Getting involved in national ministry

Anglican Church of Canada
4 min readJun 12, 2023

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph 2:10, NIV)

Have you ever wondered how the Anglican Church of Canada is organized, or governs its work? You might be a volunteer with your parish vestry locally, or even at a deanery or archdeaconry level. Perhaps you support diocesan events and initiatives, or you are a member of your diocesan synod. These are all levels of governance within the church, and each level offers opportunities in which to serve God’s mission.

The national level of the Anglican Church of Canada is also driven by the efforts of members from each of the dioceses of the Church. Every three years¹, delegates selected by each diocese gather as the General Synod, which is the legislative and governing body of the Anglican Church of Canada. The General Synod is made up of three groups of people (referred to as “Orders”): bishops, clergy and lay. (You can find out more about the composition of the General Synod in the Handbook of the General Synod under the section “Constitution of the General Synod”.)

The next General Synod is fast approaching, and will take place during Assembly 2023 (June 27-July 2, 2023), which will see the Anglican Church of Canada gather for General Synod, alongside the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada as it holds its Special Convention. During Assembly, both churches will gather together for several joint sessions involving worship, fellowship, Bible study, presentations and other discussions. At other times, the churches will meet separately to conduct business and vote on proposed resolutions to inform the ongoing and future work of the church.

Six arms and hands raised up as if to volunteer, multiple ethnicities, set against a grey background.
Image via Shutterstock/RawPixel

At General Synod later this month, several positions will be filled (for a term of two years¹). These positions are great opportunities for Anglicans to learn more about the Church and help to guide and support its work. Additional details and nomination forms for the positions can be found on the Assembly website. Nominations are submitted online and close on F̶r̶i̶d̶a̶y̶,̶ ̶J̶u̶n̶e̶ ̶1̶6̶,̶ ̶a̶t̶ ̶4̶:̶4̶5̶p̶m̶ ̶E̶a̶s̶t̶e̶r̶n Wednesday, June 28 at 5pm Mountain Time (deadline has been extended).

Standing or Coordinating Committees of General Synod

**Click here for the nomination form**

Any member of the Anglican Church of Canada may be nominated (or self-nominate) to serve as a member of a standing or coordinating committee.

The committee positions are great opportunities for Anglicans to lend their skills and experience from a particular area of focus (or industry), to guide related ministries within the Church. The committees report regularly and make recommendations to the Council of General Synod. The term for these positions is two years¹.

Committees seeking nominations include:

  • Communications Coordinating Committee
  • Public Witness for Social and Ecological Justice Coordinating Committee
  • Faith, Worship and Ministry Coordinating Committee
  • Financial Management Committee
  • Pension Committee
  • Partners in Mission Coordinating Committee
  • Resources for Mission Coordinating Committee

The duties and responsibilities of each committee are outlined in the Handbook of the General Synod — most are noted in Appendix B.

Council of General Synod

**Click here for the nomination form**

Any member of the General Synod can be nominated for the Council of General Synod (also known as CoGS). Nominations for CoGS positions require certification from the bishop (or commissary, if applicable).

Between General Synod gatherings, the Council of General Synod represents and carries on the work of the General Synod. The next Council of General Synod term will be two years¹. Each diocese is encouraged to collectively nominate a member from each Order (bishop, clergy and lay) and may also nominate a youth member of General Synod for the youth position (16-25 years old).

CoGS typically gathers for 3-4 day meetings twice per year, in addition to carrying out tasks between meetings and being a point of connection between CoGS and their diocese. Members may also be asked to serve on coordinating or standing committees. A more detailed description of duties and responsibilities of CoGS are outlined in the Handbook of the General Synod — section 34 of the Constitution of the General Synod.

Prolocutor and Deputy Prolocutor

**Click here for the nomination form**

Any member of the General Synod may nominate a clergy or lay member of General Synod (including themselves) to serve as Prolocutor or Deputy Prolocutor.

The Prolocutor and Deputy Prolocutor positions require the largest time commitment of those mentioned in this article. The Prolocutor serves as an associate or assistant to the Primate concerning affairs of the General Synod and CoGS. By nature of their position, they are a member of all committees, councils, boards and commissions of the General Synod and CoGS. The Prolocutor also serves as chairperson of CoGS and/or General Synod at the request or in the absence of the Primate.

The Deputy Prolocutor is elected from the Order (between clergy and laity) that the Prolocutor is not a member of. At the request or in the absence of the Prolocutor, the Deputy Prolocutor performs any function assigned to the Prolocutor by the Constitution or Canons or Rules of Order and Procedure.

Again, if you want to become more involved in how the Church is governed and help to shape its ongoing and future work, or if you know of someone who has gifts to share with the wider Church, a nomination is a good place to start.

[1]: General Synod typically meets every three years, a period referred to as a triennium; however, the previous triennium was actually a quadrennium due to the COVID-19 pandemic (2019–2023). This means that the next term between General Synods will be a biennium, or two years in length (2023–2025).



Anglican Church of Canada

The Anglican Church of Canada, a partner in the worldwide Anglican Communion, has approximately 600,000 members in 2,800 parishes across Canada.