That this General Synod affirms the attached statement of its discussions on human sexuality and requests the General Secretary to forward it to the Diocesan Bishops with the request that it will be distributed within each diocese.
CARRIED Act 70
The text of the statement follows:
SEXUALITY DISCERNMENT STATEMENT, GENERAL SYNOD 2010
The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada met in Halifax, Nova Scotia in June of 2010. Together we entered into intentional conversations in order to hear where our Church is at this time in its life in relation to the matter of blessing of same gender unions. Our conversations were marked by grace, honesty and generosity of spirit towards one another. There was robust participation in the conversations. In dialogue we shared our passion for the mission of God in the world and our thoughts, feelings and convictions. We were attentive to each others’ perspectives, experiences and stories and we shared a commitment to continued theological reflection and scriptural study as a foundation to our ongoing dialogue and discernment.
We engaged these conversations within the particularity of our Canadian context – a country that is diverse and many cultured. Canadians have been learning how to dialogue across their diversities over the course of our national life. We do so with deeply held commitments to transparency and openness, an approach that is not without risk and that we affirm as a great gift. Often, in processes of discernment, the task is to see our way through a paradox.
Our conversations affirmed the full inclusion of gay and lesbian members in our churches, aboriginal voices in our midst, and the wide range of perspectives on the issue of same gender blessings across all dioceses. Our dialogue has been a positive and helpful step in our discernment. At this time, however, we are not prepared to make a legislative decision. Above, in and through all of this, and despite all our differences we are passionately committed to walking together, protecting our common life.
We acknowledge diverse pastoral practices as dioceses respond to their own missional contexts. We accept the continuing commitment to develop generous pastoral responses. We recognize that these different approaches raise difficulties and challenges. When one acts there are implications for all. There can be no imposition of a decision or action, but rather we are challenged to live together sharing in the mission of Christ entrusted to us, accepting that different local contexts call at times for different local discernment, decision and action.
We are in a time of ongoing discernment which requires mutual accountability through continuing dialogue, diocese to diocese and across the wider church. It also requires continued theological and scriptural study and dialogue on the wide range of matters relating to human sexuality.
For many members of General Synod there is deep sadness that, at this time, there is no common mind. We acknowledge the pain that our diversity in this matter causes. We are deeply aware of the cost to people whose lives are implicated in the consequences of an ongoing discernment process. This is not just an =issue‘ but is about people‘s daily lives and deeply held faith commitments. For some, even this statement represents a risk. For some the statement does not go nearly far enough.
In the transparency and openness we have experienced with one another, we have risked vulnerability but it is in such places that we grow closer in the body of Christ and behold each other as gift. Abiding with each other, and with God we are sustained through struggle, patient listening, and speaking from the mind and heart together. We have experienced these conversations as a gift for us here at Synod and hope that they will be a further gift to the Anglican Church of Canada and to the wider Church.
Discussion continued about balancing the requirement for transparency with requests for anonymity and privacy. The Primate presented two questions for consideration: Which is your preferred option and which option could you not live with ?
Move out of Committee of the Whole
Moved by: The Ven. Harry Huskins, Prolocutor
IN COUNSEL TOGETHER
The Rev. Karen Egan explained that the goal was to begin a conversation around resolving conflict which would evolve and would continue over the next several meetings within the table groups.
The General Secretary presented four options, which were distilled from earlier discussions, for members to consider:
1. All submissions to the Commission will be posted on the web with attribution
2. Those intending to make a submission to the Commission may request, in advance of their submission, that their contribution not be attributed by name
3. Submissions to the Commission, while signed, will not be publicly associated by name
4. Two lists will be made public - one for submissions and a second list of those who made submissions.
Move into the Committee of the Whole
Moved by: The Very Rev. Peter Wall
Seconded by: Mr. Jim Sweeny
The General Secretary provided a brief report on outcome of conversations yesterday and asked members to identify their most and least preferred option.
Members fully discussed the four options (listed earlier).
New wording for option #2 was proposed as “The General Rule is that all submissions to the Commission will be posted on the web with attribution. However, a person intending to make a submission, prior to making the submission, may request permission from the Commission for their submission to be posted on the web without attribution, and the Commission may for good reason grant that request.”
At this point there was no clear consensus and the Primate requested the writing group confer and further discussion occur later in the morning
Move out of committee of the whole
Moved by: Ms. Jennifer Warren
Seconded by: Mr. Alex Starr
Members considered the following rewording of the second option for submissions “All submission will be posted to the web with attribution. However, prior to receiving a submission, the Commission may for good reason grant a request that a submission be posted without attribution”. Support was mixed and the working group asked to return with a specific recommendation for members.
After carefully considering the opinions expressed by members, the Chancellor recommended a proposal to Council.
That “All submissions to the Commission will be posted on the web with attribution."
The motion was put and by consensus was achieved in its favour. The Primate expressed his appreciation to the Very Rev. Peter Wall, the Ven. Dr. Michael Thompson, Canon David Jones and Mrs. Cynthia Haines-Turner.