The Prolocutor took the Chair while the Primate introduced Mrs. Phyllis Creighton, author of the Report. Mrs. Creighton urged careful examination both of the Report and of the continuing genetic and bio-chemical research and experimentation.
That this General Synod receives the Report "Artificial Insemination by Donor, a Study of Ethics, Medicine, and Law in our Technological Society" and commends it for study in the Church and the community.
The Motion was then put and CARRIED ACT 56
Mrs. Creighton responded to questions and observations from members of the Synod.
Dr. J. Reed reviewed the present situation, reminding the Bishops that the Report was prepared by a Committee of the National Executive Council to which body it will be presented in November, 1985.
Dr. Reed invited the members of the House to make recommendations regarding possible changes and actions. He said that the Paper which he wrote is factual while Mrs. Phyllis Creighton's Paper deals with social justice. Dr. Reed reviewed his Paper, and invited comments and suggestions. He said that he would be pleased to make revisions in the light of the Bishops' reflections.
There was discussion on the statement of the Archbishop of Canterbury who said that he regards the homosexual person as a handicapped person who has gifts which need to be recognized and used within the Christian community. Dr. Reed noted that page seven regarding origins of sexual orientation touches upon this area of concern.
The Bishops recognized that this is a very complex subject, and thanked Dr. Reed for his useful Paper. It was recognized that there is a great deal which is, at present, unknown about the condition. Dr. Reed said that treatment and healing are very complicated and it is essential to determine what sort of help people are seeking. Dr. Reed said that there is undebatable evidence that some people are able to change their sexual orientation, but the specialists are not clear about what the nature of that healing is.
Dr. Reed stressed that the important issue is what the Church is going to decide about discipline. He stressed that guidelines for ethical behaviour are the same for all.
The Primate reminded the House that the Church's model has traditionally been one of responsible relationships within marriage of a man and a woman. He said that we must recognize that there is no strong evidence as to whether homosexuality is cultural or genetic in origin.
There was agreement that Dr. Reed's Paper should be included in the study material, and it was agreed that suggested revisions should be conveyed to Dr. Reed. Dr. Reed recommended that the introductory section should be expanded and the Bishops agreed that Dr. Reed should proceed with the elaboration.
That Phyllis Creighton be asked to re-write her paper to deal only with the social justice issues, in the light of the acceptance of Dr. Reed's paper. The present Task Force be augmented to deal with the Paper prior to the November, 1985 meeting of the National Executive Council. CARRIED #16-9-85
Dean Nock, in introducing the report of the Task Force on Human Life on Abortion, noted General Synod, 1971, Resolution which called for the establishment of the Task Force, and General Synod, 1973, Resolution requesting the Task Force to produce a report for November NEC on Abortion.
The Primate introduced those members of the Task Force present: Rev. P. Chidwick - Chairman, Rev. P. Gibson, Miss Betty C. Graham, Mr. H. Allan Leal, Mr. S.E. Kingstone, Dr. C.R. Feilding, Dr. David McCallion, Mrs. Phyllis Creighton, Dr. Eugene Fairweather.
Mr. Chidwick, in his introductory remarks, noted that the Task Force will address itself in the future to such pertinent areas of concern as transplantation, cloning, euthanasia, artificial insemination by donor, and stated that the Task Force would be pleased to submit further Papers to the NEC.
Mrs. Phyllis Creighton, in speaking to the Report on behalf of the Task Force, noted three major areas to which the Task Force had given consideration; the Law, the Church's role, and the Community.
Following a period of discussion and dialogue with members of the Task Force the following action was taken.
That this National Executive Council receive the Report on Abortion of the Task Force on Human Life with appreciation to the members of the Task Force for their efforts, insights and recommendations;
That we endorse those recommendations and express the hope that the Task Force will continue its work within the original terms of reference;
And that we commend the Report to the Church, the Government and the Community for study, and that it be referred to the Program Committee to publish and implement the Report in close cooperation with the Task Force on Human Life. CARRIED
In closing, the Primate thanked the members of the Task Force for their presence, and for their generous gifts of interdisciplinary expertise represented in the Report on Abortion. Archbishop Scott paid special tribute to Mrs. Phyllis Creighton who edited and compiled the Report, and presented Mrs. Creighton with a floral token of appreciation on behalf of the members of the National Executive Council.