The Primate then invited Ms. Cynthia Haines-Turner as chair of the Nominating Committee to call for nominations for members to the proposed working group to develop the process for moving the Commission’s resolution to General Synod in 2016.
Membership from the following groups was proposed with nominations due by the end of the day: a representative from each of the four Ecclesiastical Provinces, a representative from the Planning and Agenda Team, and Bishop Linda Nicholls from the Commission on the Marriage Canon.
The Primate called upon the Ms. Cynthia Haines-Turner to present a motion creating the Working Group.
Be it resolved that:
The Council of General Synod appoint a Working Group:
a) To assist and provide advice to the Planning and Agenda Team in preparation for the November 2015 and March 2016 meetings of the Council of General Synod as the Council prepares and approves its response to Resolution C003 to be put before General Synod 2016;
b) Based on the discussions and decisions of the Council of the General Synod meetings, to assist and provide advice to the General Synod Planning Committee in matters related to the consideration of the motion to amend the Marriage Canon;
Further, that this Working Group consist of the following members:
- a) Four members to be elected from the Council of the General Synod, one from each of the Ecclesiastical Provinces;
- b) A member of the Planning and Agenda Team chosen by that group;
- c) Bishop Linda Nicholls who served as Coordinator of the Marriage Commission;
- d) The Working Group will appoint a chair from among its members.
ADOPTED by consensus #02-09-15
Following dinner and members’ own time with the report, the session resumed in plenary for members to ask questions of the Commission.
The Primate brought the evening to a close asking Sr. Elizabeth to lead night prayer and thanked the Commission for their offer to join members for the next day.
A motion was introduced by the Planning and Agenda Team requiring the Commission on the Marriage Canon report be circulated to members and to the co-chairs of the Planning and Agenda Team followed by a teleconference to decide how and when the report would be circulated further.
Members fully discussed the motion proposed, the role of CoGS, options and processes, preserving the principles of openness and transparency, and how best to receive and distribute the report.
After much consideration, The Ven. Harry Huskins, at the request of the Primate, assumed the chair and the Primate proposed that a special council meeting be convened for the commission to make a formal presentation to members, for members to consider how to take it and the resolution to General Synod, and for public release of the report.
The Primate resumed the chair, the original motion withdrawn by consensus and a new motion proposed.
Be it resolved:
That this council affirms the Primate’s proposal to call a special session of this council for the purpose of receiving and considering the report of the Commission on the Marriage Canon.
ADOPTED by unanimous consensus #07-05-15
COMMISSION ON THE MARRIAGE CANON – SPECIAL MEETING DATE
The General Secretary asked for a show of hands for two dates for a noon – to – noon special CoGS meeting to receive the report of the Commission on the Marriage Canon.
It was agreed that the meeting will be September 22 and 23. For those who cannot attend, creating a video link for the presentation will be explored.
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.
The Primate, the Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, called the meeting to order, introduced those in attendance and thanked members for taking their time to attend this special meeting. He explained that live-streaming of the Commission’s presentation was arranged for members unable to attend.
The Primate welcomed staff noting that while present, they are not seated with members and welcomed visitors in the gallery. The Commission on the Marriage Canon were introduced.
The agenda was reviewed and the purpose of this special meeting reiterated as being for CoGS to receive the report of the Commission. He explained that the resolution proposed will not be debated as that is the responsibility of General Synod. He explained that the report would be released to the church following the presentation.
Opening worship was led by Sr. Elizabeth Rolf-Thomas and the Primate called on the Commissioners to present their work.
Commission on the Marriage Canon – Report Presentation
Bishop Linda Nicholls, convener of the Commission, began the presentation with an overview of the methodology and was followed by all members each presenting a part.
Clarification & Exploration
Following the presentation, a period of time was provided for members to ask the Commission for clarification and to explore the various aspects of the report.
Members then moved into individual table group discussion and shared back their thoughts and impressions.
In closing this section of the agenda, it was agreed that the presentation was very well done and the Commission had fulfilled its mandate.
Resolutions and Nominations Committee
The Primate asked the Venerable Harry Huskins, Prolocutor, for a motion on receiving the report.
Be it resolved:
That this Council of the General Synod receive the Report of the Commission on the Marriage Canon and express its deep gratitude to the members of the Commission for the exceptionally good work that they have done in fulfilling the mandate issued to them by this Council, and for their deep personal commitment to our Church. The work given to the Commission in the mandate now being complete with the submission of this Report, the Council discharges the Commission with the thanks of our Church.
The resolution of the 2013 General Synod, the wording of which follows, was read.
- That this General Synod direct the Council of General Synod to prepare and present a motion at General Synod 2016 to change Canon XXI on Marriage to allow the marriage of same sex couples in the same way as opposite sex couples, and that this motion should include a conscience clause so that no member of the clergy, bishop, congregation or diocese should be constrained to participate in or authorize such marriages against the dictates of their conscience.
- This motion will also include supporting documentation that:
-- a) demonstrates broad consultation in its preparation;
-- b) explains how this motion does not contravene the Solemn Declaration;
-- c) confirms immunity under civil law and the Human Rights Code for those bishops, dioceses and priests who refuse to participate in or authorize the marriage of same-sex couples on the basis of conscience;
-- d) provides a biblical and theological rationale for this change in teaching on the nature of Christian marriage
The Primate reported on conversation at the House of Bishops’ meeting where the matter was discussed and some concerns expressed. Some said that in 2010 we had arrived at a truce, a place of peace, but at General Synod 2013, the truce was broken and we again find ourselves in chaos. The Primate noted that he had shared with the Bishops his proposal to set up a Commission of the Council of General Synod to consider the matter – a commission mandated and appointed by, and reporting to, Council – and also what he planned to share with Council about the conversation. All were given the opportunity to correct or to note anything missed.
In table groups, Council considered two questions:
- 1. What are you hearing in respect to this matter on the ground in your context?
- 2. Assuming that a commission was established, what message would you want to give that commission at the very outset of its work?
Following further discussion, it was
The General Synod has enacted a Resolution directing this Council to prepare a Motion enabling Same-Sex Marriage in our Church, and that the Council place this Motion before the 2016 session of the General Synod for its consideration.
Further, this Resolution directs that there be a consultative process carried out in the Canadian Church; the results of which the Council will consider in writing the text of the enabling Motion to be placed before the 2016 General Synod session,
Be it resolved that, in conformity with the General Synod Resolution in regard to the preparation of a Motion to change Canon XXI on Marriage:
1. That this Council establish a Commission to carry out a consultative process as directed by the General Synod;
2. That this Commission report to this Council its findings and any recommendations as to what matters the Council should consider in writing the text of the directed enabling Motion;
3. That the Primate and the Officers of the General Synod appoint the members of this Commission before December 31, 2013; and
4. That the Commission bring a progress report to the next meeting of this Council as to how it is carrying out its work.