Bishop Morgan drew attention to the document "The New Covenant" stating that appeals have been received from native people that the Sunday before the First Minister's Conference be designated a Day of Prayer.
That this House of Bishops respond to the request of Native leaders for the Churches to name a Day of Prayer to precede the final First Ministers' Conference to be held on March 26-27, by designating Sunday, March 22, as a Day of Prayer for Aboriginal Peoples:
And that we commend the document entitled "A New Covenant" prepared as a Pastoral Statement by leaders of the Christian Churches to be used as a focus for this Day of Prayer. CARRIED
Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan gave a brief update since the last meeting of the House of Bishops. (At the last meeting of the House, the bishops worked on a document of recommendations about the discernment of ministry, written by the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee at the request of the bishops. The proposals were to go to the Council of General Synod for its approval.) She distributed a document outlining the actions of the Council of General Synod and the recommendations which it accepted as ACPO [Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination] guidelines. The House was asked for its approval of those guidelines.
"That the document be approved by the House of Bishops." CARRIED
Bishop Tottenham as the Episcopal representative requested that the members submit to her the name of their ACPO secretary in time for the November meeting of the ACPO committee.
[Document No.] 006-18-97-11
Recommendations of the Consultation on Discernment for Ordained Ministry
A. Concerning the Role and Governance of ACPO
1. ACPO is advisory to bishops. We recommend that ACPO continue as a national process, accountable to the House of Bishops. We recommend that the budget should be set by the Council of General Synod and administered for the House of Bishops through the Primate's office.
2. There are 4 arenas of discernment: the parish, the diocese, the theological college/training institution, and ACPO. While each arena of discernment will assess a wide range of criteria and gifts, each has an area of particular responsibility. It is the primary responsibility of the parish to assess a candidate in the areas of spirituality, leadership, and Christian lifestyle. It is the primary responsibility of each diocese to assess the particular gifts of the candidate in the context of its own diocesan needs and ministries. It is the primary responsibility of the training institution/theological college to assess competency in academic and professional skills. It is the primary responsibility of ACPO to assess for the wider church on issues related to character, charisms, and call to ordered ministry.
3. ACPO's primary task is to assess for suitability for postulancy for the priesthood. ACPO can identify areas in which the candidate needs to grow.
4. It is the responsibility of the diocese and training institution/theological college to make decisions about programs of education and formation suitable both for the candidate and for the particular form of ministry for which he/she is preparing.
5. In order to facilitate clear accountability and structure, we recommend that ACPOs be established and held accountable to the House of Bishops through Provincial structures, e.g. the Metropolitan and Provincial House of Bishops. We recommend that each Province have on ACPO coordinating group, consisting of a bishop, Secretary and lay assessor. We recommend that the bishop be chosen by the Metropolitan, and that the Secretary and the lay assessor be chosen by the Provincial Council. The suggested length of term is three years, renewable once, and we recommend staggered appointments.
6. We recommend the establishment of a national ACPO coordinating group which would include the members of the co-ordinating group from each Province.
7. A pool of assessors needs to be maintained in each Province by the Secretary and the lay assessor, on nominations by the dioceses. The pool needs to be diverse, including individuals representative of and/or sensitive to the varieties of cultures present in the Province, and familiar with the diverse forms of ordered and lay ministry present and evolving within the Province.
8. Training for assessors is essential. General standards for this training need to be set by the national co-ordinating group. Detailed standards need to be developed by the Provincial co-ordinating group (bishop, Secretary, lay assessor). Training should include an exploration of the assumptions assessors are bringing to the task, developing clarity and consensus about the task, the theology of the priesthood as found in the ordinals, cultural sensitivity training, sensitivity to the particular ministries and cultures in the Province, discernment processes and skills, sexual harassment training, and confidentiality.
9. We recommend that the "Checklist of Indicators" presently in use by ACPO be revised as amended (Appendix "C"). This Checklist is to be used by ACPO assessors in their evaluation of candidates, and is commended to other arenas of discernment for their use.
10. Extraordinary care needs to be taken in the various processes of discernment for the selection and screening of postulants for the ordained ministry around the issues of power, trust, sexual harassment and abuse.
11. It is the responsibility of the national coordinating group to set standards for background checks, reference checks and psychological testing. These would normally be undertaken by dioceses. It is the responsibility of Provinces to ensure that appropriate information arising from these is communicated to the Secretary before the ACPO event.
12. The entire process needs to be communicated clearly to the candidate at every stage, including the fact that there are no guarantees that approval at any stage will lead to ordination and/or employment. Recommendations from each arena need to be clearly communicated to each of the other arenas, stating what is affirmed, what recommendations for the future are being made, and if the candidate is recommended for postulancy to the priesthood or not.
13. We recommend that, in general, the ACPO contribution occur at an early stage of the overall discernment process, although diverse individual and contextual circumstances may result in individuals attending ACPO at different stages in the process.
Supplementary with respect to the "Interim Report" and "Recommendations" of the Consultation on Discernment for Ordained Ministry: some members of FWM suggested that further consideration be given to the following matters regarding ACPO:
- "Interim Report,"[Section] D. We need to develop our theology of ordained ministry. This section seemed to some to set the Prayer Book understanding of ordination in an unjustifiably severe opposition to the understanding of the Book of Alternative Services. We think that there is more theological convergence than this approach suggests. Recommendations as to how ACPO can be used and what its criteria of judgment will be, will naturally depend on a prior theology of ministry.
- "Recommendations", [Section] A,2. We should reaffirm that it is the bishop who makes the final decision whether to ordain a candidate. ACPO, candidates committees, examining chaplains, parishes, theological colleges, and so on, all indeed contribute to the process of discernment, but we should be careful not to write as if they have final authority in any decision about ordination.
- "Recommendations, [Section] A,2. Those helping candidates in the process of discernment should talk to each other. The "Recommendations" seemed to envision that the four "arenas of discernment" had different tasks and worked independently.
- "Recommendations, [Section] A,3. ACPO should help persons in a process of vocational discernment. The report seems to envision that persons will come to ACPO with a clear sense of calling, and that ACPO's job will be to assess the call to ordained ministry. But some persons cannot claim a calling without the kind of self-examination and reflection which a different kind of ACPO process might assist. At present such persons are asked to defer ACPO for a year or two while they work out their sense of calling for themselves, and the result is that they come to ACPO as they are about to finish their studies, which reduces the usefulness of ACPO. Assessment as such should not be part of ACPO's task. Assessment is better left to something like the current system of evaluations by seminaries, field placements, internships, CPE supervisors, examining chaplains, and so on. ACPO assessors have a very limited exposure to candidates and are not in a position to assess their skills and aptitudes.
- "Recommendations," [Section] A,9. The "checklist of indicators" needs to be rethought. It needs to reflect a clearer, more generally agreed, and more theologically informed understanding of ordained ministry. It will be of limited use in discernment of vocation (as opposed to assessment of skills and aptitudes).
- "Recommendations", [Section] A,11. Psychological testing should not be part of ACPO. It might be recommended in particular cases. One problem is the potential for legal issues involving confidentiality and the civil rights of candidates. Another problem is that to choose an approach to psychological testing is to choose from among a variety of modern theories about human personality, and the Church might well be reluctant to commit itself to a particular school of modern psychological thought.
General. Recruitment is vital. ACPO cannot be expected to provide the Church with good ministers. Conversely, the problems of ministry in the Church today are not likely to be solved by a better ACPO. Bishops, parishes, and other leaders should be encouraged to identify and recruit those who may have gifts for the work of ordained ministry. Unfortunately, if the system for discernment and assessment is complex, cumbersome, and overly procedural, it may be hard to attract the best prospective candidates. The Church needs to put more energy into attracting talent, as opposed to screening out mediocrity.
Bishop Peters thanked the bishops for forwarding data for this document.
With regard to Compensation Study recommendation 3.3 it was [moved]:
That, if further work is to be done on `equitable remuneration', the House should name two members to work with two members from the Committee on Ministry to take these statistics to the next step. (See Nominations Committee report.) CARRIED
The Rev. Douglas Stoute was welcomed and invited to address the House. Dr. Stoute commented on the previously distributed report, and responded to questions.
That the report and the proposed guidelines of the Exorcism Task Force be received with gratitude, and the Primate be requested to appoint a task force to continue the work. CARRIED
The House of Bishops Task Force on EXORCISM
The Doctrine and Worship Committee of the Anglican Church of Canada has for some time been engaged in the preparation of a book of liturgical texts for occasional use. Suggestions were made to members of the Committee that rites of exorcism be included in this book. Eventually the Editorial Sub-Committee of the Doctrine and Worship Committee asked the then chairman of the committee (The Rt. Rev'd R.E.F. Berry) to raise the subject of exorcism in the House of Bishops, with the suggestion that advice be sought from people competent in the behavioural sciences and in theology before the development of liturgical material was addressed. (D&W 88/158.1)
The House of Bishops subsequently approved the suggestion made by Bishop Berry and referred the matter to the Primate. The Primate appointed a task force of five persons, the Rev'd Douglas Stoute, Dr. James Wilkes, the Rev'd Alyson Barnett-Cowan, the Rev'd Prof. W. Crockett, and the Rev'd Paul Gibson.
The following task was assigned:
The Task Force is requested to focus on the following questions:
1. Should the Anglican Church of Canada address the matter of exorcism ?
2. If so, what theological and psychological principles should be enunciated ?
3. What form of expression would be most appropriate ? e.g., rite, regulation ?
The Bible acknowledges the mystery of evil in human life and in the world, but does not give a consistent symbolic interpretation of the origin of evil or of the form which it takes. The Old Testament term for Satan has its origin in a judicial contest and means the "adversary," especially in the sense of an accuser at court (Zech. 3:1). Nowhere in the Old Testament does Satan appear as a demonic figure opposed to God. In the book of Job, for example, Satan appears as an adversary who acts with the divine consent. Satan only begins to emerge as a demonic figure in the inter-testamental period when a dualistic strain appears in Judaism which sees the world as a battleground between God and the forces of evil, personalized as Satan and the demonic powers. It is during this period that the myth of Satan as a fallen angel who led a rebellion against God and was cast out of heaven enters the literature (2 Enoch 29:4). Satan is now seen also as the initiator of the first sin among human beings, bringing death into the world (Wis. 2:24; 2 Enoch 11: 74-80; 22: 42), and as responsible for subsequent evil as well as sickness.
Satan appears in the New Testament under several titles, including diabolos (devil), and his role and that of the demons is largely taken over from late Judaism. Given this worldview, it is not surprising that in the New Testament it is assumed that demons can invade the human person and "possess" the individual, and hence need to be cast out (exorcism). Jesus himself practised exorcism as did his disciples. In a different symbolic worldview, demonic possession is viewed as the personification and objectification of emotional, mental, or physical states, which require medical or psychiatric treatment. The theological significance of the New Testament's world view is that disorder in human life is connected in some way with the reality of sin and requires an appropriate ministry acknowledging that reality. In the New Testament, demons are expelled in the name of God or of Jesus. This is rooted in the idea, common in the ancient world, that power is connected with the act of naming. The liturgical practice of exorcism continued in the early church, particularly in connection with Christian initiation. Exorcism in this context was not concerned with demonic "possession," but was one of the signs which marked the passage of the baptismal candidate from the sphere of evil and death to the sphere of new life in Christ. Exorcism, therefore, has taken on a different meaning in different ecclesial and cultural contexts.
Members of the task force found themselves reluctant to encourage or endorse the practice of exorcism in the context of most Anglicans in Canada. They recognized, however, that the concept of exorcism is conditioned by the cultural and symbolic context in which it appears and that in some contexts there is a declared pastoral need. Among aboriginal people, for instance, there is a frequent desire for a ritual act which "cleanses" a house where a death (and especially a violent death) has occurred. In such settings this frequently takes the form of blessing, a category of ritual action which cannot be easily separated from exorcism. Elsewhere, the pastoral care of people who experience a strong awareness of the reality of evil in their lives may require appropriate medical or psychiatric treatment together with prayers for healing and deliverance (see Guidelines 7 & 8 below).
Members of the task force identified three models of approach to exorcism.
There is a model which sees the world in mythological terms as a battleground between God and the forces of evil, personalized as Satan and the demonic powers. This model tends toward a dualistic view of reality.
There is a model based on native spirituality with its strong sense of spiritual realities.
There is a model which looks beyond the literal interpretation of myth, but which acknowledges the theological significance of the symbolic worldview of the New Testament and refuses to reduce it to a simplistic scientific worldview. This model takes seriously the need for suitable forms of Christian ministry in the face of the reality of evil, but leaves open the question of the appropriateness of exorcism.
Members of the task force rejected any approach to exorcism based on a dualistic understanding of reality. The theological tradition of the church has consistently rejected an ultimate dualism between God and the powers of evil. In the classical tradition, St. Augustine taught that evil is not a substance, but a privation of being and is the distortion of a created good. At the present time, at the practical level, there is a tendency towards an ultimate dualism in the fascination with apocalypticism and in the attraction which evil and myths of evil (including satanism and the occult) exercise on the imaginations of many people, an attraction which has been encouraged and perhaps exploited by the entertainment industry in recent years. Such a dualistic worldview, especially when held by persons who have a strong personal need to control others or exercise power, poses obvious dangers where exorcism is concerned. The task force, therefore, wishes to discourage these and similar approaches to exorcism. At the same time, it wishes to encourage appropriate sensitive pastoral care for those negatively affected by their attraction to evil, especially individuals and the families of those involved with satanic groups.
The task force recognized that forms of blessing/exorcism may be appropriate for pastoral reasons in some communities of aboriginal people and other culturally distinct communities, especially where they have already been established by tradition. The task force also recognized that forms of prayer for freedom from perceived evil may be appropriate in association with treatment as part of a holistic healing process in certain cases.
The task force agreed to recommend that no liturgical form of exorcism should be published.
The task force suggested a list of guidelines for consideration (appended).
The task force reviewed its task and agreed
1. the Anglican Church of Canada should address the matter of exorcism, but with caution;
2. the theological principles have been identified;
3. expression should be by guidelines.
3 October 1990
The House of Bishops Task Group on EXORCISM
1. Exorcism, when practised, is part of the healing ministry of the church and relates to the healing and wholeness of people.
2. Where people wish to have a house blessed by prayer or by the celebration of the eucharist after a death or other tragic event, this should be affirmed within a responsible context of pastoral care. This practice is closely parallel to the existing ministry of healing. The traditional practice of blessing a house as an act of prayer for the future of those who live there is not an act of exorcism.
3. If a person requests exorcism because they wish to be delivered from an evil influence they perceive to be affecting them, such action should take place only after competent clinical exploration and in the context of clinical treatment.
4. No one should ever be exorcised on the request of others or under pressure.
5. There is no need to appoint diocesan exorcists.
6. Exorcism should only be performed with the bishop's permission.
7. A bishop who receives an application for exorcism should give permission only after consultation with an ad hoc advisory group which includes an experienced pastor, a psychiatrist, the applicant's physician, and others as needed. Within a multi-cultural society it is important that one at least of the bishop's advisors should be familiar with the culture of the person who has requested exorcism.
8. The Group is disinclined to recommend a particular liturgical text because of its conviction that the event should be closely related to the symbol system of the person(s) involved. At least, however, an appropriate passage of scripture, a renunciation of evil on the part of the person(s) involved (as in the baptism rite in The Book of Alternative Services), suitable prayers for healing and deliverance, and the Lord's Prayer should be used. The laying-on-of-hands, anointing, and celebration of the eucharist may be appropriate.
9. Exorcism should always be followed by close and careful pastoral follow-up.
10. The event of exorcism should be carried out in a straightforward, matter-of-fact, discreet manner, without any hint of sensationalism.
11. Exorcisms should be performed by priests only. Two priests should be present and a physician, preferably a psychiatrist.
"Be it resolved that this House of Bishops in response to the irregular episcopal ordinations in Singapore endorse resolution 72 of the 1988 Lambeth Conference." CARRIED Res. #HB-04-05-00
For text of resolution 72 of the 1988 Lambeth Conference see appendix i.)
Source: Lambeth Conference / 1988 / Resolution
Resolution 72: Episcopal Responsibilities and Diocesan Boundaries
Text: This Conference:
1. reaffirms its unity in the historical position of respect for diocesan boundaries and the authority of bishops within these boundaries; and in light of the above
2. affirms that it is deemed inappropriate behaviour for any bishop or priest of this Communion to exercise episcopal or pastoral ministry within another diocese without first obtaining the permission and invitation of the ecclesial authority thereof.
3. urges all political and community leaders to seize every opportunity to work together to bring about a just and peaceful solution.
Notes: With the number of issues that could threaten our unity it seems fair that we should speak of our mutual respect for one another, and the positions we hold, that serves as a sign of or unity.
Archbishop Peers greeted the members of the ACIP and the House of Bishops, following his welcome with a prayer. He reminded those present that the day was theirs, and that it was not meant to be a media event. He welcomed Bishop Charleston once again.
Bishop Charleston spoke about the purpose of the day. He said that in a cross cultural discussion it was important to have two things: 1) a sense of personal humility and 2) a good sense of humour.
Ms. Donna Bomberry, Indigenous Ministries Coordinator and staff to the ACIP introduced the (ACIP) panel members. The bishops and the members of the ACIP introduced each other by giving their name and diocese.
Ms. Bomberry gave a brief history of how the ACIP had come to the point of meeting with the bishops. She spoke about the first Indigenous gathering which was held in 1988 and then the second which was held in 1993. The third gathering was held in 1997 and the fourth is scheduled for August 2000. Ms. Bomberry read the Covenant and then gave the floor to the panel. The members of the ACIP panel then shared with the House of Bishops, their experiences as Anglicans as well as what the Covenant meant to them. The panel consisted of the Rev. Mervin Wolfleg, Diocese of Calgary; Ms. Vi Smith, Diocese of Caledonia; the Rev. Iola Metuq, Diocese of Arctic and Ms. Shirley Johnson, Diocese of Huron.
The joint session broke into discussion groups throughout the day. The session ended with a Communion service held as a circle in the meeting room.
The next day the Primate read a letter of thanks written by Mrs. Smith on behalf of the ACIP to the bishops for the day spent together.
"That this House of Bishops express its deep appreciation to the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples" CARRIED Res. #HB-05-10-99
There was some questions about the process used for nominations. Following discussion it was agreed that it would be helpful to the House if vacancies on committees which were known in advance were announced at the time the House of Bishops meeting commenced.
That nomination slates be reopened and that names be brought to the chair. And that it be dealt with the next day. CARRIED
All nominations were left the same except that the recommendation for episcopal representative to the Anglican Consultative Council was changed to include Bishop Baycroft, Bishop Ingham, Archbishop Payne and Bishop Pryce.
There was a discussion regarding the release of names of clergy from the Office of Personnel Resources.
That the Director of Personnel Resources be requested to make a presentation at the October 1987 meeting of the House regarding the guidelines and practices of the Personnel Resources Office with respect to the contacting of clergy and bishops in the matter of vacancies. CARRIED