That this General Synod adopt the following "Covenant of Protection" as policy and direct the Council of the General Synod to develop a process for implementation.
Since 1949, General Synod has been urging Canadian and foreign governments to conform their policies to principles of Universal Human Rights. This position of the church is deeply rooted in Scripture.
In the first chapter of Genesis we read that all human beings have been made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). We conclude from this that all human beings, regardless of their background, identity, status, ability, accomplishment or belief have a fundamental dignity which comes from God. All members of the Anglican Church affirm this position when, in the words of our baptismal covenant we promise to "strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being."
As Christians, we also acknowledge with St. Paul that we have done those things we ought not to have done and we have not done those things we ought to have done. We are sinners and we need to build into the structures of our common life the same standards of right behaviour and safeguards against discrimination that we demand of others. We do this in the knowledge that the real test of our support for human rights is how we treat the minorities in our midst -- the poor, the stranger, the outcast and the foreigner (Matthew 25:40).
In the summary of the Law recorded in the Gospel of Mark, we are told by Jesus that we must love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength, and love our neighbours as ourselves (Mark 12:29-31). From this we understand that Christians are a covenant community called by God to join others in protecting the rights of all persons in society and in the church. One of the ways we do this is by ensuring that our own processes of participation and deliberation are fair and transparent.
COVENANT OF PROTECTION
The Anglican Church of Canada enters into a Covenant of Protection with its members, with its employees, and with those who seek the services of the church, in order to protect vulnerable persons. We call this Covenant, "Human Rights Principles."
1. The right to be treated with courtesy, compassion and integrity
All persons who seek the services of the church, including sacraments, counsel and pastoral care, shall be treated with courtesy, compassion and integrity by the church and its representatives or officials, without discrimination on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, family or marital status, race, colour, ethnic (or place of) origin, ancestry, disability, creed or socio-economic status.
2. The right to fair treatment
a) All persons receiving educational, medical or financial assistance from the church shall be treated fairly and without discrimination on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, family or marital status, race, colour, ethnic (or place of) origin, ancestry, disability, creed or socio-economic status.
b) All persons occupying church property or being accommodated in institutions provided by or governed by the church shall be treated fairly within the stated purposes of these institutions and without discrimination on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, family or marital status, race, colour, ethnic (or place of) origin, ancestry, disability, creed or socio-economic status.
3. The right to vote
All baptized persons who qualify, in accordance with the relevant canons and constitutions, shall be eligible to vote at General Meetings of their Parish and Synod without discrimination on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, family or marital status, race, colour, ethnic (or place of) origin, ancestry, disability, or socio-economic status.
4. The right to be considered for election
All baptized persons who qualify, in accordance with the relevant canons and constitutions, are eligible to hold elected positions in the church without discrimination on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, family or marital status, race, colour, ethnic (or place of ) origin, ancestry, disability, or socio-economic status.
5. The right to be considered for service
All baptized persons who qualify, in accordance with the relevant canons, constitutions and guidelines, shall be eligible to have their vocations tested and to be considered for service in the life and on the committees of the church without discrimination on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, family or marital status, race, colour, ethnic (or place of) origin, ancestry, disability, or socio-economic status.
6. The rights of employees
All persons employed by the church in positions not requiring ordination shall be employed on the basis of ability, skills and experience appropriate to the position without discrimination on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, family or marital status, race, colour, ethnic (or place of) origin, ancestry, disability, or socio-economic status. [Revised 11 November 1999 -- See GS minutes pg. 58. The amendment to leave these words out was defeated but when re-transcribed the words were left out.]
Six members of Synod requested a vote by orders, in accordance with Section III of the Rules of Order and Procedure.
The resolution was then put in the Order of Laity and - CARRIED
The resolution was then put in the Order of Clergy and - CARRIED
The resolution was then put in the Order of Bishops and - DEFEATED Act 78
The Prolocutor confirmed that the resolution had been Defeated.
[Correction of General Synod minutes by Chancellor Ron Stevens amended first sentence in paragraph 6 on p. 104 to be the same as paragraph 6 on p. 55. Correspondence dated 15 November 1999 laid in original General Synod Journal of Proceedings.]
Act 5 of the 36th General Session of the General Synod, held in Waterloo, Ontario, p. 19 enacted the following: "That the minutes of the 35th Session of the General Synod, held in Montreal, Quebec, May 21-29, 1998, as printed in the Journal and as approved by the Certification of Minutes Committee, be adopted subject to the insertion of the words "in positions not requiring ordination" in the first line of paragraph numbered 6 on page 104. CARRIED Act 5"
December 01, 2009 - An interview with the Rev. Patricia Sawo, a church leader and mother living with HIV in Kenya inspired Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to entitle his World Aids Day Message A Space for Hope. Patricia says of her church "My congregation knows about my status and people in my church know that this is a place where, if they come with HIV, they can be loved." The Archbishop says "when the Church is doing its job, it is providing space for people to face themselves, to be themselves, and to cope with the future."
On my trip to Burundi in February, I saw numerous examples of that kind of space. Let me cite just two. In the heart of the city of Bujumbura there is an HIV/AIDS clinic. Above the main entrance of the administration building is a sign stating that the building was renovated though a gift of the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) of the Anglican Church of Canada. That gift inspired other churches in the city to make contributions to expand the services of this clinic which serves teens and young adults who have been orphaned through AIDS. Most of them live on the street and their life is very rough. The clinic is a haven where they can learn about HIV/AIDS, get tested and if necessary receive treatment and counseling. As the Archbishop says, they can "face themselves, be themselves, and cope with the future."
Up in the hills, "in the bush" as Burundians say, in the village of Bitare, I and Cheryl Curtis (Executive Director of PWRDF) and Maureen Bailey (Youth Council, PWRDF) were invited to assist local people in laying the foundation stone for a new HIV/AIDS clinic. It was very humbling to kneel down and share in that work as hundreds of people looked on and sang and prayed for God's blessing on this project. The building is now complete and providing services to hundreds of people in Bitare and a number of surrounding villages. Individuals and families are feeling support and care. Lives are being changed and hope is rising like the glory of a new day.
This coming Sunday, the second in Advent, I ask that throughout the Church, prayers of special intent for those living with HIV/AIDS be included in the Prayers of the People. Pray for their caregivers and for their doctors and nurses and clergy. Pray especially for the work of the Mother's Union in Africa and their deep and steadfast commitment to helping those who are living with AIDS and those who have been widowed and orphaned through AIDS, and those who are caring for their grandchildren. Pray for those engaged in education about healthy sexuality and the prevention of AIDS. And as we pray for the eradication of the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, pray also for that "space" the Church is called to provide where people can be welcomed and free to face themselves and be themselves without fear of rejection; where through loving care and support they can cope with their future. This calling is after the very example of Our Lord who reached out and "touched" (Mark 1: 40-41) the sick with love and mercy.
I encourage one and all to pray, to support the continuing work with HIV/AIDS, and to stand with all those who are pressuring world leaders, in the words of one of the Millennium Development Goals, "to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases." I issue this call in the name of him whose Advent sets us free, whose love brings healing and hope to all.