The Anglican Church of Canada continues to reflect on the events of last week‘s General Synod, in which a vote on amending the marriage canon was reversed after a recount revealed errors in the initial tally.
The General Secretary to Synod, the Ven. Dr Michael Thompson, issued a statement yesterday.
In the process of reviewing the list of those voting at the General Synod, it has come to my attention that, in addition to myself and the chancellor, one other voting member was wrongly listed as non-voting in the spreadsheet provided to Data-on-the-Spot. The National Indigenous Anglican Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, was erroneously listed as non-voting and I only discovered this error a number of days after the end of synod. As a result of this error, none of Bishop Mark’s votes during the synod was recorded electronically.
What we did know during the synod was that Bishop MacDonald approached the head-table following the release of voting information for the motion to revise the Marriage Canon. At this time, he informed the primate that he had voted “no”.
Thompson noted that while he had personally apologized to Bishop MacDonald, his vote would not have altered the outcome of the motion.
The review of voting procedures continues, in an effort to avoid future problems.
I will seek the advice of the Chancellor of General Synod, and present a full report of all voting issues and recommendations of any possible mitigation, to the Council of General Synod at its first meeting this fall.
The integrity of voting at General Synod has come perilously close to breaking. I am grateful to all who have helped us understand where and how that integrity was put at risk. With that information, we can both correct mistakes and, for future General Synods, learn how errors can be avoided.