. Both the Primate and the Archbishop were visibly moved as they embraced each other. A triumphant moment for the Church, an outgoing Primate and a newly appointed Archbishop.

This is a moment that will stay with me always, a real sign of the ongoing restoration and reconcilliation with our Indigenous peoples which I pray will continue to grow in love and friendship as our new Primate, Linda Nicholls leads us into a new and growing commitment to love and serve our God.

Submitted by Liz Macdonald