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.
Canon Robert Tuck is retiring after eleven years as editor of the "Anglican Free Press" which he founded with Canon Malcolm Westin when he felt that "the voice of traditional Anglicanism was not being heard in the officially sanctioned church press".
"Canadian Anglican bishops have responded to General Synod's provisional vote on same-sex marriage in starkly different ways: a number have called for prayers, some announced they will now allow religious weddings for same-sex couples and others have expressed anxiety about unity in the church". "The impact of the vote was undeniable. Some bishops and members of their dioceses were noticeably absent at the meeting's closing worship July 12 , including those who had walked out after it was announced that the same-sex marriage motion had passed".
OTTAWA (June 8) -- The Anglican Church of Canada's governing General Synod has affirmed the presence and contributions to the church of gay men and lesbians and condemned bigotry, violence and hatred directed against people because of their sexual orientation.
After a passionate, four-hour debate, the General Synod also strongly endorsed three other resolutions arising out of the report of a Task Force on Homosexuality and Homosexual Relationships, struck three years ago.
- The Synod urges parishes and diocese to "continue, deepen and adapt" the learning and dialogue on homosexuality and homosexual relationships throughout the church, and;
- Urged the Primate to encourage dialogue on homosexuality and homosexual relationships throughout the church, and;
- Asked the church's bishops to indicate whether they are or intend to review sexuality guidelines they formulated in 1979. (The guidelines say the church will not bless same-sex unions and that homosexual people may be ordained but must remain celibate.)
Most of the debate at General Synod centred on the first recommendation -- the affirmation of the presence and contributions of gay men and lesbians.
Some Synod members felt that the church would do an injustice to its members by affirming the contributions of some, but not all.
Other Synod members said they could support the language of the resolution despite concerns about appearing to sanction homosexuality. "This does not commit me to condoning homosexual behavior, nor does it change the doctrine of the church," one Synod member said.
Before approving the Task Force resolutions, Synod defeated several amendments aimed at broadening the affirmation or at being much more general by affirming all Christians regardless of sexual orientation.
One speaker said he opposed broadening the resolution because "that removes the names of the people we are talking about and my understanding of Christian tradition is that names are very important."
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Contact: Sam Carriere or Lorie Chortyk, Media Relations, General Synod. News Room: (613) 788-2600 ext. 2040 Cellular (613) 720-1468
The Anglican Church of Canada's chief governing body will be asked to affirm that the blessing of same-sex unions is within the authority of a diocesan synod and that any Canadian Anglican diocese, if the bishop agrees, has the authority to perform such blessings.
At a meeting March 4-7 , the Council of General Synod (CoGS) approved the wording of two motions that will be placed before the General Synod when it meets at the end of May . General Synod, made up of delegates from each of the church's 30 dioceses, is the church's main legislative and governing body. It meets every three years.
The blessing of same-sex unions has been a matter of controversy in the Canadian church since 2002, when the bishop of the British Columbia diocese of New Westminster agreed, after being asked three times by his diocesan synod, to authorize such blessings. The New Westminster decision has had repercussions throughout the worldwide Anglican Communion, which is badly divided on the issue.
The motion approved by CoGS at its spring meeting also invited General Synod to state that despite different deeply held convictions on the issue, Anglicans commit themselves "to strive for that communion into which Christ continually calls us".
The task before CoGS at its spring meeting was not to decide the issue, but simply to agree to the wording of motions to be sent to General Synod.
Despite the controversy over the issue, CoGS had no difficulty agreeing that General Synod should be asked to make a ruling at its 2004 meeting, rather than delay until 2007.
The full text of the motion follows:
A. Be it resolved that the Council of General Synod place the following motions before General Synod:
1) Blessing of Same-Sex Unions
Be it resolved that this General Synod:
1) Affirm that even in the face of deeply held convictions about whether the blessing of committed same-sex unions is contrary to the doctrine and teaching of the Anglican Church of Canada, we recognize that through our baptism we are members one of another in Christ Jesus, and we commit ourselves to strive for that communion into which Christ continually calls us.
2) Affirm the authority and jurisdiction of any diocesan synod, with the concurrence of its bishop, to authorize the blessing of committed same sex unions;
3) Affirm the crucial value of continued respectful dialogue and study of biblical, theological, liturgical, pastoral and social aspects of humans sexuality; and call upon all bishops, clergy and lay leaders to be instrumental in seeing that dialogue and study continue;
4) Affirm the principle of respect for the way in which the dialogue and study may be taking place, or might take place, in indigenous and various other communities within our church in a manner consistent with their cultures and traditions; and
5) Affirm that the Anglican Church is a church for all the baptized and is committed to taking such actions as are necessary to maintain and serve our fellowship and unity in Christ, including provision of adequate episcopal oversight and pastoral care for all, regardless of the perspective from which they view the blessing of committed same sex relationships.
2) Resources regarding Same Sex Unions
Be it resolved that this General Synod requests the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee in the next triennium to assist the church in implementing the resolution on same sex unions and to prepare resources for the church to use in addressing issues relating human sexuality, including the blessing of same-sex unions and the changing definition of marriage in society.
B. Be it resolved that the Council of General Synod affirm in principle the process for presentation of the resolutions to General Synod outlined in 006-27-04-03 and invite the General Secretary and the Prolocutor to work with Faith Worship and Ministry in preparing General Synod to address these resolutions.
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For more information, please contact: Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Director of Communications, 416-924-9199 ext. 306; 416-540-3653 (Cell); email@example.com OR
Eric Beresford, Ethics Consultant, Faith, Worship and Ministry, 416-924-9199 ext. 209; firstname.lastname@example.org
That, while it is evident that the variety of teaching and practice with the Church of England is rooted deeply in its history and contributes to the fullness and richness of its life, which we all share and treasure, nevertheless we appeal to all to refrain from unduly straining the limits of the wide tolerance which is given to us in the Book of Common Prayer, and to help forward the movements towards agreement between various schools of thought and practice in the Church by every means in their power. CARRIED in both Houses.
"In the following pages I discuss six controversies that I think are central to the history of the Anglican Church in Canada. I have given one chapter to each controversy, and each chapter includes not only an historical essay but also a few essential historical documents so that readers can grasp the historical flavor of Anglican life and thought in Canada" (p. [xi]). "I hope that this book will provisionally fill the need for a short survey history of the Anglican Church of Canada until something better comes along, something that looks at social history, worship, music, art and architecture, finance, models of pastoral care, the diversity of ministry, and so on. The last survey history, and probably the only one a reader would to consult now, is Archbishop Philip Carrington's `The Anglican Church in Canada', but that was published as long ago as 1963. Although it is readable and full of personality and has the merit of being structured as a chronological narrative, its statements of fact are not always reliable, and it focuses, in the old manner, on bishops and a few great clergy. Moreover, it downplays the conflicts that ordinary Anglicans experienced, the very realities that this book presents as being key to Anglican identity" (p. xii). -- Preface.
Contents: Series Editor's Preface / Peter W. Williams -- Preface -- Introduction -- Questions about Missionary Work -- Questions about the Church's Role in Society -- Questions about Church Governance -- Questions about Anglican Church Style -- Questions about the Church in the Modern World -- Questions about Gender in Anglican Life -- Epilogue -- Documents -- Bibliographic Essay.
Author is a priest of the Anglican Church of Canada and professor of Church History at Wycliffe College in Toronto.
Letter to Bishop Peters "about your decision last May to reject the ACPO [Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination] recommendations for Edward Rix and Jeffrey Reed and to refuse them postulancy in the Diocese of Nova Scotia on the basis of their position, or lack of a position, on the question of the ordination of women to the priesthood".