Dear friends in Christ – delegates, partners, and guests,
In a few weeks we will be gathering at the University of Calgary for the 43rd Session of General Synod. So much has happened since the last General Synod in 2019 including the COVID pandemic that has delayed this General Synod by a full year. Although there is uncertainty and some anxiety about the future for the church and the world, we will gather in the assurance that God is with us and will guide our hearts and minds as we discern what is best for the church for the next two years. Our theme, ‘Let there be Greening’ invites us to imagine a church blossoming with life and new growth in every aspect of our mission and ministry.
Our gathering in 2023 will be an Assembly with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada – the second time we have gathered together to consider common concerns through our full communion partnership. Under the theme of ‘Let there be Greening’ we will consider topics that include a new full communion partnership with the Moravian Church; a renewed statement on Israel/Palestine; creation care and climate change; engaging issues of justice in our context and a celebration of over 20 years of growing into our full communion relationship. We are pleased that Bishop Elizabeth Eaton (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) and Bishop Michael Curry (The Episcopal Church USA) will be with Bishop Susan Johnson and me to share more about our growing relationship as ‘Churches Beyond Borders’.
Each church will also have separate sessions of General Synod and National Convention to consider specific issues and for decision making. We are delighted that Bishop Anthony Poggo, General Secretary of the Anglican Communion, will join us and address General Synod. We look forward to celebrating with the Sacred Circle as the emerging self-determining Indigenous Church takes steps in its establishment. The Strategic Planning Working Group has closely observed the life of the church over the past four years through intentional listening groups. The results of that process will be shared for affirmation and implementation. All of the work of the Standing and Coordinating Committees will be presented for approval including governance, liturgical revisions and offerings and social justice affirmations and commitments. Each ecclesiastical province will elect its members of the Council of General Synod to govern the church until General Synod 2025 and members of the Standing and Coordinating Committees will be elected to serve the whole Church.
We will be working hard through the days of the General Synod supported by daily prayer and worship. There will be opportunities to meet and share with Anglicans and Lutherans from across Canada over meals, breaks and evening gatherings to discover our shared commitments, our unique contexts and our unity in the body of Christ. Come ready to make new friends!
In these last weeks of preparation please take time to pray for the Assembly and General Synod that with open hearts and minds we may gather with joy as the people of God, committed to living into all we are called to do and be by our baptism.
With thanksgiving for your commitment to the gospel and the life of our church,
The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls
Archbishop & Primate