The highlight of Assembly/General Synod 2023 for me was threefold, two of them being intertwined—the human interactions and the three evenings we used the Lutheran’s HoldenEvening Prayer Service. This was my third General Synod, but the only one that included a joint assembly with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada(ELCIC), and the only one on a university campus. I found the joint worship with an equal number of Anglicans and Lutherans at my worship table spiritually moving and the relaxed beauty of the service calming.
There were fewer organized social events which combined with the less formal venue, seemed to lend itself to more intermingling of the delegates. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with my Niagara colleagues, but I also spent time relationship-building with Anglicans from Atlantic Canada, hearing inspiring stories of life there and work in multi-point parishes. The third highlight for me was having Adam MacNeil, a fellow member of my church, Church of the Resurrection, attend GS as Niagara’s youth delegate—he did Resurrection and Niagaraproud!
The greatest challenge, and something I found very upsetting was the fact that despite two attempts to resolve the canonical requirement for primates to retire by age 70, neither of the motions to allow a Primate to continue to work until the next General Synod following their 70th birthday passed in the House of Bishops. At the closing banquet I had an opportunity to speak for a couple minutes with the Primate and I expressed my thanks for her outstanding ministry, how unjust I felt some Bishops had been, and I wished her well.
I bring back to my parish a message of deep Christian faith and hope, the joys and challenges of multi-point parishes, the wonderful ecumenical work taking place in numerous rural areas between Anglicans and the United Church of Canada, and of the close relationships we enjoy in our full communion partnership with the ELCIC on both an individual and corporate level, and an understanding of the significant ELCIC presence on the prairies.