The decision to exclude the Anglican Church of Canada from two Anglican Consultative committees on which it does not sit is regrettable in principle but will have no practical effect, says Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, Primate of the Canadian church.
"We do regret the decision, although we note it was adopted by an extremely narrow margin," Archbishop Hutchison said. "Had out members and our American colleagues been allowed their vote, it would have failed. We regret that the Anglican Consultative Council made such a decision in a forum in which we are not being allowed to participate an in which we have no voice. There is, after all, a pretty fundamental democratic principle that says that when decisions are made that affect you, you are allowed to speak to them".
Archbishop Hutchison added: "Our hope is that the discussions and debates of the past few days will provide impetus for the discussion about homosexuality and the role of gays and lesbians in the church to begin in those parts of the Anglican Communion where they have not yet begun."
The Consultative Council approved a motion affirming a request made by the Primates of the Anglican Communion last February  that the Canadian and U.S. churches "voluntarily withdraw" their members from the meeting now underway.
The affirming motion stipulated, however, that the Primates' request that the Canadian and U.S. churches withdraw from the ACC should be interpreted as including participation on the standing committee, which meets between triennial sessions of the full council, and inter-Anglican finance and administration committee.
Neither Canada nor the United States have members on those two committees and since their members at this meeting are not participants, they are not eligible for election.
Earlier in the meeting, in response to another request made by the Primates, representatives of the Canadian church made a presentation explaining where it is on the controversial issue of blessing same-sex unions. The U.S. church made a similar presentation explaining how it came to consecrate an openly gay man as bishop.
Archbishop Hutchison, who is scheduled to return to Canada today, said he would be making a full report to the Canadian Church in a statement that will be issued early next week.
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"An attempt to eject Anglicans from the US and Canada from all meetings of the Anglican Communion for the next three years was narrowly defeated on Wednesday". "The ACC [Anglican Consultative Council] delegates went into a closed session on Wednesday afternoon, which stretched an hour over time. Eventually it emerged that they had held a secret ballot about the clause. It was rejected by 30 votes to 28, with four abstentions". "The original resolution had been proposed by Stanley Isaacs (South East Asia), and supported by representatives from several other African provinces, among them the Most Rev. Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria. The only English supporter was Elizabeth Paver". "The other significant vote on Wednesday was to change the ACC constitution to include the 37 Primates as ex-officio members. The move will increasing the member from 70 to 115, and tip the balance heavily towards ordained members".
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has announced the membership and terms of reference for a Commission "to look at life in the Anglican Communion in the light of recent events". Members are to be appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Commission will be chaired by the Most Rev. Robin Eames, Archbishop of Armagh and Senior Primate of the Communion. "It will take particular account of the decision to authorise a service for use in connection with same sex unions in the Diocese of New Westminster, Canada, and the expected Consecration of the Revd Canon V. Gene Robinson as Bishop Co-adjutor of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church (U.S.A.) on Sunday, November 2nd ." The Commission will report by October 2004 prior to the meetings of the Primates and Anglican Consultative Council.
On 2 November 2003, over 3,000 people including 54 bishops and ecumenical guests, gathered at the Whittemore Center, part of the University of New Hampshire, Durham, to consecrate V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, as bishop coadjutor of New Hampshire. Objections were read by Meredith Harwood, a parishioner of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Ashland N.H. and the Rt. Rev. David Bena, Suffragan Bishop of Albany. Bishop Griswold the chief presider allowed the consecration to continue saying: "one of the African Primates at the meeting in Lambeth Palace [two weeks ago] had said that the Holy Spirit can be doing different things in different places and I think that's precisely what we are doing here". The consecration drew strong criticism from many in the Communion including the Sub-Dean of the Anglican Cathedral in Harare, Zimbabwe, and the American Anglican Council. It was also affirmed by the organization Changing Attitude and by the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. "Bishop Robinson told the congregation that, although he felt deeply honoured, he urged compassion towards church members angered and upset by his consecration."
"The Anglican Church of Canada hosted the third Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue in June . It grew out of Lambeth 2008, which uncovered divisions on the issue of human sexuality and same-sex relationships. The group was originally organized by Archbishop Colin Johnson of the diocese of Toronto. 'There's a real commitment and a deep recognition that we need each other', said Archbishop Johnson". [Text of entire article.]
"We are a group of theologians who work mostly in a university context, and in theological education. .... Out of a basic belief that the Church of England should be able to move to a position of greater toleration of faithful, stable gay relationships, we want to lay out for those outside the academy, as well as within it, reasons why we believe this is a debate worth having in the church. It is the conviction of the authors of this volume that, for all that this is an issue on which there are serious matters of principle on both sides, and for all that the symbolic nature of the confrontation of Christian faith and modernity is very acute, this is not actually a decisive question for the survival of Christian faith itself, nor for the survival of the Church of England and of Anglicanism more widely". -- Intro., pp. 2-3.
Contents divided into four main parts: The Use of Scripture -- History and Tradition -- Reason and Personhood -- The Wider Horizon.
Contents: List of Contributors -- Foreword / Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus -- Introduction / Duncan Dormor and Jeremy Morris -- Whose text is it anyway ? Limit and freedom in interpretation / Maggi Dawn -- Threat and promise: the Old Testament on sexuality / Andrew Mein -- The call of Christ: reading the New Testament / Arnold Browne -- The Church and change: tradition and development / Jeremy Morris -- Godly conversation: marriage, the companionate life and the Church of England / Jessica Martin -- Friends, companions and bedfellows: sexuality and social change / Duncan Dormor -- Thinking about Christ's body; thinking about his face / Jessica Martin -- 'Neither male nor female': the case of intersexuality / John Hare -- Psychology and orientation: being human within culture and history / Arnold Browne -- Sex and the city: economics, morality and counter-cultural living / Malcolm Brown -- HIV/AIDS: the real challenge for the Anglican Communion ? / Michael Beasley -- Selling body and soul in the 'fantasy economy' / Duncan Dormor -- Afterword: listening in the pews / Duncan Dormor and Jeremy Morris -- Further reading -- Index of biblical references -- Index of subjects.