Thursday, September 18, 2008

What’s a Provincial Council?

I leave shortly for Quebec City, so here's the Bulletin Article for next week.

There are many Anglican parishes stretched across our country. Most of these parishes are a part of a diocese. We, for example, are a part of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Part of what makes us Anglican is this association.

Our Diocese is also a part of a larger organization called the National Church. Our friend, Archbishop Fred Hiltz happens to be the Primate (or head bishop) of the National Church. However, before we had the National Church the Anglican Diocese of Canada were collected into four groups of diocese called ecclesiastical provinces, each with its own organization. Technically, it was these provinces that formed the National Church.

The four ecclesiastical provinces in Canada are: Canada (Quebec and the Atlantic provinces); Ontario (Ontario); Rupert’s Land (the prairies and the north), and; British Columbia and the Yukon (BC and the Yukon).

Our Province meets in a Synod every three years. There are representatives from each diocese. At a Synod a council and an executive are elected. The council meets annually in years when there is not a Provincial Synod scheduled.

The principle activities of the Ecclesiastical province of Canada are to organize ACPO (the group that advises bishops about the suitability of candidates for ordination), cooperate on the training of clergy and to have a legal system for matters of dispute and discipline. For example, I believe that it was the Ecclesiastical province that over saw the vote in PEI regarding whether PEI was a part of the Diocese of Nova Scotia. It ruled that we are and we voted to remain so and that was a contributing factor in the decision at a diocese Synod to change our name to include Prince Edward Island. Provincial Synod and Council are also good places for the sharing of ideas and to debate matters of theology.

I had the honour at the Provincial Synod to be elected to the Council. That’s where I am now. We are meeting this week in Quebec City.

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