That the National Executive Council send a message of appreciation to Dr. Wilbur Howard, Moderator of the United Church of Canada for his helpful and sensitive summation of the joint meeting of the three executives. CARRIED
Moved by Goodman, seconded by Jackson
That thanks be extended to Dr. R. Craig for his patience and unflagging devotion to the cause of Union. CARRIED
It was AGREED that the Council meet as a "Committee of the Whole."
The Primate brought into focus the discussions of the previous day, reminding the Council that it must deal with Plan of Union, that it was "our" document. Many items that are still under discussion in our Church have already been decided and put into effect in the other Churches. Decisions must be made, and these may have implications in a variety of ways:
- for our own Church
- with the United Church and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Canada
- our response to the media and the world outside.
The Council must project what the implications are and must sort out where they are going and make the implications creative rather than destructive.
The Primate suggested some important areas to consider:
- To explain as clearly as possible why our decision was made.
- To indicate directions in which we can still work together.
- To see if the other two churches can help us.
- To try to develop a deeper level of trust throughout all the churches.
On the recommendation of Bishop Somerville and Bishop Goodman it was AGREED to delegate three Council members to meet with the Executive of the General Council of the United Church of Canada to interpret the position of the National Executive Council. Bishop Frame, the Prolocutor and Archdeacon Morden were appointed.
Doug Hodgkinson outlined the planning for the day's three sessions. He suggested that the Primate chair a "meeting of the whole" to discuss the input to date, so that the National Executive Council could address itself to the recommendations of the Committee on Union and Joint Mission.
It was AGREED that representatives from the various Standing Committees be allowed to express the opinions of their respective Committees.
Clarification was asked re the Statement of the House of Bishops - are they or are they not in favour of organic union? It was indicated that the Statement of the House of Bishops is not a negative vote against organic union, but that Plan of Union as laid down is unacceptable, and that the House doubted if Union could be achieved by the "Plan" process.
It was noted that a few bishops did feel that further revisions could possibly lead to union and a suggestion was made that we enter into full communion with the United Church and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Canada, which would be a step in the direction of organic union.
Archdeacon Morden, who was a member of the General Commission and its Executive presented a statement to the Council in which he said that it was with real sadness that he had come to a point of view about union negotiations which was much the same as that expressed in the House of Bishops Statement. He spoke about the general difference [sic i.e. indifference] and apathy toward the Plan and the process. He made reference to a change in the ecumenical climate and of other possibilities before the Church which were not available in 1943 or even 1965 (ie. the procedure being followed internationally by the Anglican/Roman Catholic Commission). He considered that any revision process would further inhibit the churches in being able to work together. He recommended that the Church seek a mandate from the people and if they said "yes" to the goal of organic union that it be moved forward by stages beginning with an agreed statement on Faith and Order which would "help create an ethos of understanding" and then move on to accomplish "a complete mutual recognition of ministries, and then, in due course, to organizational and constitutional issues."
It was stated that the House of Bishops did not meet with the initial idea of preparing a statement but as they studied Plan of Union it eventually came about. The Bishops could have left the Plan to go to a vote at the next General Synod but it then would possibly be defeated, and it would be difficult to propose an alternative. The Statement assumes that other avenues are still open. Something must be agreed upon that can actually be used - not just something that is to be read.
The Primate reminded the Council that all three Church Executives have been asked to re-affirm their commitment to ongoing negotiations on church union, not just the Anglican Church of Canada.
At this point it was recommended that at least one representative from the National Executive Council go to the meeting of the Board of Directors of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Canada. Bishop F. Nock and Admiral H. Rayner agreed to represent the Council.
The Primate requested some informal testing on what had been discussed, and it was AGREED that in its present form Plan of Union is not acceptable; but it was also AGREED that the search for a true and lasting union with the United Church of Canada and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Canada is a primary goal.
Moved by Shepherd, seconded by Carter,
That the Council move out of a Committee of the Whole to accept a motion. CARRIED
That the National Executive Council affirms that the search for a true and lasting union with the United Church of Canada and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Canada is a primary goal.