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
Mr. Johns presented a list of three Categories for ACPO [Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination] Assessors. The first is unconditional recommendation. The second and third are now worded so that clarity of assessment is indicated for the Bishop's consideration.
.....is recommended at this time for postulancy. We offer the following observations and suggest particular areas of training and experience to be included in the education and training process.
.....is not recommended at this time for postulancy. We offer the following observations and suggest areas of training and personal growth to be undertaken before further assessment by ACPO or other appropriate evaluation is considered.
.....is not recommended at this time for postulancy. We offer the following observations and suggest other areas of ministry and service which may be more appropriate.
That the proposed new categories be accepted. CARRIED #4-2-84
The number of persons assessed by ACPO from 1980 to 1983 was noted, and it was requested that the Bishops take great care in sending candidates to ACPO.
A revised copy of a "Message to the Church" (which the bishops had worked on and discussed while in camera) was distributed to the members for discussion. The document was a statement from the House of Bishops to the Church in response to the Synod of the Diocese of New Westminster's decision to bless the union of same sex couples.
That the House of Bishops approve its "Message to the Church" for distribution. CARRIED #HB-02-10-08
(Vote: 28 in support, 9 opposed, and 1 abstention.)
Archbishop Peers commended the bishops for the quality of their discussion. He said that as the President of the House of Bishops, he would support what it had decided.
Bishops Anderson, Atagotaaluk, Burton and Ferris asked that their motions about the blessing same sex unions be withdrawn. (The two motions had been distributed to the members of the House when it was not in session, and had not been put on the floor formally.)
Archbishop Morgan reminded the bishops of the need to move in camera in order to decide whether or not to release any of the information discussed while they were in camera.
A Message to the Church
In the name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, meeting in Mississauga on October 28, 2002, issues the following statement in response to the decision of the Synod of the Diocese of New Westminster to bless same-sex unions.
We are called to be one in the Body of Christ (John 17:21). We know that on the issue of same-sex unions differing convictions are deeply held in the House of Bishops, throughout our church and beyond. The decision of New Westminster has caused pain for some and joy in others. Over the past four years this Diocese undertook an extensive process of study that has led them to their decision. We recognize that members of the diocese on every side of the issue have suffered pain.
Eight parishes of the Diocese of New Westminster have requested alternative Episcopal oversight for themselves. Before the fracture widens we urge all involved to engage in a process of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18) on the basis of the general principles passed by the Diocesan Synod in June 2002. Although the precise terms of the conversation will be established within the Diocese we propose that the following elements should be part of it.
1. The conversation should be enabled by a mutually agreed to facilitator.
2. The process should provide `safety' for all participants by setting at least these standards:
a. Being respectful of each other's faith journey.
b. Listening respectfully.
c. Asking `inviting' questions.
d. Attempting to understand from the view points of others.
We request that those outside the diocese respect the integrity of this process and allow it to proceed without intervention.
In recent years some dioceses in the Anglican Church of Canada have made individual decisions to recognize or forbid, and in this one instance, to bless same-sex unions. We have spent much of our time at these meetings discussing our response to these situations. We are unable to speak with a unanimous voice on this issue of national concern especially with regard to the subject of homosexuality in the light of scripture. We are referring the matter of the blessing of same-sex unions to our national governing body, the General Synod (2004) for discussion and if possible, resolution.
We agree that we will not make individual decisions in any additional dioceses during the interim. Until the time of resolution all bishops are asked to uphold the 1997 Guidelines of the House of Bishops on Human Sexuality.
We call the church to prayer in this difficult and demanding time in our life in Christ.
That the General Secretary be requested to communicate with Chancellor David Wright seeking his advice regarding the advisability of copywriting [sic i.e. copyrighting] the word "Anglican" in order to ensure its continuing use in the future as it has been used in the past. CARRIED
Bishop Woolsey reported that the Diocese of Athabasca had recently had a Conference on the laying-on-of-hands and anointing with oil.
There is no statement from the House of Bishops regarding the anointing of the sick with oil by lay people. The House was reminded that, in his paper, Bishop Henry Hill stated that any Bishop can authorize anyone to anoint, but it is usually assigned to clergy only. There are no diocesan policies, but some Bishops have given special permission.
That the House of Bishops affirm the rubric on page 555 of the Book of Alternative Services as constituting the general guidelines for unction.
The rubric reads: "The oil for the anointing of the sick is to be used only by clergy and those lay persons who have received authorization by the diocesan bishop." [CARRIED #2-11-86]
Archbishop Nutter reported that the Primate wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury, as requested at the November meeting of the House, and received a response to his letter from Canon S. Van Culin's response were distributed to the Bishops.
According to the formula outlined by Canon Van Culin, as developed at the March 1986 meeting of Primates, the Canadian Church is entitled to send three Suffragan Bishops. No provision is being made for the attendance of the wives of Suffragan Bishops at the Lambeth Conference.
The Metropolitans identified various methods of indicating the Suffragan Bishops who should be invited to attend from the Canadian Church. It was agreed that seniority should be the defining factor, but that no more than one Bishop should attend from the same Diocese. If any Suffragan is unable to go because of illness, or chooses not to go, the next senior Suffragan Bishop should take his place. The Metropolitans agreed that this proposal should be placed before the Bishops for their consideration.
That the three Suffragan Bishops senior by Consecration be those designated to attend the Lambeth Conference in 1988, and that if any of those thus indicated are unable to attend, the next senior Suffragan Bishop shall take his place, with not more than one attending from any diocese. CARRIED
In response to the request of the Anglican Consultative Council that each Province in the Anglican Communion examine authority in the Anglican Communion, a task force was established in Canada. The members are: Bishop John Baycroft representing the House of Bishops; The Reverend Michael Ingham representing the National Executive Council; and Mrs. Patricia Bays who is a member of the Anglican Consultative Council. The report of the Canadian Church is to go to the Anglican Consultative Council before the end of March.
Mrs. Bays, Bishop Baycroft and Mr. Ingham each addressed the House.
Appendix A [Appendix A consisting of 7 pages of text is NOT included in the electronic database.]
Mrs. Bays distributed a summary of the Bishops' discussions of the previous day. Questions and discussion followed on what should be done with the document.
These centred on the following issues:
1. Economic considerations - if the structures are increased, then increased costs will ensue. What then, can be subtracted from the structures and still maintain the work that has to be done ?
2. Some discomfort was felt about the possibility of "drifting into Primacy".
3. Should we increase the complexity of our structures ? Could areas use their own moderator ?
4. Where does this document go ?
It was pointed out that National Executive Council asked the House of Bishops to look at this issue, and the Anglican Consultative Council asked the same of Synods and Standing Committees.
That we receive the document "Authority in the Anglican Communion" developed through discussion and consideration, and offered as an expression of the opinion of the House of Bishops on this subject;
That it be forwarded to the National Executive Council and, if appropriate, to Lambeth as a contribution to the continuing dialogue on the whole subject of authority. CARRIED
AUTHORITY IN THE ANGLICAN CHURCH
A. The issue of authority in the Church impinges on us as bishops in several ways. We are called upon to exercise authority in the ordering of ministry, in ordaining and licensing clergy, in the sacraments of Christian Initiation, in shaping the liturgical life of our dioceses, and in preaching and teaching the Gospel. The Church's authority has its source in God who calls us into unity with each other under the lordship of Christ. Episcopal authority is grounded in, and expressed through, the Koinonia of the Church.
B. If the true purpose of authority is to unify, in practice the exercise of it becomes the occasion for diverse reaction. The recent activity of some bishops within the Communion acting outside their diocesan jurisdiction has raised questions about episcopal collegiality. Liturgical renewal has generated hostility and fear of change in some quarters, resulting in a challenge to episcopal authority itself. Theological development which has evolved new images of the nature of God has produced new models of authority which challenge our present structures. Political and economic changes in society have generated individualistic concepts of authority which seem to be in conflict with the Church's understanding of Koinonia.
C. Within this context, we are compelled to ask about our identity as members of the Anglican Communion. The issue of authority raises the question of identity. Our tradition has been that of a family of autonomous Churches united by our common desire to belong to one another. We affirm that tradition precisely because it is conciliar rather than legislative. We would like to see the instruments of unity strengthened in the Communion, but in such a way that their authority remains consultative and persuasive. We have no desire to see an Anglican "Curia". The following are ways in which the centre of authority in the Communion might be developed.
D. We affirm the special role of the Archbishop of Canterbury as a personal symbol of unity with the Communion. Some of us wish to affirm the role as it presently is. But the office is developing into a more international role, with the Archbishop visiting other provinces and asked for comments on their situations. Some therefore would prefer to see the role enhanced in order to allow the effective functioning of the office. There is value in the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury as diocesan bishop, in rooting this office in the particulars of a place. A primacy of honour might be exercised by the Archbishop of Canterbury himself, but another person might serve as moderator of a conference or president of the Anglican Consultative Council.
E. The Lambeth Conference brings to the whole Communion a sense of unity and common purpose. We recognize that the Lambeth Conference is becoming unwieldy in size and cost, and we suggest that other structures, processes, and alternative venues be explored. We cannot describe at this time what these structures might be. Regional meetings, to include both affluent and less affluent provinces, would build better communication and mutual understanding.
F. We believe the meetings of Primates should be held in conjunction with those of another group -- either the Lambeth conference or the Anglican Consultative Council -- again in order to foster communication and interdependence.
G. The Anglican Consultative Council is an important vehicle of unity since it expresses the synodical model of the Church by its inclusion of priests and lay people as well as bishops. We are agreed that it is important to develop the representation of the laity on the Council, particularly in the area of women and youth. Regional meetings and the more frequent convening of an Anglican Congress could promote this greater involvement. It is important to provide adequate staff and financial support to the work of the Council. We are undecided, however, as to what authority the statements of the Council should have. There is an optimum size for Council and staff and it ought not to grow too large. There is a danger in building up structures. The demands on time and money are great, and the purpose of the structures needs to be remembered.
H. We recognize that our history and geography in Canada have helped us to understand the concept of unity in diversity. We affirm the necessity for interdependence in this large country. All dioceses have gifts to share, and needs which can be met by the gifts of others. In our Canadian experience a number of models have developed which illustrate this unity in diversity. The Council of the North is a good example of the concept of partnership expressed through transparency and mutual accountability. The ecumenical coalitions provide a model of effective planning for social concerns. Decision making by consensus in the House of Bishops requires a high level of trust. We have learned a great deal about regional consultation through our experience in ACNAC [Anglican Council of North America and the Caribbean].
I. We recognize the importance of giving assent to structures of authority. We choose to remain in communion with each other. As issues arise in the Communion on which we have differing views, it will be important for provinces to commit themselves to work together to seek ways of expressing our unity in diversity. We need to listen to each other prayerfully and with sensitivity, recognizing that there must be in the Anglican Communion a tolerance for diversity and a reluctance to define every issue too closely. Our involvement in international structures needs to be communicated clearly to the local congregations, so that they can be aware of the importance of maintaining these links within the Communion.