The Primate read the following telegram to the House of Bishops from Canon Shafik Farah of Toronto:
"I pray you take a stand and speak out for peace with justice regarding the Palestinian/Israeli situation and for an end to the ongoing massacres in the occupied territories on the Gaza strip. How many more should die? And for how long should we wait ?"
That this House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada deeply regrets the acts of violence in the occupied territories of the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. The Bishops endorse the proposal by the Anglican Consultative Council for an international conference for peace in which all parties affected would be present.
The Bishops call on the Government of Canada and all peace-loving citizens to promote and support such a proposal." CARRIED
Archbishop Seaborn informed the House that ten Chaplains have left the Service in the past year, either by retirement or voluntary release, and that fourteen new Chaplains have joined the complement. He said that a larger number of Chaplains will be needed in the years ahead as the Armed Forces is growing in size, and added that he is preparing a statistical report which will go shortly to the Administration and Finance Committee.
Archbishop Seaborn said that the six years which he had been privileged to serve as Bishop Ordinary to the Forces have been a stimulating and interesting experience and expressed appreciation for the opportunity of serving in that Office.
That this House express its deep appreciation to Archbishop Seaborn for his distinguished service as Bishop Ordinary to the Forces and sends our assurance of best wishes to Archbishop and Mrs. Seaborn. CARRIED #2-6-86
Archbishop Scott said that Bishop Jamie Clarke would take up his duties as Bishop Ordinary on 1st July, 1986, and expressed his appreciation to Bishop Clarke for his willingness to take on this work.
**N.B. In Resolution #1-11-86 from the November 1986 House of Bishops Minutes Bishop Clarke "noted that he took up his duties as Bishop Ordinary to the Forces on September 1st, 1986". The resolution corrected the Minutes of June 1986.
Concern was expressed that in the past bishops have retired without appropriate recognition and "goodbye" from the House.
That the Primate be requested to write, on behalf of the House, expressing appreciation and best wishes to those who have retired since the November, 1991, meeting of the House. CARRIED
The Secretary reported the receipt of a letter from Bishop Snowden and Bishop Berry expressing the hope that it might be possible to devise a system of informing retired bishops of changes in the membership of the House of Bishops.
The Primate explained that messages are sent to all diocesan offices by fax as soon as information becomes available to his office. It was agreed that a statement should be included in all faxed messages requesting diocesan offices to convey the information to all bishops in the dioceses. It was agreed that an up-to-date list of diocesan fax numbers should be compiled and distributed to members of the House.
That the Pastoral be considered and edited as necessary. CARRIED
It was agreed that the Reverend Don Brown should be requested to prepare a list of all Members of Parliament and distribute copies of the list to all the Bishops.
That we accept this Pastoral on Capital Punishment. CARRIED
PASTORAL : TO THE PEOPLE OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF CANADA AND THE CITIZENS OF CANADA
The violence that marks our society is a cause of great concern, for violence often begets violence. There is a streak in human nature which out of greed, or in order to attain revenge, or to cover inadequacies, hits out violently. Inequities in society at large also lead to actions arising from frustration and anger. Such violence strikes at the very heart of society. People cannot live together unless this tendency is controlled.
Society has developed mechanisms to keep violence under control. Law and order are necessary if citizens are to live in safety and be free to come and go. Our police forces and justice system are designed to curb destructive forces and to make Canada a safe place to live.
Violence has brought great strains to our police and judicial system. Criminal acts have led to police being more heavily armed. Society is shocked by the murder of police in the course of duty. Prisons are over crowded and prison guards have a thankless and dangerous job.
It does not surprise us that there has been a renewed call for the re-institution of the death penalty for murder. We understand the feelings that have led to this and have sympathy with those who have been deeply hurt by criminal activity. However, we cannot be content with an answer that responds to violence with even more violence. An answer which destroys human life cannot enhance the respect for, and quality of, life in our society. On the contrary, an important Christian conviction is that anything that increases a general recognition within society of the infinite worth of the person will be a powerful agent in the ultimate protection of that society.
We believe in the sacredness of human life. Life is God's gift and the Bible teaches us that men and women are made in the image of God. The distortion of that image that is reflected in a person committing a murder does not make that person any less important in God's eyes. In all of us there is some distortion of the image, but the Lord died for all of us.
We urge our people and members of Parliament that they consider seriously the implications of re-introducing the death penalty and not give in to a hasty response to recent violence. These implications include such things as:
- the impossibility of reversing execution where there has been a miscarriage of justice;
- despite the common assumption that the death penalty functions as a deterrent, Canadian experience has shown that there has been no increase in the murder rate following the abolition of capital punishment, and
- a belief that the murderer is beyond being changed by God's grace to be a creative member of society.
We are convinced that it is in the best interests of Canadian society as a whole that Capital Punishment not be re-introduced, but that as Christians we need to seek alternatives that recognize the infinite worth of the individual person before God.
Reform of our correctional systems needs to become a priority of our Government. The parole system needs continuing review so that no one who continues to be a danger is released into society. Experiments which are taking place for renewal of penal institutions and programmes should be encouraged and extended.
We must give support to police forces and prison guards by providing sufficient personnel and adequate training. If society does not give the necessary support to our police and staff of correctional institutions we put them under almost overwhelming stress and this in turn may contribute to citizens feeling the need to take the law into their own hands. This could only lead to an increase in the spiral of violence.
We encourage members of our parishes to be supportive to the victims of crime and their families. Feelings of fear and anger can become destructive and will only be healed by others reaching out lovingly. The Christian community also needs to be a support to families of guards who often have to cope with the pressures involved in this work.
Prison chaplains have a difficult role and need the support and prayers of the wider church. The chaplain has the task of sharing by word, and by friendship, the news of a God who in love both forgives us and calls us to live the new life.
For all of us that new standard includes a personal struggle against violence. Societal controls on violence are not enough. Each one of us is called to reflect the image of God, a God of love who cares infinitely for every person.
THE ARCHBISHOPS AND BISHOPS OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF CANADA
A report on the Consultation which was held between representatives of the Church Army and representatives of the Anglican Church of Canada was distributed and Bishop Payne added comments as a participant in the Consultation.
Grave concern was expressed regarding the remuneration level as, often, salaries are below the poverty level, and Church Army spokesmen have indicated that they do not wish Dioceses to raise the salary levels. Discrimination between male and female Church Army Officers was recognized. The morale of Church Army personnel is at a low ebb and ways of improving the situation were discussed.
It was agreed that consultations should be held with Church Army representatives once a year or every two years.
In discussing the training of Church Army personnel, it was recognized that it is evangelicaly oriented and the suggestions was made that, at this time, the training methods are not equipping the officers for the work they will be called upon to do in the Church. It was requested that a report be prepared and distributed to the Bishops regarding `leave of absence'.
Clarification regarding the 'Court of Appeal' was requested. It was agreed that it would be appropriate to have an Episcopal Visitor to the Church Army and that the Visitor should be involved in the 'Court of Appeal'.
Moved by: Bishop Hannen
Seconded by: Bishop Conlin
That this House of Bishops submit three names to the Church Army for choice as Episcopal Visitor.
That the Motion be tabled until the Bishops who are currently part of the Consultation with the Church Army, Bishops Payne and Hunt, along with the General Secretary, continue to deal with issues pertaining to the role of the Episcopal Visitor. CARRIED #10-10-84
Bishop Pryce commented on the working paper prepared by the Confirmation Task Force, composed of representatives from the Children's Unit, the Youth Unit, the Doctrine and Worship Committee, the House of Bishops, and national staff.
Bishop Pryce stressed that this is a working paper and not a report. He said that the Program Committee asked the Children's Unit to study this matter, and requested the Primate to appoint a task force.
Bishop Pryce said that the working paper needs to get into the church to be read and discussed. The task force is asking for a full day at the Fall, 1989 meeting of the House to present details of the report and discuss implications. He told the bishops that the document has gone to General Synod members and is to be dealt with at the information dialogue on June 16th as part of the Doctrine and Worship dialogue.
Statistics regarding the national church and quantities of the document are available from the Reverend Paul MacLean.
That we ask the Primate to appoint a task force to receive comments, criticisms and information from various parts of the church, and to submit a further report to the National Executive Council and the House of Bishops. CARRIED
At the request of the Chair, Bishop Brown and two other bishops were asked to look at a definition of `non-stipendiary' that could be used in clarifying some of the issues in the Pension Canon.
Inasmuch as many dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada and Provinces throughout the Anglican Communion are developing and experimenting with non-stipendiary ministry, by whatever name (senior postulancy, worker priest, bi-vocational, volunteer, self-supportive) and that there is still some uncertainty as to the implications for their ministry, be it resolved:
That the Standing Committee on Ministry consider convening a national consultation on non-stipendiary ministry,
and, in the meantime,
That the present practice continue, that all persons ordained in the Dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada (except the Diocese of Montreal which has its own Pension Fund), be enrolled in the National Church's Pension Fund. (The present rate as of June 12, 1989 is a minimum of $780 per annum.) CARRIED