The event, which took place at the Convent of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine in Toronto, was the third in a series of six regional meetings being held across the Anglican Communion in advance of the next Primates’ Meeting and the Lambeth Conference in 2020 to which all the bishops of the Communion are invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The theme for 2020 is, "God’s Church for God’s World".
Anglican Archbishop and Primate Fred Hiltz was the host for this event and he wrote and he reflected on the meeting in a piece that was recently published by the Anglican Church of Canada.
"We gathered with deep concern for our family of Churches not only in our own region, but throughout our beloved Communion worldwide," Archbishop Hiltz wrote. "We acknowledged the need for renewed relationships amongst us all. We did not shy away from addressing the mistrust that has marred some of our relationships. We engaged in conversations that were very frank and very honest. We spoke of how relationships could be restored. All of us had the strong sense that the Holy Spirit was presiding in our midst, enabling us to face our divisions and to commit ourselves to continuing dialogue in the spirit of repentance and reconciliation, and to much greater collaboration one with another."Those in attendance discussed their hopes and expectations and they identified a number of concerns, "including concern for our common home, the earth itself". Archbishop Hiltz reflected on Jesus words: "This will give you an opportunity to testify" (Luke 21:13), and he invited his colleagues to consider what their own testimony "is and ought to be". He said that, "episcopal leaders in our worldwide Anglican Communion...know we face pressing global issues that bind us together and require us to speak out and to be one in facing them."
He then asked, "When we are faced with a choice to either remain silent or to speak out for justice in the name of Christ...Will we speak out too protect the children of the world? Will we stand with Indigenous peoples across the globe? Will we with the poorest of the poor? In a world where unjust political and economic policies give wealth and power to a very few and heap upon hardship on so very many, what will our testimony be? What will we say about gender-based violence, the crime of trafficking human beings for the sex trade and other forms of exploitative labour, the refugee crisis, and climate change? What will our testimony be? How will it take shape? How will it be fleshed out?"In the evening Anglican leaders came together to pray. As explained by Archbishop Hiltz, they prayed for "one another, our Churches, our beloved Communion, and our world wearied by the violence and uncertainties of this time in history". He concluded by praying for grace, "to abide in this great and wondrous truth".