Resolution Number: C009
Subject: Consensus decision making
Moved By: Bishop Bruce Myers
Seconded By: Bishop Riscylla Shaw
Be it resolved that this General Synod:

Direct the Council of the General Synod to determine what would be necessary to implement a consensus model of decision making for future meetings of the General Synod, drawing on existing models currently used by other churches, as well as by the Sacred Circle, the Canadian Council of Churches, and the World Council of Churches and report to the next meeting of the General Synod.

Source: Members of General Synod

Submitted By: Bruce Myers

Does this motion contain within it any financial implications? 

If yes, has the General Synod Expenditures Committee considered the implications? 

Yes     No


Successive meetings of the General Synod have demonstrated the limitations and challenges of using parliamentary procedure as the primary means of decision making for the national expression of the Anglican Church of Canada.

This motion invites our church to set aside colonial forms of debate and settler structures of decision making and instead embrace a method of ecclesial discernment that seeks, with the leading of the Holy Spirit, to find the church’s common mind rather than simply the will of the majority.

The World Council of Churches (WCC), of which our church is a founding member, has used a consensus model of decision making for nearly 20 years. The WCC’s experience is that, “Consensus procedures allow more room for consultation, exploration, questioning and prayerful reflection, with less rigidity than formal voting procedures. By promoting collaboration rather than adversarial debate, consensus procedures help the assembly (or a commission or committee) to seek the mind of Christ together. Rather than striving to succeed in debate, participants are encouraged to submit to one another and to seek to ‘understand what the will of the Lord is’ (Eph. 5:17)” (Achieving Consensus: A Guide for Conducting Meetings, Geneva: WCC Publications, 2014).

The Canadian Council of Churches, of which our church is also a founding member, has used a form of consensus decision making since 1997. The 2008 Lambeth Conference set aside parliamentary-style debates and resolutions in favour of an Indigenous South African method of consensus-driven talking circles called indaba, a Zulu word translated as “purposeful discussion.”

Our own church’s Sacred Circle and the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples use consensus decision making, and this method was commended by members of the Council of General Synod (CoGS) as recently as last year: “Responses include praise for the consensus decision-making model of Sacred Circle, in which groups attempt to build a consensus, listen to everyone’s point of view, and arrive at a decision that all can live with, whether they agree or not” (CoGS Highlights, Friday 11 March 2022).

CoGS itself has used a form of consensus decision making for several years. It is time this form of collective discernment is extended to the deliberations of the whole of the General Synod.



In the normal course, an ordinary motion must be passed by a majority of the members of General Synod present and voting together.

Six members of General Synod may, prior to the question being put, require a vote by Orders, with a majority of each Order being necessary to pass. 

If a question passes on a Vote by Orders, any six members (two from each of three different dioceses) may immediately before the next item of business require a vote to be taken by dioceses.  A motion passes if a majority (or a tie) of dioceses vote in favour.

Source: Sections 4 and 5 of the Declaration of Principles and sections 18, 19 and 20 of the Rules of Order and Procedure.

Resolution download and history

Matthew 10:40-42


40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous, 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

John 15:12-17

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing, but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

John 21:15-19

Jesus and Peter

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Luke 11:33-36

The Light of the Body

33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bushel basket; rather, one puts it on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but if it is unhealthy, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. 36 But if your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.”

Matthew 8:1-4

Jesus Cleanses a Man

8 When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him, and there was a man with a skin disease who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing. Be made clean!” Immediately his skin disease was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”