Bishops from across the country are preparing for the Anglican Church of Canada's General Synod.

Every three years, Anglican bishops representing every region in Canada gather to discuss the accomplishments and future growth of the Anglican church.

Over 250 delegates who are members of the Anglican Church of Canada's General Synod will attend the event this year in Niagra Falls, including lay people, youth delegates, deacons, and priests in addition to bishops from across the nation.

Bishop of Rupert's Land Geoffrey Woodcroft describes the Synod as "an authoritative body that deals with doctrine and policy and the overall health of the church in Canada." It consists of representation not only from each diocese but also from each Parish involved in the Anglican Communion in Canada.

"As we're moving in ministry and mission in the world, General Synod helps scope and sculpt the conversations that we have that better enable us to resource ministry and mission in the climate in which we live," Woodcroft says.

This can be as simple as considering the needs of an urban parish as opposed to rural parishes and how they differ with regards to issues such as isolation and cost of ministry.

"If our goal is the health and the wellness of the body of Christ, then we actually yearn to be with one another, to look forward to forward movement, to dealing with development in social climates that arec hanging, in economic climates that are rapidly changing, and in a scope of what many people think is a shrinking membership of the Church."

Woodcroft says that to take these things seriously means to look into the variation and diversity of the issues before them, something that the bishop says he finds hopeful and exciting.

"In them, we're trying to figure out where is God leading us."

The Bishop of Rupert's Land is especially looking forward to is discussion centred around dealing with the legacy of the Church's involvement in residential schools.

"We have a responsibility. It's not just to say 'sorry' and it's not just saying 'we're wrong,' even those are two incredibly important things," Woodcroft explained. "It's also about recognizing that God is working with the Indigenous people at the Anglican Church to teach the rest of us and to show us pathways that we didn't think possible."

He emphasized the strength and necessity of acknowledging an Indigenous church within the Anglican Church of Canada, one form of reconciliation and a way to listen and learn from those with a different perspective on the same issues.

"We didn't understand that we were hurting people and we need to come clean with that," says Woodcroft.

Also notable will be the selection of a new Primate to head the Anglican Church of Canada. The most senior bishop, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, is retiring, with his replacement to be chosen at the 2019 General Synod.

Five potential candidates are being considered for the position, including Jane Alexander (Bishop of Edmonton), Ron Cutler (Bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and Archbishop of the internal province of Canada), Gregory Kerr-Wilson (Bishop of Calgary and Archbishop of the internal province of Rupert’s Land), Linda Nicholls (Bishop of Huron) and Michael Oulton (Bishop of Ontario).

The candidates have been presented to the clergy, says Woodcroft, and will be voted on by the laypeople present.

"The Anglican Church of Canada is part of the Anglican Communion worldwide," Woodcroft explained, "and as such, we have figureheads of the Church who actually show the unity of the whole Church across the world."

In Canada, the primus inter pares, latin for "first among equals," is the Canadian representative tasked with holding the Anglican Church body accountable to conversations, keeping the Communion together, and defending the faith as required by the situation, said Dinn.