That this General Synod adopt the following "Covenant of Protection" as policy and direct the Council of the General Synod to develop a process for implementation.
Since 1949, General Synod has been urging Canadian and foreign governments to conform their policies to principles of Universal Human Rights. This position of the church is deeply rooted in Scripture.
In the first chapter of Genesis we read that all human beings have been made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). We conclude from this that all human beings, regardless of their background, identity, status, ability, accomplishment or belief have a fundamental dignity which comes from God. All members of the Anglican Church affirm this position when, in the words of our baptismal covenant we promise to "strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being."
As Christians, we also acknowledge with St. Paul that we have done those things we ought not to have done and we have not done those things we ought to have done. We are sinners and we need to build into the structures of our common life the same standards of right behaviour and safeguards against discrimination that we demand of others. We do this in the knowledge that the real test of our support for human rights is how we treat the minorities in our midst -- the poor, the stranger, the outcast and the foreigner (Matthew 25:40).
In the summary of the Law recorded in the Gospel of Mark, we are told by Jesus that we must love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength, and love our neighbours as ourselves (Mark 12:29-31). From this we understand that Christians are a covenant community called by God to join others in protecting the rights of all persons in society and in the church. One of the ways we do this is by ensuring that our own processes of participation and deliberation are fair and transparent.
COVENANT OF PROTECTION
The Anglican Church of Canada enters into a Covenant of Protection with its members, with its employees, and with those who seek the services of the church, in order to protect vulnerable persons. We call this Covenant, "Human Rights Principles."
1. The right to be treated with courtesy, compassion and integrity
All persons who seek the services of the church, including sacraments, counsel and pastoral care, shall be treated with courtesy, compassion and integrity by the church and its representatives or officials, without discrimination on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, family or marital status, race, colour, ethnic (or place of) origin, ancestry, disability, creed or socio-economic status.
2. The right to fair treatment
a) All persons receiving educational, medical or financial assistance from the church shall be treated fairly and without discrimination on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, family or marital status, race, colour, ethnic (or place of) origin, ancestry, disability, creed or socio-economic status.
b) All persons occupying church property or being accommodated in institutions provided by or governed by the church shall be treated fairly within the stated purposes of these institutions and without discrimination on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, family or marital status, race, colour, ethnic (or place of) origin, ancestry, disability, creed or socio-economic status.
3. The right to vote
All baptized persons who qualify, in accordance with the relevant canons and constitutions, shall be eligible to vote at General Meetings of their Parish and Synod without discrimination on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, family or marital status, race, colour, ethnic (or place of) origin, ancestry, disability, or socio-economic status.
4. The right to be considered for election
All baptized persons who qualify, in accordance with the relevant canons and constitutions, are eligible to hold elected positions in the church without discrimination on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, family or marital status, race, colour, ethnic (or place of ) origin, ancestry, disability, or socio-economic status.
5. The right to be considered for service
All baptized persons who qualify, in accordance with the relevant canons, constitutions and guidelines, shall be eligible to have their vocations tested and to be considered for service in the life and on the committees of the church without discrimination on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, family or marital status, race, colour, ethnic (or place of) origin, ancestry, disability, or socio-economic status.
6. The rights of employees
All persons employed by the church in positions not requiring ordination shall be employed on the basis of ability, skills and experience appropriate to the position without discrimination on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, family or marital status, race, colour, ethnic (or place of) origin, ancestry, disability, or socio-economic status. [Revised 11 November 1999 -- See GS minutes pg. 58. The amendment to leave these words out was defeated but when re-transcribed the words were left out.]
Six members of Synod requested a vote by orders, in accordance with Section III of the Rules of Order and Procedure.
The resolution was then put in the Order of Laity and - CARRIED
The resolution was then put in the Order of Clergy and - CARRIED
The resolution was then put in the Order of Bishops and - DEFEATED Act 78
The Prolocutor confirmed that the resolution had been Defeated.
[Correction of General Synod minutes by Chancellor Ron Stevens amended first sentence in paragraph 6 on p. 104 to be the same as paragraph 6 on p. 55. Correspondence dated 15 November 1999 laid in original General Synod Journal of Proceedings.]
Act 5 of the 36th General Session of the General Synod, held in Waterloo, Ontario, p. 19 enacted the following: "That the minutes of the 35th Session of the General Synod, held in Montreal, Quebec, May 21-29, 1998, as printed in the Journal and as approved by the Certification of Minutes Committee, be adopted subject to the insertion of the words "in positions not requiring ordination" in the first line of paragraph numbered 6 on page 104. CARRIED Act 5"
The national House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada has placed the issue of homosexuality on the agenda of its meeting in Mississauga, Ontario from November 4-10.
The purpose of the discussion will be:
"To identify issues that need to be examined about the 1979 Statements on Human Sexuality and to set out a process for doing this, with appropriate timelines."
The statements of the bishops in 1979 act as guidelines affecting the ordination of homosexuals to the diaconate and priesthood of the Anglican Church of Canada. The guidelines require persons of homosexual orientation, as a condition for ordination, to make a commitment to the bishop to abstain from sexual acts with persons of the same sex.
The discussion will take place in the context of a wider debate within the church on issues of human rights and human sexuality. In recent years, the bishops have been asked to review their policy by members of the gay and lesbian community within the Anglican church. Also, questions have been raised by bishops themselves about the status of the guidelines if a proposed document on "Human Rights Principles for the Anglican Church of Canada" drafted by the church's own Human Rights Unit should be adopted by the General Synod next year. The document seeks to prohibit discrimination in the church on several grounds, including sexual orientation.
Ordination in the Anglican Church of Canada is solely within the jurisdiction of the bishops. This is different from the United Church of Canada which has another process of selection and approval of candidates.
The discussion at the meeting in November will be held "in camera". The resource person will be the Reverend Professor James Read, Director of the Toronto School of Theology and editor of a series of theological, biblical and ethical reflections on human sexuality published by the Anglican Church in 1986 ["A Study Resource on Human Sexuality: Approaches to Sexuality and Christian Theology."]
It is expected that a news release will be issued following the November meeting.
For more information contact: The Reverend Michael Ingham, Principal Secretary to the Primate, 600 Jarvis Street, Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 2J6, (416) 924-9192; Mr. Doug Tindal, Director of Communications, 600 Jarvis Street, Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 2J6, (416) 924-9192.
See 1979 House of Bishops Statements on Human Sexuality Draft Human Rights Principles.
MONTREAL (May 29, 1998) -- In a nine-day meeting here, the Anglican Church of Canada's chief governing body approved legislation bringing the church closer to Lutherans, opposing euthanasia and cloning, and expressing the church's support to partner churches in several oppressed or war-torn countries.
The church also approved motions asking for government action on several social policy issues.
In the first meeting it has held in Montreal in 30 years, the 300-member General Synod also spent a considerable amount of time reflecting on "nation and identity" and on what it means to be a minority voice in a society as diverse as Canada's.
The theme of this General Synod, a body which meets every three years in a different part of the country, was "Lift every voice -- Faisons entendre nos voix" which was meant to help members focus on those who are often ignored or unheard.
In his opening address at the start of the synod, Archbishop Michael Peers, the primate, set the tone when he told delegates that one of the least heard voices in the Canadian Anglican church was that of French Canada. He challenged synod members to pay particular attention to that voice during the gathering.
Synod members spent a whole evening listening to panel members representing different voices or geographical parts of the country speak about what it means to be a part of the Canadian whole.
Synod members also heard a presentation from the church's indigenous members, a group that is working to implement a "Native Covenant" which would give it greater autonomy within the church.
Host bishop Andrew Hutchison of Montreal delivered a major address in which he expressed the difficulties involved in leading a church that represents a very small number of Anglophones in an overwhelmingly Francophone province.
In his speech, Bishop Hutchison also argued that while the church has no mandate to play a role in partisan politics, it is bound by conscience to take strong positions on matters involving principles such as peace, justice and reconciliation.
Synod members took him to heart, passing more than a dozen resolutions affirming the Canadian church's stand against oppression, injustice, violence and war in several parts of the world.
Through some of these resolutions, the Canadian Anglican church offered expressions of solidarity to partner churches and the people of Kenya, Sudan and Columbia [sic i.e. Colombia] who suffer from war or political oppression. Members voted to ask Ottawa to play a greater mediation role between Cuba and the United States.
Meeting the week that Pakistan exploded a number of nuclear devices in response to similar tests carried out by India, synod delegates called on the Canadian government to renounce the use of nuclear weapons and to exert pressure on other governments to do so as well.
They voted to ask the church's ecojustice committee to produce resources to enable Canadian congregations "to study the Just War theory and its implications for Christian response to war and militarism".
Members also called on the federal government to initiate a broad process of public consultation whenever it negotiates multilateral agreements on investment and trade and to consider the implications of such pacts, especially on the most disadvantaged members of society such as the elderly, the very young and indigenous peoples.
Members also voted to ask the Prime Minister to apologize to Inuit people displaced from traditional hunting areas on the east coast of Hudson Bay and Baffin Island to the High Arctic in the 1950s.
In the area of social policy, General Synod approved [a] resolution saying it cannot support euthanasia and assisted suicide. The resolution described such measures as "a failure of human community".
The church also called on Ottawa to prohibit the cloning of human beings.
The resolution with what may have the broadest impact for the Anglican community itself, was one commending for study a report urging "full communion" between Canadian Anglicans and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
Full communion would not be an actual merger of the two churches, but means that each would recognize the other's clergy, rites and sacraments. It could lead to extensive sharing of resources and even personnel between the two denominations. Reactions to that report will be gathered by both churches in the next three years and considered again when their respective governing bodies next meet in the year 2001.
One of the most arduous parts of the proceedings, held in a sweltering gymnasium at McGill University, was a debate on "human rights principles" for church members and employees that would have legislated protection from discrimination on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, family or marital status, race, colour, ethnic origin, ancestry, disability, creed and socio-economic status.
The often emotional debate on that resolution stretched over three days and the proposal was ultimately narrowly defeated after synod members failed to agree on a way to marry theological concerns to language more commonly associated with civil courts proceedings.
General Synod, which consists of bishops, clergy and lay people elected to the task in each of the church's 30 dioceses, meets every three years.
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Contact: Sam Carriere or Lorie Chortyk, General Synod News Room (514) 398-5192; Cell phones: (514) 953-7981 (Carriere) or (514) 953-8091 (Chortyk)
The Primate reminded the Bishops that the document "Human Rights Principles for the Anglican Church of Canada" was referred to the House of Bishops by the National Executive Council in May, 1987.
Material prepared by the Alberta Bishops and the Toronto College of Bishops was distributed, along with papers by Chancellor Hemmerick and Professor Ryan.
Archbishop Garnsworthy, Bishops K. Clarke, R. Hatton, T. Finlay and L. Peterson formed a panel to discuss the document.
During the discussion, the desirability and necessity for such a document were identified as areas of concern. It was agreed that Bishops Fricker, Hatton, Goodings and Archbishop Bothwell be requested to draft a suggested Resolution to be brought forward later in this meeting of the House.
That this House of Bishops, after due consideration of the document, Human Rights Principles for the Anglican Church of Canada, requests the Primate to appoint some of its members to meet with a similar number from the Human Rights Unit to further discuss the document. CARRIED
Moved by Archdeacon M. Marquhardt, seconded by Rev. Dr. R. Leggett,
That this General Synod endorse and commend the Human Rights Principles, received by the 33rd General Synod, for study to all parishes, dioceses, provinces and national bodies, for adoption and implementation as policy.
Motion to Refer
Moved by Rev. M. Stonhouse, seconded by The Hon. R. Stevenson,
That the above motion be referred to the next meeting of the General Synod.
That after the word "referred" the words "to the EcoJustice Committee for consideration prior to being brought back..." be added. CARRIED
The amended motion to refer now reads:
That the above motion be referred to the EcoJustice Committee for consideration prior to being brought back to the next meeting of the General Synod. CARRIED Act 92
That this NEC review the document "Human Rights Principles for the Anglican Church of Canada" and present it, after prior consultation with the dioceses, for consideration at General Synod 1992.
That the wording following "Anglican Church of Canada" be deleted and replaced with "in light of the amendments, revisions and historical documentation, including the original General Synod motion (1980) and the Prolocutor's presentation to NEC, and, after consultation with the dioceses, report to General Synod in 1992." CARRIED #34-11-90
The amended motion was put as follows:
That this NEC review the document "Human Rights Principles for the Anglican Church of Canada" in light of the amendments, revisions and historical documentation, including the original General Synod motion (1980) and the Prolocutor's presentation to NEC, and, after consultation with the dioceses, report to General Synod in 1992. CARRIED #35-11-90
[The Prolocutor's paper is attached to these minutes as Appendix F.]
[N.B. Text of 4-page Appendex F is NOT included in the Electronic database.]
[N.B. Text of this motion was corrected in small details by Resolution 01-05-91 entitled "Minutes - November 1990 - Revisions" at May 1991 NEC.]
Bishop Lackey introduced Mrs. Irene Fraser of the National Social Actions Ministry staff and Dr. Michel Gaulin, representing the Human Rights Task Force.
Bishop Lackey said that the document which was referred by General Synod to the National Executive Council, was subesquently referred to the House of Bishops. The Bishops conveyed the document to a small group consisting of two bishops and two persons from the Human Rights Unit. When the report was presented to the National Executive Council it was challenged because it had not been through the House of Bishops.
Mr. Gaulin shared a statement from the Human Rights Unit, and quoted the resolution which is to go to General Synod.
Moved by: Bishop Lackey
Seconded by: Bishop Townshend
That this House of Bishops receive the document and enabling resolution to General Synod. CARRIED
In the ensuing discussion, various points of concern were raised.
That this document be referred back to the Human Rights Unit for refinement. CARRIED