On behalf of the writing group, Ms. Leila Zimmer presented Recommendations to COGS on Questions of Sexuality, Document #006-13-09-05B. The Primate led Council through a detailed review of the document. Council worked its way through each section, making revisions and agreeing to them by consensus. It also agreed on the title, A Word to the Church on Questions of Human Sexuality from the Council of General Synod Meeting May 2009.
Council adopted by consensus, the statement A Word to the Church on Questions of Human Sexuality from the Council of General Synod Meeting May 2009.
ADOPTED BY CONSENSUS #15-05-09
The statement is attached as Appendix C.
A Word to the Church on Questions of Human Sexuality from the Council of General Synod Meeting May 2009
1. The Council of General Synod considered the work that has been done in fulfillment of the resolutions of General Synod 2007 regarding sexuality and reached consensus that this is not the time to ask General Synod to amend the marriage canon to allow for the marriage of same-sex couples.
2. In light of ‘The Galilee Report’ of the Primate’s Theological Commission http://www.anglican.ca/primate/ptc/galilee/1-report.htm, which reflects the diversity of opinion and lack of consensus in the Anglican Church of Canada about whether ‘the blessing of same-sex unions is a faithful, Spirit-led development of Christian doctrine’, the Council believes that further work needs to be done on outstanding questions which include:
- any distinction between a blessing and a nuptial blessing
- any distinctions among marriage, the blessing of a civil marriage, and the blessing of a union
- the theological significance of blessing the civil marriage of a same-sex couple.
3. The Council
- commends ‘The Galilee Report’ and its accompanying materials to the church for study
- thanks the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee for ‘The Rothesay Report’ and requests the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee to expand it to include a broader spectrum of theological thought on the question of the marriage of same-sex couples.
4. The Council:
- celebrates the work that Faith Worship and Ministry staff have done to establish conversations on sexuality between dioceses in Canada and dioceses in Africa, and urges all Canadian dioceses, especially those in companion relationships, to enter into these conversations as a contribution to the Communion Listening Process
- encourages Canadian dioceses to engage in similar conversations with each other
- commends the work of the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee in developing the national focus group process and ‘a flexible framework’ for the study of human sexuality http://www.anglican.ca/faith/hs/index.htm.
5. The Council directs the General Synod Planning Committee to build a listening process into the agenda for General Synod 2010 regarding sexuality, which would include, among other things:
- the presentation of all the work done in response to the General Synod 2007 resolutions on sexuality
- dioceses having an opportunity to share their experience of addressing questions of sexuality in their mission context.
6. The Council proposes to develop a resolution to go to General Synod that would:
- affirm the House of Bishops 2007 Guidelines on Pastoral Generosity (as a pastoral response within the context of local mission) http://news.anglican.ca/news/stories/1727
- ask for continued study, discussion and discernment within the church of what God is saying to us about publicly authorized rites for the blessing of unions, the blessing of the civil marriages, and marriage in the church, of same-sex couples.
That General Synod affirms the authority and jurisdiction of any Diocesan Synod with the concurrence of their Diocesan Bishop to make a decision whether to proceed with the blessing of committed same sex unions within their diocese or jurisdictional context.
Consensus was not reached regarding this proposal.
The discussion continued.
It was proposed:
That the Council of General Synod approve the proposed Sexuality Discernment Process for the conversation at General Synod 2010, as presented by the Chair of the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee. ADOPTED BY CONSENSUS #05-03-10
Chancellor David Jones, Chair of the Governance Working Group (GWG), presented the report. The GWG had consulted broadly and kept the principle of 'changing as little as possible to achieve the goal' front and centre in its work.
Chancellor Jones led the Council through an overview of the report, file by file.
That this Council of General Synod receive the Report of the Governance Working Group and convey the contained Resolutions to General Synod 2010. CARRIED #12-11-09
Dr. Randall Fairey spoke of the historic significance of bringing fundamental Canadian Indigenous structures into the Constitution.
That this Council of General Synod recommend to General Synod 2010 the enactment of the draft Canon on the National Indigenous Ministry (GS2010-GWG-6). CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY #13-11-09
On behalf of the whole church, the Primate thanked the group for its work in responding to the request of General Synod 2007. He commended the GWG on the amount of travel, consultation, listening and revising it had done. He thanked Chancellor Jones [for] the clear and precise presentation and Dr. Randall Fairey on the passion with which he presented the National Indigenous Ministries file. Council demonstrated its appreciation of the GWG's work with a standing ovation.