“I have called you by name” has been chosen as the theme for General Synod 2019.
Peter Wall, dean of the diocese of Niagara and chair of the General Synod planning committee, announced the committee was proposing the theme—a phrase, like the theme of General Synod 2016 (“You are my witnesses”), taken from the Book of Isaiah—in a presentation to Council of General Synod (CoGS) Sunday, June 3. CoGS voted to adopt the theme after Wall’s presentation.
Asked how the committee had come up with this theme, Wall replied, “We realized that we’re being called into something new—a different primate, perhaps a new kind of reality of what our church is in the years to come.”
The church, he added, is “very aware of names…and a new way of naming things in the church,” citing as an example the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh, an Indigenous ministry area created in 2014.
The committee was also mindful, Wall continued, of a sense the church was “being called in a world which sometimes doesn’t seem like a place that is very friendly to us—sometimes we’re dealing with a lot of turbulence and a lot of stress and a lot of conflict, and that we need to remind ourselves that God has indeed called each one of us, and that we’re called into something new, and something exciting.”
In the passage—Isaiah 43:1–2—from which the phrase is taken, God reassures his people that he will be with them, and that they will emerge unscathed, through a time of trial. (“I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”)
The 42nd session of General Synod will be held July 10-16, 2019, in Vancouver. Items on the agenda will include a vote to amend the marriage canon to allow for same-sex marriages, a possible resolution on a self-determining Indigenous Anglican church within the Anglican Church of Canada and the election of a primate to succeed Archbishop Fred Hiltz, who has announced his intention to resign on the synod’s final day. Another important item, Wall said, will be the church’s response to human trafficking and modern-day slavery.
Wall also announced the committee was recommending that voting by electronic “clickers” be used only for the elections to be held at the synod.
“We are recommending…that electronic voting be used at this General Synod only for elections—for the election of the prolocutor, the deputy prolocutor and the primate—and that other balloting, when required, would be done on paper or in some other form, in a way that guarantees and warrants some kind of anonymity,” he told CoGS.
The committee will present more information about this recommendation to CoGS when it meets again in November, Wall said.
Given that the vast majority of General Synod members are likely to bring their own digital devices, Wall said, the committee also decided that, unlike at General Synod 2016, members would not automatically be issued with tablets for accessing the app on which they’ll find the convening circular and other documents relative to the meeting. Anyone without such a device would be issued with one, however, he said.