Copies of the Pastoral Letter of November 1984 were distributed.
There was general discussion of the Pastoral and suggestions for changes were made.
Moved by: Archbishop Bothwell
Seconded by: Bishop Lawrence
That the Pastoral dated November 1984 be referred to a committee appointed by the Primate for revision and that the revised document be placed before the House later on the agenda. CARRIED
The Primate asked Bishops Hollis, Curtis, Baycroft and Berry to be the ad hoc committee.
That this House ask the editorial committee to compose a suggested covering letter to be signed by the Primate to go to all the parishes referring to our Statement [on Capital Punishment] and referring to study resources which will be made available through the National Office.
That the letter signed by the Primate on behalf of the House of Bishops should be read in all the parishes on the fifth Sunday in Lent, or on a date specifically designated by the Diocesan Bishop. CARRIED
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
Bishop Hatton reminded the House that the task force was appointed at Corner Brook in 1989. He sought the permission of the House to do more work, saying that the task force would like to up-date the work done by Bishop Nock in 1985. He said that Bishop Peters, Bishop Lemmon and he would compile the returns and invite Mr. John Ligertwood to work with them. Bishop Hatton distributed questionnaires and requested that they be filled in and returned.
Bishop Hatton said that the report would be sent to all the bishops.
That this House approve the circulation of information from the Compensation Task Force in anticipation of a committed response from individual bishops to complete the data required, and
That the information gathered be evaluated with the assistance of John Ligertwood. CARRIED
The attention of the House was drawn by Bishop Bothwell to the comments of the Sub-Committee on Marriage and Related Matters. The flexibility of Rubric #10 was questioned. The possibility of variations within the service was generally viewed as a diocesan responsibility.
"That this House expresses its view that the words 'I do' be replaced by the words 'I will'." CARRIED. by majority vote.
Moved by: Bishop Goodman
Seconded by: Bishop Nock
"That in Rubric 10 the words 'to suit their individual circumstances' be deleted and the words 'according to diocesan policy' be inserted in their place." CARRIED.
Moved by: Bishop Short
Seconded by: Bishop Crabb
"That the Services on Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage, as amended, be received." CARRIED.
Bishop Valentine introduced Dr. David Skelton who is a geriatric specialist and ordained priest. He explained that Dr. Skelton and Archdeacon Ralph Baxter, out of their deep common concern for the elderly, have spearheaded the Elders in Ministry Project. Dr. Skelton thanked the Bishops for the opportunity to address the House. He provided background information on the study, noting that in geriatric medicine concern is for physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of life. He reported that, barring unforseen calamity, the world's population will double within the next thirty-five years.
Dr. Skelton explained that the purpose of the Project is to develop programs for use on the national, diocesan and local levels within the Church framework which will improve the quality of life of the elderly.
Dr. Skelton outlined the three phases of the Project as follows:
(i) to identify the needs and resources - (data is available through university computer facilities);
(ii) assessment of how older people view their needs to discover similarities and differences;
(iii) development of facilities to enable older people to become actively involved in both secular and church activities.
Using researched data, work out strategies to fill the identified gaps;
Implement programs and make them available to Church, society and government. Dr. Skelton noted that Bishop Valentine is Chairman of the Board which is centred in Winnipeg, and that there is a good representation of seniors on the Board. Dr. Skelton said that Archdeacon Ralph Baxter is fulltime Project Director, while he serves as technical adviser. Dr. Skelton urged those Bishops whose dioceses have not yet appointed a diocesan representative to convey the name of their representative to Canon Baxter as soon as possible. He noted that the United Nations has designated 1982 the Year of the Elderly, and suggested that a Senior Sunday may be set in the Fall of 1981 which would provide an opportunity for national coverage.
Dr. Skelton expressed appreciation to the Bishops for the opportunity to speak, and kindly offered to contribute the notes of his address. (Appendix D)
That this House recommend to the National Executive Council that it consider the possibility of including "Elders in Ministry" in the national program. CARRIED
Bishop Valentine kindly agreed to present this concern to the National Executive Council.
Whereas the General Synod of 1980 requested the House of Bishops to give leadership in implementing an effective program of evangelism throughout our Church;
And Whereas it is evident that a number of Dioceses have already identified evangelism as one of the priorities in their Anglicans in Mission Diocesan Cases;
Therefore be it resolved:
That this House of Bishops calls Dioceses and parishes to consider seriously the implementation of effective programs of evangelism and further requests that General Synod approve in principle the allocation of funds for the appointment of a support staff person at such a time as the House of Bishops and the National Executive Council through consultation deem it appropriate. CARRIED #17-6-83
Bishop Hill reported on a meeting of eight Roman Catholic and eight Anglican Bishops which had taken place in October, 1975 in Toronto. Bishop Hill said there was discussion of the ARCIC Agreed Statement on the Eucharist and also some discussion on the Ordination to the Priesthood, including the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood. Also included on the agenda was a discussion of the Berger Commission report on aboriginal land claims, and Christian Initiation. Bishop Hill said that the group attended Evensong at St. James Cathedral and Mass at St. Michael's Cathedral, Toronto.
He reported a clear desire had been expressed by the Bishops to continue discussions on an enlarged basis and suggested that the initiative for further encounters would need to be taken by the Anglican Church, through the Canadian Catholic conference. Bishop Hill expressed the strong hope that conversations will be held regionally and that they be the result of local initiative. Bishop Hill said that the Task Force on Anglican/Roman Catholic Relations is to meet November 13th, and requested the Bishops to inform him or the Reverend James Boyles of items of interest and concern for this group.
"That this House express its appreciation to Bishop Hill for his report." CARRIED
Bishop Fricker said that this orginated in the Diocese of Toronto and a canonical change is being proposed. (Reference in National Executive Council Minutes - March, 1989 [See Resolution #42-03-89 page 29].)
That this be referred back to the Committee on Doctrine and Worship to make further refinement. CARRIED
It was agreed that National Executive Council should be notified that this was referred back to the Doctrine and Worship Committee.