Synod Delegates Speak

Image by: Jennifer R.


Susan Roe-Finlay

RLN: How did you first become a Synod Delegate?

SRF: At first [St. Luke’s] just needed someone to be a delegate and I thought I could do that. I’d been in my parish long enough I thought I knew enough. That was in the late 80s.

RLN: Did you talk with any former synod delegates?

SRF: I talked to the current ones before me. They said that unless it’s a year when you’re electing a Bishop, the business of the diocese is straightforward and I was interested in that. I had a long absence from church. When I came back to church, I was interested in understanding how it worked and how it all fit together.

RLN: What experiences of attending Synod have stood out the most to you?

SRF: The connectedness of it all. Even though the different are still grieving but people are more aware of what’s
going on in other places.


Susan Roe-Finlay is a retired nurse/diabetes educator who has served as Lay Reader for many years after completing Education for Ministry. She is a cradle Anglican who suffered a long period of doubt in her early adulthood and now deeply appreciates her deep/deepening faith. Serving with and in her Faith Community is a pleasure and great joy.









Ben McGillvary

RLN: How did you first become a Synod Delegate?

BM: Through St. John’s Cathedral. Dean Paul Johnson was the one who recommended me. I’m on Diocesan Council.

RLN: What made you interested in Synod?

BM: Just getting to meet people from other parts of the diocese and getting to see how they do business.

RLN: What experiences at Synod stood out to you the most?

BM: Just the business in general.

RLN: Where have you seen God at work at Synod?

BM: Through the votes and how everyone gets to vote with cards.

RLN: What advice would you have for others who are interested in being Synod Delegates?

BM: I would just say that it’s a great opportunity to get involved in the diocese.


Ben McGillvary is a Parishioner who has attended three parishes since becoming an Anglican Christian and has attended St. Stephen’s, St. Saviours, and now St. John’s Cathedral. Ben was a Lay Delegate for the Cathedral for the Diocesan Synod in 2022 and also sits on Diocesan Council as a Member.







Gary Russell

RLN: How did you become a synod delegate?

GR: I used to work as full time staff for the Manitoba Federation of Labour. So I had developed some skills in getting people to work together and bringing disparate interests together and getting people talking productively together. I felt I had developed some skills in the labour movement and I had a feeling that I wanted to bring these skills to the church. The church has got to be organized, we’ve got to get people talking to each other.

I had been elected to [diocesan] council at that time and then I started going to China every year to teach economics. So I went to a council meeting around 2000 saying “well I’m not around much so I have to resign.”

I was starting to be at the phase where I wasn’t satisfied with economics anymore. The mainstream of economic theory is rather right-wing and I wanted to see how other people live and how other people think. So when I was teaching economics in China, I started to realize I didn’t believe in Western economics.

I’ve ended up concluding largely [by writing a] textbook on Franciscan economics which you can find at

What’s wrong with economics is it lacks a moral base and a spiritual base entirely. It’s a thousand percent materialist and individualistic. I have 9 themes in that workbook and the first one I call “denial of grace.” The highest value in mainstream economics is fair trade which means I give as much as I get and the ideal is everybody is giving as much as they get.

Christ didn’t say “Give as much as you get,” Christ just said “give.”

RLN: How do you bring those values to Synod?

GR: I also went to General Synod in Calgary last summer. The Indigenous caucus there is very strong and I can work with them on more spiritual issues. I’ve also joined the Anglican Franciscan order and in reimagining economics in my mind I’ve found a lot of common ground between Franciscan economics and Indigenous economics.

RLN: What experiences at Synod have stood out to you the most?

GR: My issue with the financial management committee in General Synod is that it’s been kind of in denial about the decline of membership and decline of revenues and I was complaining that we’re doing business as usual even though it ain’t business as usual. There are churches closing all over the place. It’s starting in recent months to pick up on that and rethink our structures and restructure our thinking. Of course it’s only natural to be in denial at first.

There are Anglican organizations that are still saying, “We need to draw people back into the church.” Quite contrary to that I’m saying, “Go out into the community, like Acts of the Apostles, and you’ll find there are a lot of people who are doing God’s work and don’t even know it.” Don’t try and drag them into the church, but work together on finding the spirit in all kinds of things that can be done.

I’m very encouraged that people are starting to think this way on council.

RLN: What advice would you give to people who are interested in being nominated for Synod?

GR: There’s often competition. You kind of have to be seen as having a mission that relates to that. You can’t just step up and say, “I want to be a delegate” because there may be other people who are more involved than you are.

RLN: How can Synod help create a bigger sense of community for people in the diocese?

GR: Synod is a legislative body but it’s also a community. Sometimes I go to it more for the community than for the actual work and I think building bonds between people is just as important as the legislation you’re doing.


Since joining our church 30 years ago, Gary has been active at every level. After retiring, he also joined the Anglican Franciscan Order. He has decided to devote these senior years to serving his church — from Parish to Synod to Council. — hoping to apply the skills he has learned over the years to keeping the church well managed.



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