Joint Assembly 2019 Postponed

On Thursday, February 2, 2017, the communications department of the Anglican Church of Canada posted online and distributed through social media the following message from National Lutheran Bishop Susan Johnson and Primate Fred Hiltz.

To Members of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

As you may know, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Church Council (NCC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) Council of General Synod (CoGS) passed resolutions in support of a Joint Assembly of our two governing bodies—the ELCIC National Convention and the ACC General Synod—in 2019. Building on our 2013 Joint Assembly, we have been looking forward to another opportunity to be together as two churches living out our Full Communion relationship. 

Our staff teams have been working hard to realize this intention. Early on, a decision was made to plan the Joint Assembly in Vancouver, and at its 2016 General Synod, the Anglican Church of Canada announced the Diocese of New Westminster as the host of General Synod 2019.

One of the realizations that has come to light is the challenge around aligning our two gatherings in a way that feels meaningful and in the best spirit of Full Communion. Part of this is simply the mass of work before our two national bodies in the governance of each of our churches. There are also logistical concerns—finding venues that work for both our churches simultaneously has proven to be a real challenge. And then attention must be made towards ensuring that all of this works within the financial constraints of the ELCIC and the time restraints of the ACC.

The prospect of a Joint Assembly where we are each hurrying through agenda and scrambling on and off buses to commute to one another’s venue in order to accommodate time together was not a prospect that we welcomed. We are both very mindful of the need of both our churches to have adequate time to do the work they must do. Both of us would also want the maximum amount of time together in Joint Assembly.

In light of this, we proposed to NCC and CoGs that Joint Assembly be rescheduled for 2022, in a venue that will accommodate the national bodies of both our groups together, as well as providing separate meeting places for the work unique to each of our churches and that planning for such a gathering begin immediately. Both bodies affirmed this proposal by a majority of their members in a ballot conducted by email.

We believe a Joint Assembly in 2022 will be a really fine celebration marking more than twenty years of Full Communion. In the meantime, we continue to give thanks to God for all who are at work in hundreds of places across our two churches to realize the Full Communion relationship that has been written so deeply on our hearts.”

There had been reports that the cost of a national convention in Vancouver would likely be difficult for the ELCiC to afford and as many of us know the ACoC will be discussing the second reading of the Marriage Canon among many other important issues.

Although still very much in the planning stages of General Synod 2019 early indications are that the meetings and worship events will take place in downtown Vancouver.