Under the skilled leadership of Primate H. H. Clark, son of a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman and onetime insurance salesman, the biennial synod of the Anglican Church of Canada met in late August in the capital of Ottawa for the second time in the church’s history.
The urgent problems of Canadian unity were clearly on the minds of both the Primate and Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson on opening day. Said Clark, “We must catch a vision of what Canada can be—a land with two founding peoples, French and English.” In like vein, Pearson urged “full recognition by all Canadians that the culture, language, and tradition of the French-speaking minority are essential—a distinctive and equal element of our national life.”
In obvious reference to French President DeGaulle’s recent sally into the Canadian political scene, he added that “all Canadians repudiate interference in our affairs by those who mistakenly believe that we are not Canadian Frenchmen, Canadian Americans, Canadian Englishmen, or Canadian something else.” Clark was even more pointed in his reference to the deep rupture DeGaulle created with his famous cry of “Vive Quebec Libre” in Montreal: “The visit of General De-Gaulle to Canada showed us that a problem we thought solved, or at least hidden under the carpet, is still with us.”
The 300 Anglican delegates from twenty-eight dioceses met at Roman Catholic St. Paul University. The synod’s upper house of bishops has veto power over the lower, composed of clerical and lay delegates elected by dioceses, but winds of change are blowing. Even the primate urged abolition of the upper house. Gordon Baker, retiring editor of the denomination’s Canadian Churchman, added his support by remarking, “Up to heaven or down to earth, ...1
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