The decision to exclude the Anglican Church of Canada from two Anglican Consultative committees on which it does not sit is regrettable in principle but will have no practical effect, says Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, Primate of the Canadian church.
"We do regret the decision, although we note it was adopted by an extremely narrow margin," Archbishop Hutchison said. "Had out members and our American colleagues been allowed their vote, it would have failed. We regret that the Anglican Consultative Council made such a decision in a forum in which we are not being allowed to participate an in which we have no voice. There is, after all, a pretty fundamental democratic principle that says that when decisions are made that affect you, you are allowed to speak to them".
Archbishop Hutchison added: "Our hope is that the discussions and debates of the past few days will provide impetus for the discussion about homosexuality and the role of gays and lesbians in the church to begin in those parts of the Anglican Communion where they have not yet begun."
The Consultative Council approved a motion affirming a request made by the Primates of the Anglican Communion last February  that the Canadian and U.S. churches "voluntarily withdraw" their members from the meeting now underway.
The affirming motion stipulated, however, that the Primates' request that the Canadian and U.S. churches withdraw from the ACC should be interpreted as including participation on the standing committee, which meets between triennial sessions of the full council, and inter-Anglican finance and administration committee.
Neither Canada nor the United States have members on those two committees and since their members at this meeting are not participants, they are not eligible for election.
Earlier in the meeting, in response to another request made by the Primates, representatives of the Canadian church made a presentation explaining where it is on the controversial issue of blessing same-sex unions. The U.S. church made a similar presentation explaining how it came to consecrate an openly gay man as bishop.
Archbishop Hutchison, who is scheduled to return to Canada today, said he would be making a full report to the Canadian Church in a statement that will be issued early next week.
- 30 -
For more information, please contact: Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Director of Communications, 416-924-9199 ext. 306; email@example.com
That this General Synod affirms the attached statement of its discussions on human sexuality and requests the General Secretary to forward it to the Diocesan Bishops with the request that it will be distributed within each diocese.
CARRIED Act 70
The text of the statement follows:
SEXUALITY DISCERNMENT STATEMENT, GENERAL SYNOD 2010
The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada met in Halifax, Nova Scotia in June of 2010. Together we entered into intentional conversations in order to hear where our Church is at this time in its life in relation to the matter of blessing of same gender unions. Our conversations were marked by grace, honesty and generosity of spirit towards one another. There was robust participation in the conversations. In dialogue we shared our passion for the mission of God in the world and our thoughts, feelings and convictions. We were attentive to each others’ perspectives, experiences and stories and we shared a commitment to continued theological reflection and scriptural study as a foundation to our ongoing dialogue and discernment.
We engaged these conversations within the particularity of our Canadian context – a country that is diverse and many cultured. Canadians have been learning how to dialogue across their diversities over the course of our national life. We do so with deeply held commitments to transparency and openness, an approach that is not without risk and that we affirm as a great gift. Often, in processes of discernment, the task is to see our way through a paradox.
Our conversations affirmed the full inclusion of gay and lesbian members in our churches, aboriginal voices in our midst, and the wide range of perspectives on the issue of same gender blessings across all dioceses. Our dialogue has been a positive and helpful step in our discernment. At this time, however, we are not prepared to make a legislative decision. Above, in and through all of this, and despite all our differences we are passionately committed to walking together, protecting our common life.
We acknowledge diverse pastoral practices as dioceses respond to their own missional contexts. We accept the continuing commitment to develop generous pastoral responses. We recognize that these different approaches raise difficulties and challenges. When one acts there are implications for all. There can be no imposition of a decision or action, but rather we are challenged to live together sharing in the mission of Christ entrusted to us, accepting that different local contexts call at times for different local discernment, decision and action.
We are in a time of ongoing discernment which requires mutual accountability through continuing dialogue, diocese to diocese and across the wider church. It also requires continued theological and scriptural study and dialogue on the wide range of matters relating to human sexuality.
For many members of General Synod there is deep sadness that, at this time, there is no common mind. We acknowledge the pain that our diversity in this matter causes. We are deeply aware of the cost to people whose lives are implicated in the consequences of an ongoing discernment process. This is not just an =issue‘ but is about people‘s daily lives and deeply held faith commitments. For some, even this statement represents a risk. For some the statement does not go nearly far enough.
In the transparency and openness we have experienced with one another, we have risked vulnerability but it is in such places that we grow closer in the body of Christ and behold each other as gift. Abiding with each other, and with God we are sustained through struggle, patient listening, and speaking from the mind and heart together. We have experienced these conversations as a gift for us here at Synod and hope that they will be a further gift to the Anglican Church of Canada and to the wider Church.
Moved by Canon H.-R. Houldcroft, seconded by Bishop J. Cruickshank,
That this General Synod affirms the presence and contributions of gay and lesbian Christians in the life of the church and condemns bigotry, violence and hatred directed toward any due to their sexual orientation.
Moved by Archbishop D. Crawley, seconded by Bishop R. Townshend,
That the word "men" be inserted after "gay", the letter "s" be added to the word "lesbian", and the word "Christians" be deleted. CARRIED
Moved by Bishop R. Ferris, seconded by Rev. A. Hoskin,
That after "General Synod" in the first line, the words "while not condoning homosexual behaviour" be added.
Amendment to the Amendment
Moved by Dean H. Munn, seconded by Canon N. Carver,
That the word "homosexual" be replaced with the words "irresponsible sexual" (before behaviour). DEFEATED
The amendment was then put and DEFEATED.
The motion as amended now reads:
That this General Synod affirms the presence and contributions of gay men and lesbians in the life of the church and condemns bigotry, violence and hatred directed toward any due to their sexual orientation.
Moved by Rev. B. Cane, seconded by Rev. T. Carmen,
That, after the word "affirms", add "all persons, regardless of their sexual orientation, in the life of the church and repents of our bigotry", deleting the words "the presence and contributions of gay men and lesbians".
Debate was suspended (see below).
Debate resumed on this resolution.
Suspension of the Rules of Order
Moved by Rev. I. Luke, seconded by Mr. M. Clarke,
That the Rules of Order be suspended for the purpose of limiting debate as follows:
1. a maximum of 30 minutes be allocated for further debate;
2. no further amendments be received; and
3. remaining speakers be limited to two minutes. CARRIED
The suspended amendment was returned and reads as follows:
Motion for Secret Ballot
Moved by Ms. E. Archambault, seconded by Mr. C. Arthur,
That the motion and amendment be voted on by secret ballot and that the votes be recorded. DEFEATED
Motion to Extend Debate
Moved by Mr. M. Clarke, seconded by Ms. E. Archambault,
That debate be extended on the above resolution until 8:30 pm. DEFEATED
A vote by Orders was then requested and this was agreed to by six members of Synod.
The amended motion was then put as follows:
That this General Synod affirms the presence and contributions of gay men and lesbians in the life of the church and condemns bigotry, violence and hatred directed toward any due to their sexual orientation. CARRIED IN ALL ORDERS Act 57
On behalf of the Metropolitans, Archbishop O'Driscoll requested input from the House of Bishops about those who would be permitted to attend the in camera study sessions on the church and sexuality.
That the House of Bishops' study sessions on sexuality, include its members, plus the Reverend Gordon Light, Principal Secretary to the Primate; Ms. Jo Mutch, Executive Assistant to the Primate; Mr. Douglas Tindal, Director of Communications, and Archdeacon Jim Boyles, General Secretary." CARRIED
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.
The Anglican Church's House of Bishops, meeting here since Monday, this morning asked a small committee to propose a process for the church to address issues of human sexuality, including the bishops' statements of 1978 and 1979. The committee will report back on Sunday.
The 43 bishops from across Canada spent this morning responding to a request from the church's National Executive Council, meeting in November 1990, that "the House of Bishops update its 1979 statements on human sexuality and ordination of persons of homosexual orientation."
Professor James Reed, Director of the Toronto School of Theology, began the morning with a presentation on the scriptural and doctrinal bases of the church's teaching on sexuality.
He said the question for the Christian is, "How, in light of our scriptural and theological tradition, do we make responsible sexual and moral decisions?"
Professor Reed said there are four ethical considerations which should apply in making decisions about sexual behaviour.
First, look at the motivation of the activity. Sexual acts should be motivated by love and justice.
Second, what are the objectives of the activity? Sexuality should strive to contribute to the wholeness of the persons concerned. "Will this act foster a sense of being at one with oneself and with God?"
Third, assess the inherent rightness or wrongness of the act: Sexual activity should not be debasing or cruel.
Fourth, discern the outcomes of the act: What will happen when I do this, both for myself and my community?
The bishops worked in small discussion groups focussing on their understanding of the authority and interpretation of scripture, and the strengths and weaknesses of their current statements.
The results of the small group discussions have been forwarded to the subcommittee who will bring proposals when the discussion resumes on Sunday.
For further information, contact: Doug Tindal, Director of Communications, (416) 540-3653.
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.
- 30 -
For more information, please contact: Michael Thompson, Principal Secretary to the Primate, 416-924-9199 ext. 277, firstname.lastname@example.org, OR Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Director of Communications, 416-924-9199 ext. 306; 416-540-3653 (Cell); email@example.com
TORONTO (May 3, 1996) -- Anglican bishops have sent a message to the House of Commons expressing their support for human rights amendments banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.
"This is based on the church's belief that all persons are created in the image of God and that Christ died for all," the bishops said in a statement.
They added: "This statement is consistent with the existing policy of the Canadian House of Bishops since 1979, reaffirmed by the General Synod in 1995, that condemns bigotry, violence and hatred directed towards anyone due to their sexual orientation.
"We wish to make it clear to the church that this action does not change the current status of the 1979 statement with respect to the ordination of homosexual persons. This continues to be a matter of discussion and theological reflection within the House as within the church at large. No change of doctrine and discipline is being implied. Rather the Gospel imperative of love, compassion and justice is being upheld which continues to be the call of every Christian."
The House of Bishops is an assembly of all active Canadian Anglican bishops. It normally meets twice a year.
Earlier this week, a similar statement of support for the legislation was released on behalf of the church's governing body by Archdeacon Jim Boyles, General Secretary of General Synod.
- 30 -
Contact Rev. Gordon Light, principal secretary to the Primate, (416) 924-9199 ext. 277; Doug Tindal, Director of Communications (416) 924-9199 ext. 286; 905-335-8349 (residence)
The national House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada has placed the issue of homosexuality on the agenda of its meeting in Mississauga, Ontario from November 4-10.
The purpose of the discussion will be:
"To identify issues that need to be examined about the 1979 Statements on Human Sexuality and to set out a process for doing this, with appropriate timelines."
The statements of the bishops in 1979 act as guidelines affecting the ordination of homosexuals to the diaconate and priesthood of the Anglican Church of Canada. The guidelines require persons of homosexual orientation, as a condition for ordination, to make a commitment to the bishop to abstain from sexual acts with persons of the same sex.
The discussion will take place in the context of a wider debate within the church on issues of human rights and human sexuality. In recent years, the bishops have been asked to review their policy by members of the gay and lesbian community within the Anglican church. Also, questions have been raised by bishops themselves about the status of the guidelines if a proposed document on "Human Rights Principles for the Anglican Church of Canada" drafted by the church's own Human Rights Unit should be adopted by the General Synod next year. The document seeks to prohibit discrimination in the church on several grounds, including sexual orientation.
Ordination in the Anglican Church of Canada is solely within the jurisdiction of the bishops. This is different from the United Church of Canada which has another process of selection and approval of candidates.
The discussion at the meeting in November will be held "in camera". The resource person will be the Reverend Professor James Read, Director of the Toronto School of Theology and editor of a series of theological, biblical and ethical reflections on human sexuality published by the Anglican Church in 1986 ["A Study Resource on Human Sexuality: Approaches to Sexuality and Christian Theology."]
It is expected that a news release will be issued following the November meeting.
For more information contact: The Reverend Michael Ingham, Principal Secretary to the Primate, 600 Jarvis Street, Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 2J6, (416) 924-9192; Mr. Doug Tindal, Director of Communications, 600 Jarvis Street, Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 2J6, (416) 924-9192.
See 1979 House of Bishops Statements on Human Sexuality Draft Human Rights Principles.