"An Ontario priest who opened up to his congregation last winter about his past struggles with alcoholism and depression says clergy might be more effective if they worry less about trying to seem flawless. 'We need to talk about our struggles', says the Rev. Matthew Martin, priest at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Lucan, Ont., diocese of Huron. 'If we do have something that we've been able to go through and overcome, then we need to be able to share that and not worry so much that we don't portray an image of perfection'. Many people -- especially, perhaps, since a CBC [Canadian Broadcasting Corporation] profile last November  -- now Martini for his impersonations of Elvis Presley, replete with sequined jumpsuit and pompadour" (p. 1). "Alcohol addiction eventually led him to absolute despair" (p. 4). Martin described the moment, in hospital, when 'God's grace washed over me' ... Since that time, Martin says in an interview, he has not touched alcohol. And although he had already begun reading and studying the Bible, he says, it was from that moment that he felt with certainty he was called to be a priest" (p. 4).
The diocese of New Westminster has become the first in Canada to adopt a formal policy and insurance plan for dealing with addicted clergy and staff. The policy points out that alcoholism and some forms of habitual drug abuse are treatable illnesses and advocates a pastoral, rather than punitive, approach.
See also "Beating alcholism saved priest's life" on pp. 1, 8.
"I am writing in appreciation for the article in the 'Anglican Journal' about the Rev. Matthew Martin's struggles with alcohol, 'Clergy should show their wounds, says priest who opened up about past alcoholism' (Oct. 2018, p. 1). As we priests show our vulnerability, so we will help give others the courage to show theirs. None of us is perfect. Jesus came for the imperfect. He also suffered himself, allowing himself to be vulnerable, so that we may know that he is with us in our vulnerability. I write as one who struggles with addiction. My father suffered from alcoholism to cover his pain. I take part in Al-Anon meetings, which are of great benefit to me".
"The menace of alcohol is much in the thoughts of the Canadian people today. There is reason that it should be. The main article in this Bulletin, while written by the General Secretary of this Department, carries only the same authority as the articles in all our other Bulletins, written by various people. It is a personal statement. Except where it may quote Resolutions of the Council or of General Synod, it is not in any way a pronouncement by the Church. The principal object of the writer is to point to the rising tide of drinking in this country, which figures and general experience indicate, and to underscore the opinion that Christian example and influence are needed to stem it. The article endeavours to point out ways in which that influence may be exerted." -- [Foreword].
Contents: [Foreword] / W.W. Judd -- Alcoholic Beverages and Christian Responsibility / W.W. Judd -- Addenda -- Pertinent Books in The Council's Library.
"During the whole course of the long discussion that has accompanied the enforcement of Prohibition in Canada, it has been the aim of the Editorial Board to present to readers of the Bulletin various aspects of the liquor question, judging that a real understanding of the problem involved was, of the most vital importance to the Church as a whole, and that it was the duty of the Council for Social Service to supply what information was possible on the subject. With that end in view no fewer than five of the series of Bulletins have been devoted to various aspects of the problem, and it is thought that a sixth, by way of summary may not be too many, in helping to focus opinion on what are really the pivotal points of the whole question, and perhaps be of service in clarifying the opinions of many on the very vexed problem involved" (p. 2). "We have attempted to give a dispassionate and fair statement of the case. We have outlined the main arguments against Prohibition and have shown the essential fallacies that underlie their reasoning. .... If alcohol is required for sickness it can be obtained through a doctor, the low is not tyrannous, it allows amply for any legitimate use of alcohol. One peculiarly bad feature of the anti-Prohibitionist campaign is the oft-repeated assertion that it is ultimately the aim of the movement to abolish the use of wine from the Holy Communion. This is simply untrue, and does not admit of argument one way or the other" (pp. 15-16). "The Church of England, as had often been remarked, has a peculiar sanity of its own. It may be slow and conservative, in the past it was undoubtedly reactionary, but its opinions on any subject are eminently worthy of the considered attention of everyone. There is no question that the decision of the Church of England in Canada has carried in the past and will still carry in the future great weight on the Prohibition question. The Church will arrive at that conclusion in its own way, uninfluenced by clamour on either side. That each member of the Church may be helped to a wise and judicial decision on the subject has been helped to a wise and judicial decision on the subject has been the sole aim of the Council for Social Service in publishing its series of Bulletins. It leaves the last word to be said by church-people themselves" (p. 16).
Contents divided into sub-sections: The Freedom of the Citizen -- The Difficulties of Enforcement -- The Use and Abuse of Alcohol -- The Use of Drugs -- The Removal of Temptation -- Compulsory Sobriety -- Social Discontent and Prohibition -- A Summary.
That this National Executive Council approves the recommended changes to Regulation 15 (as amended) to be effective December 1, 1986. CARRIED #45-11-86
Regulation 15 now reads:
15.2 (c) Disability shall not include alcoholism or any similar chemical dependency, psychoneurotic or behavioral disorders such as anxiety reactions, hysteria, phobic or obsessive compulsive reactions.
15.7 (a) Notwithstanding section 2(c) above, the Plan may receive benefit applications for disability resulting from alcoholism or similar chemical dependencies, provided:
(i) the member's physician states that the member is disabled as a result of such dependency;
(ii) that the member acknowledges, in writing, such dependency and states a desire to receive appropriate rehabilitation treatment;
(iii) that the bishop and/or the employer agrees to grant the member time for treatment for at least 12 months, if required, with job security and all employee benefits which could include, but not be limited to insurance, health care and dental care.
15.7 (b) If a disability benefit is awarded under this section it shall be for a maximum of 12 months and the Pension Office shall receive a medical report on the rehabilitation program during the seventh month of such benefits and such other times, during the 12 months, as may be requested by the Pension Office.
15.7 (c) No member shall be granted more than one disability benefit under the terms of this section.
That this General Synod of the Church of England in Canada express its deep interest and warm appreciation of the work that is being done by Alcoholics Anonymous in the treatment of Alcoholism. CARRIED in both Houses.
That, while recognizing that national and provincial control generally obtain in respect of the liquor traffic in Canada, the General Synod is not prepared to endorse at present any movement looking towards the nationalization and ownership of the traffic by Government and advises further study in this direction. Further, the Synod believes that the time is ripe for the Federal Authority to appoint a Royal Commission to study and report upon all phases of the liquor traffic in the light of modern medical and other scientific knowledge, the high complexity of the modern machine age, industrial life, and the rapid urbanization of society and urges the Federal Authority to appoint such a commission:
The General Synod in the meantime expresses its deep concern at the rapid increase in most provinces of the consumption of both malt liquors and spirits, with augmentation of ill effects to many areas of society, including youth, and to many phases of community life.
Further we appeal to our Church people to recognize the greatness of the evil and to set and maintain a standard in this matter consistent with their Christian profession. CARRIED in both Houses.