"The thoughtful letter from the Rev. Brian Pearson ('Diocesan bishops create islands of polite dissent', March 2019, p. 5) raises another nagging concern within the Anglican Church in Canada that is long overdue for action. Our rules, procedures and governance were designed to function well in the social environment of the day when the church was expanding over a huge and sometimes unknown territory and where communication was primitive by modern standards. The bishop was rightly a central authority for his region. Not so today. Our problem is not new; as a church we have not kept up with the times and operate under an outdated set of canons. Currently, the average Anglican is better educated, well-informed and is usually mobile, moving to several parishes over a lifetime. The 'authority' of a bishop today is open to challenge, and he or she can be the cause of dissent and sometimes justified criticism. Unlike any successful organization that can change its leadership, we have no mechanism for replacing an underperforming or divisive bishop -- at some cost to the church in several ways. My hope is that as a church we can make some overdue changes in our governance to bring us into the 21st century, with some sense of urgency, before it is too late. We have too much to lose if we lack the resolve to act". [Text of complete article.]
"Five bishops were nominated to stand for election as the 14th primate of the Anglican Church of Canada at the national House of Bishops meeting March 27 . The nominees are: Bishop of the diocese of Edmonton Jane Alexander; Archbishop Ron Cutler, bishops of the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Canada; Archbishop Gregory Kerr-Wilson, bishop of the diocese of Calgary and metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Rupert's Land; Bishop of the diocese of Huron Linda Nicholls; and Bishop of the diocese of Ontario Michael Oulton. The primatial election will be held during the meeting of General Synod in July . Archbishop Hiltz will resign as primate July 16 ". [Text of entire article.]
"The independence of the diocesan bishop is enshrined in our constitution and safeguarded in every decision made by our General Synod. But this means that, whatever inspiration moves General Synod to act in one way or another, discerning the movement of God's spirit in the unfolding events of the day, diocesan bishops can, and do, opt out, creating islands of polite dissent within the wider national context. Surely, in this modern democratic age, dioceses are not fiefdoms and bishops are not feudal lords. They are servant leaders of a church that is moving to embrace diversity and inclusion. The problem is not the issues we face. The problem is bishops who are not compelled to face them".
"It was reported in the June 2018 issues ('Bishops discuss concerns over marriage canon', p. 1) that 'a resolution to change the marriage canon to allow for same-sex marriages may be amended to include protections for Anglicans who have a traditional view of marriage'. A great deal of time and effort have been spent ensuring that we protect clergy and parishes who may choose not to perform same-sex marriages in any diocese that chooses to allow them. There appears to be no thought given to allowing clergy or parishes to perform same-sex marriages in aa diocese that chooses to maintain the 'traditional view'. Clergy serve at the discretion of their bishop. It is essential that, for parishes wishing to move ahead with same-sex marriage, we also include protections for clergy who could fear reprimand or dismissal. It must be made clear that they also will be welcome and safe". [Text of entire article.]
"A resolution to change the marriage canon to allow for same-sex marriages may itself be amended to include protections for Anglicans who have a traditional view of marriage, said Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. 'There is a possibility' that the resolution, which passed its first reading at General Synod in 2016, may be amended when it is presented for a second and final reading in 2019, Hiltz said in an interview April 19" (p. 1). "Larry Robertson, bishop of the diocese of Yukon, said he and some other bishops expressed concern that if the resolution passes its second reading, those who define marriage as between a man and a woman may lose their status within the Anglican Church of Canada. 'They fear, he said, they'll be told: "You are not in communion with the church; you are out of sync with the doctrine of our church'" (p. 12). "John Watton, bishop of the diocese of Central Newfoundland, said he felt confident, judging by the response of the other bishops, that there would eventually be some provision for addressing the concerns expressed by Robertson. .... 'A number of us bishops -- I'm not sure how many -- have said that if the marriage canon passes second reading, we'll have our own discernment process, and we will decide as a diocese whether or not we will allow it', Watton said" (p. 12).
"As the halfway point between the last and the next General Synod approaches, issues around same-sex marriage continue to be a significant cause of concern among the church's bishops, says Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada". "Hiltz made the comments during an interview about the meeting October 23-27  of the House of Bishops in Niagara Falls, Ont. A number of bishops expressed concerns, he said, about how same-sex conversations at the next  General Synod could take place 'in a way that doesn't leave people feeling marginalized, isolated, pushed out -- on either side'." The meeting also included "a presentation by Archbishop Suheil Dawani, primate of the Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, with whom the Anglican Church of Canada and several Canadian dioceses have ties. Dawani talked about the ministries of the diocese of Jerusalem, Hiltz said, and the need for the church there to be a 'moderating and mediating influence' amid the strife that besets the Holy Land". Ian Douglas, Episcopal Bishop of Connecticut, also attended and addressed the meeting.
The Primate reflects that 3 June 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of his ordination as a deacon". "Since my own consecration as bishop on January 18, 1995, there have been 69 men and women ordained as bishops of our church; 31 of them within the last 10 years. As I look around the national House of Bishops, I am very aware that within the next three to five years, there will be a massive change in the face of episcopal ministry across our church". "To know I will be remembered as the 'sometime' bishop keeps me humble. It also gives me cause to rejoice that the Spirit will indeed call others into this same ministry of shepherding the People of God and leading the church in its commitment to God's mission. That Spirit, as New Testament scholar Raymond Brown puts it, is 'a Once-and-Coming Spirit' -- coming in every age to renew and refresh the ministry of the church, to grace and guide us for our work in the world".
"In a written response to a statement issue by eight Canadian bishops expressing their dissent from General Synod's decision to move toward solemnizing same-sex marriages, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, pushed back against several of the points they had raised". "'The question you ask is really a question for all members of the church. To what extent can we and will we make room for one another ? To what extent will we pastorally accommodate one another ' Hiltz said in his letter". "Hiltz said that the motion, which was declared to have failed before being reversed the next day due to an error, was 'difficult', but it had allowed many synod members to 'experience the pain of another whose view on this matter is very different' in a 'very powerful way'." "The dissenting bishops' statement was released July 15  by then Bishop Stephen Andrews (Algoma); Bishop David Parsons (Arctic); Suffragan Bishop Darren McCartney (Arctic); Bishop Larry Robertson (Yukon); Bishop Fraser Lawton (Athabasca); and Bishop Michael Hawkins (Saskatchewan). Bishop David Edwards, of the diocese of Fredericton, was not an original signatory, but he added his name to the statement later".
"After eight years in the role, Bishop Robert Bennett, of the diocese of Huron, will retire Nov. 1, 2016. Bennett, who became diocesan bishop in 2008 after serving as suffragan (assistant) bishop of the diocese for six years, announced his retirement last spring. Succeeding him will be Bishop Linda Nicholls, who was elected coadjutor bishop of the diocese February 13 . Bennett said one of the great privileges he enjoyed as bishop was the chance to witness first-hand the ministry being done in parishes across the diocese". "Among the most troubling things he witnessed as bishop, Bennett said, was the divisiveness caused by the issue of human sexuality. 'I think it's taken a great toll both within congregations and the House of Bishops', he said".