"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".
"In a written response to a statement issue by eight Canadian bishops expressing their dissent from General Synod's decision to move toward solemnizing same-sex marriages, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, pushed back against several of the points they had raised". "'The question you ask is really a question for all members of the church. To what extent can we and will we make room for one another ? To what extent will we pastorally accommodate one another ' Hiltz said in his letter". "Hiltz said that the motion, which was declared to have failed before being reversed the next day due to an error, was 'difficult', but it had allowed many synod members to 'experience the pain of another whose view on this matter is very different' in a 'very powerful way'." "The dissenting bishops' statement was released July 15  by then Bishop Stephen Andrews (Algoma); Bishop David Parsons (Arctic); Suffragan Bishop Darren McCartney (Arctic); Bishop Larry Robertson (Yukon); Bishop Fraser Lawton (Athabasca); and Bishop Michael Hawkins (Saskatchewan). Bishop David Edwards, of the diocese of Fredericton, was not an original signatory, but he added his name to the statement later".
"On the eve of General Synod's vote July 12  on a number of resolutions dealing with socially and environmentally responsible investing, members heard a first-hand account of some effects global warming has had on Canada's Inuit people. 'These are things that keep me up at night', Inuit leader Natan Obed said in an address to General Synod July 11 after describing some of the 'drastic changes' his people have witnessed in the Arctic environment in recent years". "General Synod also heard from Canon Ken Gray, secretary of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, and Kevin Thomas, director of shareholder engagement at SHARE [Shareholder Association for Research and Education], a Canadian organization that provides advice on responsible investing. The stewardship of creation, Gray said, is becoming 'increasingly central to our vocation as Anglican Christians'."
"It was out of consideration for the rest of the church, and not as an attempt to influence or pre-empt the process at General Synod, that the House of Bishops made public the unlikelihood of their order voting to allow same-sex marriage at General Synod this July , say some bishops. (See related stories, pp. 1 and 4.) Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said that although he's aware that the decision struck some people as though it was 'intended to scuttle things' -- to interfere with due process -- the bishops were, in fact, acting in good conscience. 'They took the higher road and were honest with the church', he said. The bishops' statement was 'an attempt to be forthright and honest', said Ottawa Bishop John Chapman in a pastoral letter he sent to his diocese. It would have been 'disrespectful to keep this knowledge hidden', he added". "Hiltz said the division was not clear-cut. When it comes to allowing same-sex marriage, the bishops seem to be thinking 'yes', 'no' and 'maybe' in roughly equal proportions, he said". "Bishop Michael Bird, of the diocese of Niagara, said that while he was among those who were 'mortified and devastated' by the realization that the bishops would not vote in favour of allowing same-sex marriage, he remains hopeful. 'I take heart in the commitment by the House of Bishops 'to explore other options for honouring and fully embracing covenanted, faithful same-sex relationships'. In a pastoral statement to his diocese, Bird said that he intends to 'prayerfully explore what that might mean for all of us in Niagara'".
"The church will appoint a task force for social and ecological investment -- including possibly, selling its existing investments in some companies. On July 12 , General Synod passed, by large majorities, two resolutions related to responsible investing. Resolution A171 calls on the church to form a task force 'as soon as possible' to review its investment policies; address governance practices of companies and sectors in which it invests; and develop 'guidelines for constructive dialogue, and where necessary divestment, leading towards a low carbon economy". "The other resolution, A170 calls on General Synod to sign the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing and to 'make full use of' its affiliate membership of the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE), while encouraging dioceses to become affiliate members also". "'We're in very different places across the country', said Dean Iain Luke, of the diocese of Athabasca. 'We have different stakes in these issues, so it's important that all those voices be heard'." "In some cases, action against companies deemed to be polluting ends up hurting its employees the most", said Jeremy Munn, a lay member from the diocese of Athabasca, and resident of Fort McMurray, Alberta. "Danielle McKenzie, a lay member also from Athabasca, said that although she favoured a review of the church's investments, she hoped any decisions would carefully take into account their impacts on the people who work in the fossil fuel and other industries".
"Canada's General Synod will be asked to look again at a proposal to remove a prayer for the conversion of the Jews from its Book of Common Prayer. The Synod rejected a similar motion in 2016, but in November , the synod's executive body -- the Council of General Synod (Cogs) -- agreed to put the matter before the Synod once more, when it next meets in 2019. The Bishop of Quebec, Bruce Myers, told a Cogs meeting in November  that 'a lack of context' could be why some Synod members voted against the motion. The Archbishop of Canada, Fred Hiltz, suggested that Cogs should take a lead in inviting the Synod reconsider the matter 'in a way that would be much more thorough in terms of background, contemporary context, and the solemn obligation of the church to be sensitive to dialogue with people of other faiths', the Province said". [Text of entire article.]
"Note. Jordan Sandrock, the subject of this article, identifies as neither male nor female and has asked to be referred to as 'they' rather than as 'he' or 'she'. Also the term 'queer' thought considered derogatory by some, is widely used to denote non-heterosexual people, often by non-heterosexual people themselves". "For many Canadian Anglicans, the church's debate and decision on changing its marriage canon were emotionally charged. For Sandrock, 19, who has been living openly as a non-binary person (identifying as neither male nor female) for about five years now, the result announced on the evening of July 11  felt like the church's verdict on their humanity".
"On February 29 , the House of Bishops dropped a bombshell when it issued a statement that they were 'not likely' to muster enough votes among themselves to pass a draft resolution allowing same-sex marriage in the Anglican Church of Canada". "Many of those dismayed by the move have asked why the bishops chose to disclose this information ahead of General Synod's vote. Some see it as an attempt to influence the outcome of the vote and derail the process. It did not help that the bishops deliberated behind closed doors, denying the rest of the church the benefit of context and perspective that is so critical to understanding a decision". "The primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, and other bishops maintain that their action was motivated solely by a desire to be honest and transparent. .... Ottawa Bishop John Chapman says it would have been 'disrespectful to keep [private] this knowledge'. One can understand the bishops' dilemma about whether or not to reveal their 'inability to come to a common mind in discerning what the Spirit is saying to the church'. Either way, they would have been excoriated". "What is clear, regardless of one's position on the issue, this is not the time to give in to frustration and despair, but to step back, pray and do some creative thinking".
"The church is, however, facing some tough struggles in the next three years leading up to 2019, when the motion to change the marriage canon to allow for same-sex marriages will be brought again to General Synod for final consideration. In the aftermath of the same-sex marriage vote, some things stood out: - Relationships will need to be rebuilt -- among bishops, among dioceses and among members .... - The House of Bishops will have to find a way out of this morass .... - Education about church polity is in order .... - There must be a rigorous process to ensure that votes are accurately counter and recorded". "The next three years will see periods of struggle for the church, yes. But struggling is a good thing. It is hard and it can get really messy, but it also means that the church is alive, trying to be better. It has been said time and time again that struggle, faced bravely and honestly, can lead to strength".
"It's not a foregone conclusion. As much as those in some quarters would have everyone believe, there's no telling how the 2016 General Synod will act on a motion to change the church's law so that clergy can marry same-sex couples. The answer will come in about nine months, when the church's governing body gathers for its triennial meeting in Toronto. But right now, there's work to be done, if the church hopes to arrive at a faithful and principled decision about this weighty matter". The 65-page report of the Commission on the Marriage Canon, with its recommendations, was released on 22 September 2015. "The report -- available online at the church's website, anglican.ca -- is also there for every Anglican in the pew to consider and explore, no matter what side they're on. Anticipating the need for guidance in understanding the report, the commission has prepared a summary of its work in a question-and-answer format, as well as a study guide for individuals and groups. The guide includes prayers and thoughtful questions designed to facilitate personal reflection and serious discourse on various sections of the report. It is now up to individual Anglicans, parishes and General Synod delegates to take advantage of this resource in the face of what is bound to be a momentous decision in 2016, now is not the time to bury one's head in the sand. Now is the time for honest engagement".