"Before the Church decides to put into practice what General Synod in May, 1973, accepted in principle, i.e., The Ordination of Women to the Priesthood, the House of Bishops calls for serious commitment by each Diocese to involve its constituents of each Order in initiating study, thought and prayer on issues surrounding this concern.
To this end, the House of Bishops passed two motions (see page 15), and commends them to the attention of the Church in Canada and to those in the rest of the Anglican Communion who share this concern." CARRIED
The House gave consideration to the amended proposed Memorial to General Synod from the House of Bishops. Various amendments were suggested but it became evident that unity of the document was being destroyed by piecemeal amendment. Therefore, it was agreed to request Bishops Hollis and Valentine to give further consideration to the document and amendments and report to the House.
"That we affirm our concern that clergy encourage all who have been baptized in childhood to renew, after careful preparation, their baptismal vows in a mature public affirmation of faith, commit themselves to share in the Lord's ministry in and through His Church, and receive the laying-on-of-hands by the Bishop. We see this as being an important step for all members of our fellowship, including any who received the laying-on-of-hands in infancy and those who began to receive Communion in childhood."
Motion in Amendment
Moved by: Archbishop Somerville
Seconded by: Bishop Garnsworthy
"That the second sentence of the paragraph be omitted."
With the consent of the House, the Amendment was withdrawn.
The House re-assembled at 3:55 following coffee break, and the Reverend James Boyles reviewed a memorandum dated October 31, 1974 addressed to the National Executive Council regarding Plan of Union. Mr. Boyles reported that National Executive Council had agreed that extra time should be allowed at its February meeting to allow for a study of the Plan of Union, and that the Reverend D. Hodgkinson is to assist the NEC in planning and design for this study.
The Reverend Canon W. Sewell reported on behalf of the Task Force on Revisions, and said that study of submitted revisions will go forward until the next meeting of the Committee on Union and Joint Mission scheduled to be held January 20-21. Mr. Boyles suggested the following possible alternative courses of action:
-go ahead with the vote on the Plan as it is or with minor revisions;
-delay until 1977 for more thorough revision which procedure might involve a reaffirmation of intention by General Synod;
-withdraw from work on the Plan.
Following lengthy discussion, it was
Moved by: Bishop Garnsworthy
Seconded by Bishop Goodman
"That a meeting of the House of Bishops be held February 1st and February 2nd. and that persons with particular theological expertise be invited to be present."
It was moved in Amendment:
"That a meeting of the House of Bishops be held January 31st and February 1st, and that persons with particular theological expertise be invited to be present." CARRIED
The Ordinal was presented by Bishop Parke-Taylor and questions and comments were invited from the floor.
Bishop Valentine was asked to propose a motion for presentation to General Synod, and his submission was later presented to the House as follows:
Ordinal: Memorial to General Synod
This House commends the form of Ordinal presented by the Doctrine and Worship Committee. We consider that it expresses renewed understanding of the ordered ministry within the ministry of the whole people of God. It gives significant form to the participation of the whole Church in the choice and ordination of the clergy. It sets the action of Consecration clearly and powerfully within the context of prayer, and it emphasises that particular gifts of the Spirit are sought and given not only in the fact of ordination but also in the on-going work of an ordered ministry.
It would be our strong hope that this Ordinal, because of these and other great strengths which it exhibits, will be made available for alternative use in the Church, subject to the decision of the appropriate authority in each case.
We are aware that a legitimate concern may centre upon the actual moment of "Laying-on of Hands" and the form and intention of the accompanying words. We would suggest that this concern might be met by providing an alternative wording in the following form:
"N. In the name of God and in the authority committed
to His Church, we consecrate you for the office
and work of a Bishop
Deacon in the Church."
A subsequent prayer might then commence:
"Almighty Father, give your Holy Spirit to your servant, fill him with the grace..."
It is our conviction that such authorisation for alternative use of the Ordinal, together with a careful process of report and review, will set forward the achieving of a form which is true both to our historic heritage and to our contemporary responsibility.
That the Statement on the Ordinal be sent to General Synod as a Memorial. CARRIED
"That the proposal from the Doctrine and Worship Committee re the optional use of portions of the Ordinal from the New Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. (Convening Circular, Reports Section page 49 #3), be referred to the House of Bishops for discussion and decision." CARRIED
The Primate expressed the hope that the Agenda Committee would provide time, for the discussion of future actions concerning the Ordination of Women at the November, 1975 meeting of the House.
"That the House of Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario begin work on this at its meeting to be held in September, 1975." CARRIED
The Primate reminded the house that responsibility for the development of a pattern of implementation and an educational process lies with each diocesan bishop, as well as within the corporate body of the House of Bishops.
The Primate indicated that he will write to Roy Bonisteel of the "Man Alive" program, expressing concern regarding some of the emphases of the program "The Gay Christian."
"That we receive the report." CARRIED
"A Statement by the Anglican Bishops of Canada" was circulated by Bishop Garnsworthy, and the Rev. Richard Berryman presented a proposed press release. The House agreed to function as a Committee of the whole for purposes of discussion.
A suggestion was made by Bishop Clarke and Archbishop Somerville that the statement conclude with the words "heterosexual marriages" at the end of the last paragraph.
Bishop Hollis and Bishop Snowden proposed this addition to the final paragraph: "and we cannot authorize our clergy to bless homosexual unions". This met with the approval of the House.
Bishop Hollis and Bishop Snowden suggested a further addition to the final paragraph as follows: "nor can we permit our church buildings to be used for that purpose". The House did not concur. The amended document is as follows:
"Questions of human sexuality are a matter of great concern to the Church of our day. Prominent amongst these concerns is the attitude of the Church towards homosexual persons. While homosexuality is a very complex and involved issue, nevertheless, in response to specific questions directed to the Anglican Church of Canada, we have decided that a statement is needed at this time.
We believe as Christians that homosexual persons as children of God, have a full and equal claim, with all other persons, upon the love, acceptance, concern and pastoral care of the Church. The gospel of Jesus Christ compels Christians to guard against all forms of human injustice and to affirm that all persons are brothers and sisters for whom Christ died. We affirm that homosexual persons are entitled to equal protection under the law with all other Canadian citizens.
It is clear from Holy Scripture that only the sexual union of male and female can find expression within the covenant of Holy Matrimony. In the heart of biblical teaching about creation we discover insights into the nature and purpose of sexuality. Rooted in God's creative purpose is the fulfillment and completion of male and female in each other, together with the procreative function of sexuality. Thus the Church confines its nuptial blessing to heterosexual marriages, and we cannot authorize our Clergy to bless homosexual unions. We are aware that some homosexuals develop for themselves relationships of mutual support, help and comfort, about which the Church must show an appropriate concern. Such relationships, though, must not be confused with Holy Matrimony, and the Church must do nothing which appears to support any such suggestion."
An announcement was made that the Rev. Richard Berryman, in revising a statement which he had prepared, will indicate that there will be on-going study of this subject by the Bishops.
Discussion then centred around two matters:
1. The preparation of a Study Document for general use throughout the Church;
2. Provision for continuing study of this matter on the part of the House of Bishops.
It was agreed that the Agenda Committee be instructed to provide for further consideration of the subject at a future meeting.
Archbishop Somerville and Archbishop Watton proposed that we recommend to the National Executive Council that a Study Guide be prepared. The House concurred.
A proposal was made that Bishops Hatfield, Parke-Taylor and Hill be a Committee of the House to provide both background material and co-operative assistance to the National Executive Council in this matter.
It was agreed to have included in the press release the fact that plans are being made for the preparation of study material.
Press Release - The Primate's Commission on Human Sexuality (Incorporating "A Statement by the Anglican Bishops of Canada") [pp. 44-48]
The Press Release was placed before the House. The release was carefully scrutinized and some minor changes in wording were made. The following addition was proposed by Bishops Valentine and Goodings:
"We are aware that some homosexuals develop for themselves relationships of mutual support, help and comfort about which the church must show and appropriate concern. Such relationships, though, must not be confused with Holy Matrimony and the Church must do nothing which appears to support any such suggestion."
In its original form it contained the words "need and" between "homosexuals" and "develop" in the first line. With this change, the addition received the approval of the House, and the statement as amended was approved. It is as follows:
"Open discussion and debate, often highly emotional, on the life and rights of homosexual persons in society, have become commonplace and divisive in recent years.
The members of the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, as chief pastors of the Church are obligated to exercise faithful witness to that office, and at the same time, to wrestle with the human and pastoral problems which homosexuality presents to the Church at all levels as it attempts to minister to all people. Realizing the complexity of this area of human relationships and the wide divergence of both popular and informed opinion, the Bishops, in the summer of 1976, asked for help and advice in facing the problems raised by homosexuality in contemporary society. They commissioned a Task Force of eleven persons, from a variety of backgrounds, to present an advisory report to them to assist in their deliberations.
The Task Force presented the first draft of its report in 1977 and was asked to do further work in some areas and report back to the meeting of the Bishops early in 1978. The House of Bishops has been meeting this past week in Mississauga and has received the second draft of the report. The lengthy draft is still considered confidential as it was prepared as an advisory paper to the Bishops, not a position paper for the whole Church. The Bishops have committed themselves to continuing study of this vital issue and specifically of the report's 15 recommendations. They will continue their deliberations at future meetings of the House. They have asked that a study paper be prepared in the near future for study and discussion at all levels of the Church, and by other interested groups. In the meantime, the Bishops have issued the following specific statement:
Questions of human sexuality are a matter of great concern to the Church of our day. Prominent amongst these concerns is the attitude of the Church towards homosexual persons. While homosexuality is a very complex and involved issue, nevertheless, in response to specific questions directed to the Anglican Church of Canada, we have decided that a statement is needed at this time.
It is clear from Holy Scripture that only the sexual union of male and female can find expression within the covenant of Holy Matrimony.
In the heart of biblical teaching about creation we discover insights into the nature and purpose of sexuality. Rooted in God's creative purpose is the fulfillment and completion of male and female in each other, together with the procreative function of sexuality. Thus the Church confines its nuptial blessing to heterosexual marriages, and we cannot authorize our Clergy to bless homosexual unions. We are aware that some homosexuals develop for themselves relationships of mutual support, help and comfort, about which the Church must show an appropriate concern. Such relationships, though, must not be confused with Holy Matrimony, and the Church must do nothing which appears to support any such suggestion."
On the suggestion of Archbishop Davis and Bishop Short, it was agreed that the Rev. Richard Berryman should be the contact person for press purposes.
Bishop Maguire presented the report of the Task Force, and it was
Moved by: Bishop Maguire
Seconded by: Bishop Goodman
"That we approve the proposed reply to the Report of the Joint Task Force on Christian Initiation and send it to the Chairman of the Joint Task Force." CARRIED
"That the Organization Committee be asked to consider inviting Father Aidan Kavanaugh to be a guest speaker at the June, 1975, meeting of General Synod in the context of any presentation by the Doctrine and Worship Committee." CARRIED
"We recommend to the National Executive Council that it request the Unit on Public Social Responsibility to give high priority to a study on the whole area of unemployment and its implications for the Canadian population." CARRIED
Bishop Hambidge presented the interim report on the response to the World Council of Churches Report, "One Baptism, One Eucharist and a Mutually Recognized Ministry". (See Appendix B.)
Following discussion, it was agreed that the Bishops should share their thinking, through correspondence, with Bishop Hambidge, and that Bishop Hambidge should join with Bishop Steer and Bishop Pierce in editing the report.
It was agreed that the edited report should be brought forward at the Fall meeting of the House.
"That the appreciation of this House be expressed to Bishops Hambidge, Pierce and Steer." CARRIED
[Text of Appendix B is NOT included in electronic text.]