That the Primate, after consultation with the House of Bishops, be requested to initiate discussion with the provinces and dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada regarding:
1) the possible reform of the provincial organization of the Anglican Church of Canada, and, in particular, whether the effectiveness and efficiency of the Anglican Church of Canada would be significantly improved by:
- a) entirely eliminating the four provinces from the organizational structure of the church and transferring the powers and authority the provinces presently hold to the General Synod, or
- b) maintaining the existing provincial structure for some part of its present purpose and transferring part of provincial power and authority, for example part or all of provincial legislative authority, to the General Synod, or
- c) reorganizing the dioceses into groupings with greater common goals, concerns, needs and interests than the collections of dioceses forming the existing provinces.
2) the possible reform of the diocesan organization of the Anglican Church of Canada, in particular by:
- a) adjusting diocesan boundaries to reflect modern transportation patterns and population shifts created by social and economic changes,
- b) reducing the number of dioceses within the Anglican Church of Canada,
- c) implementing any other change that might improve the effectiveness, efficiency, or economy of the operation of dioceses.
The mover and seconder accepted a friendly amendment from the Rev. Stephen Peake to add the words ‘enhance the mission and’ in item 2) c) after the word ‘might’. Item 2) c) now reads:
- c) implementing any other change that might enhance the mission and improve the effectiveness, efficiency or economy of the operation of dioceses.
The amended motion was then put and CARRIED AS AMENDED Act 50
That this House of Bishops commend the following Statement to the President, members and delegates of General Synod, with its Council, Planning and Agenda Committees:
Statement of the National House of Bishops
Anglican Church of Canada
October 26, 2006
We believe that as bishops we are called to exercise special responsibility in maintaining the unity of the church. We seek to provide leadership as we grapple with the issues posed by our continuing debate around human sexuality.
We believe that the Canadian Church will be looking for one or more significant decisions on these matters at General Synod 2007, and that further inaction, or the perception of stalling, may result in widespread disobedience in many parts of our Province and possibly further impair our relationship with the Anglican Communion.
We are aware that we occupy different places in the spectrum of convictions and hopes in the Canadian Church. We are happy to share the experience of affirming much that is common between us.
We welcome the work done by the St. Michael Report and the Windsor Report, particularly their identification of the nature of the doctrinal issues involved. We believe General Synod resolutions on these matters that engage their recommendations seriously will increase our credibility both within the church and within the communion. We believe the converse will also apply.
Our assessment of the current situation is that, doctrinally, there is not common mind in the church concerning the grounds for giving or withholding the blessing of same sex unions. Substantial numbers of our church, however, believe passionately that those doctrines have already been decided. We believe that further argument alone is unlikely to move people from their positions at this time. We believe the task of General Synod 2007 is to find an appropriate course of action for our situation. Paradoxically, if a way to live together as a church can be found, a theological consensus might develop within a framework of stability.
We advise against a change in the marriage canon at this time.
We believe that we should undertake intentional diplomacy in our international relationships within the Anglican Communion.
We urge the Church to show pastoral understanding and sensitivity to all same-sex couples, including those civilly married. As the National House of Bishops we agree to develop pastoral strategies to give effect to the acceptance of gays and lesbians to whom we are already committed by previous General Synod and COGS resolutions, House of Bishops guidelines, and Lambeth Conference statements.
We recommend the following processes for the consideration of the 2007 General Synod:
- We believe that it is essential that there should be adequate time to consider what will be on the table. To assist in promoting useful discussion, we recommend substantial use of the Synod sitting as Committee of the Whole.
- We share our great wariness about the possibility of surprise motions, and urge attention and sensitivity to energy levels and emotions around important issues, and an avoidance of the passage of contradictory motions. CARRIED
That Rule of Order 23(a) be suspended in relation to Resolution A185.
Point of Order
The Rev. James Robinson raised a point of order. He submitted that this motion was out of order because the proposed action was required to be taken by enactment of a Canon. The Assessors advised that the point raised was not a point of order, although it may be a question as to the validity of the enactment, if passed. A two-thirds majority was required. The Primate ruled that the point raised was not a point of order.
1. That, with respect to resolutions A186 and A187, and pursuant to Rule 23, the requirement of Rules of Order 18(b), 19 and 20(c) that a majority of votes be required for passing a motion, and Rule of Order 20(d) concerning a tied vote in a vote by dioceses, be suspended, and
2. That resolutions A186 and A187 be deemed to have been carried only if they receive the affirmative votes of sixty percent of the members of each Order present and voting and, if a vote by dioceses is requested, only if they receive the affirmative votes of sixty percent of the dioceses whose votes are counted.
Moved by: Archdeacon Vicars Hodge
Seconded by: Ms. Sheila Vanderputten
That the words “sixty percent” be deleted in both places where they appear and replaced with the words “two thirds” and then add after the word “voting”, the words “at two successive General Synods”. DEFEATED
Point of Privilege
Ms. Janet Neubauer requested permission for Synod members to pray before the vote on the following resolution and the Primate granted this request.
Resolution A185 (Revised) was then put and DEFEATED Act 39