Canadian Anglican bishops have voted to strike a task force to study what the church should do to provide spiritual care for members who dissent from church policies.
The bishops spent a good part of their four-day meeting discussing the situation in the diocese of New Westminster which has authorized the blessing of same-sex unions. A group of Anglicans in the diocese have declared that they cannot accept this and have asked another bishop to assume "Episcopal oversight" of their parishes.
Despite a prohibition by New Westminster Bishop Michael Ingham, Terry Buckle, Bishop of the Yukon, has offered the dissenting parishes this oversight. As a result, Archbishop David Crawley, Metropolitan of British Columbia and Yukon, has begun disciplinary proceedings against Bishop Buckle.
Following is the text of two motions adopted by the House of Bishops meeting in Mississauga, Ont., last week.
"That in response to the 'Statement by the Primates of the Anglican Communion' (October 16, 2003) the Primate be asked to establish a task force of the House of Bishops to draw up terms and conditions for 'adequate provision for Episcopal oversight of dissenting minorities' in the Anglican Church of Canada, to consult through the Primate 'with the Archbishop of Canterbury on behalf of the Primates', and to report to the April 2004 meeting of the House of Bishops."
That this House, to enable the work of the Task Force on Episcopal Oversight for Dissenting Minorities,
1. Request that the Bishop of Yukon refrain from exercising Episcopal ministry in the Diocese of New Westminster;
2. Request that the Metropolitan of British Columbia and Yukon stay proceedings against the Bishop of Yukon;
3. Request that the Bishop of New Westminster seek a stay of proceedings against the priests of his diocese against whom such proceedings have been initiated;
4. That a mediator be appointed by the Task Force to negotiate an interim role for the person exercising Episcopal oversight mutually acceptable to the diocesan Bishop and the dissenting parishes.
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Halifax, Nova Scotia - Officials of the Department of Public Welfare have expressed thanks to the Anglican Church of Canada for its cooperation in a recent campaign to increase adoptions throughout the province.
There were 46 inquiries from married couples to the provincial coordinator for adoption services following the month-long campaign, according to a statement received by the church's social service department.
It is the first example of co-operation between the Anglican Church and provincial authorities in the adoption field. Church organized officials say they hope such a campaign might also be organized in other provinces.
Anglican clergy were asked by Rt. Rev. W.W. Davis, Bishop of the Diocese of Nova Scotia, to preach on adoption, or conduct a discussion in their churches and to circulate an adoption brochure produced by several denominations.
At present, 21 of the couples that made inquiries have completed or are in the process of completing their adoption.
"That in light of the Primates' Statement of October 16, 2003, we ask all parties involved in, or seeking, extra-territorial Episcopal oversight to stand down, and that legal proceedings against the bishop and clergy involved be stayed, for an initial period of three months to allow for the ministry of adequate alternative episcopal oversight to be put in place at the initiative of the Archbishop of Canterbury on behalf of the Primates."
Archbishop Hutchison gave notice that he and Archbishop Clarke had prepared a motion, which might be helpful for the conversation. Copies of it were distributed.
Moved by: Archbishop Clarke
Seconded by: Archbishop Hutchison
"That in response to the `Statement by the Primates of the Anglican Communion' (October 16, 2003) the Primate be asked to establish a task force of the House of Bishops
- to draw up terms and conditions for `adequate provision for Episcopal oversight of dissenting minorities' in the Anglican Church of Canada,
- to consult through the Primate `with the Archbishop of Canterbury on behalf of the Primates',
- and to report to the April 2004 meeting of the House of Bishops." (Note: see p. 24, when motion was put to a vote.)
That the motion be considered in a committee of the whole. CARRIED #HB-03-10-02
The discussion (about Bishop Burton's and Bishop Bruce's proposed motion) continued. Copies of a motion prepared by Archbishop Hutchison and Archbishop Finlay were distributed.
Moved by: Archbishop Hutchison
Seconded by: Archbishop Finlay
"That this House, to enable the work of the Task Force on Episcopal Oversight for Dissenting Minorities,
1. Request that the Bishop of Yukon refrain from exercising episcopal ministry in the Diocese of New Westminster.
2. Request that the Metropolitan of British Columbia and Yukon stay disciplinary proceedings against the Bishop of Yukon.
3. Request that the Bishop of New Westminster seek a stay of disciplinary proceedings against the priests of his diocese
4. Commend the disaffected parishes to the ministry of Bishop William Hockin as Episcopal Visitor."
Moved by: Archbishop Crawley
Seconded by: Bishop Lawrence
"That the House of Bishops rise from the committee of the whole." CARRIED Res. #HB-03-10-03