That this General Synod, in light of the appeal made by the Primate and other church leaders in February 1998 to the government to bring new commitment to "the challenge to rid the world of the plans and the means to nuclear annihilation", support their leaders' call to the Canadian government to:
-affirm abolition as the central goal of Canadian nuclear weapons policy;
-urge all states to begin immediately and conclude by the year 2000, a Convention for eliminating nuclear weapons within a time-bound framework;
-urge all nuclear weapons states to take their nuclear forces off alert status and commit themselves to no-first-use of nuclear weapons;
-renounce any role for nuclear weapons in Canadian defense policy, and call on other countries, including Russia and Canada's NATO allies, to do likewise;
-review the legality of Canada's nuclear weapons-related activities in light of the 1996 International Court of Justice ruling, and then move quickly to end all activities determined to be of questionable legality; and
-embrace publicly, the conclusions of the 1996 Canberra Commission report, including its recommendations that the nuclear weapons states commit themselves unequivocally to the elimination of nuclear weapons and agree to work immediately on the practical steps and negotiations for its achievement, and that the non-nuclear states join in cooperative international action to implement this commitment;
-and that this General Synod commend the church leaders' statement to dioceses and parishes, and urge Anglicans to engage themselves in the mounting public efforts to achieve these steps toward the abolition of nuclear weapons and, in particular, the initiatives of Project Ploughshares. CARRIED Act 82
Abstentions were noted from Chancellor David Wright, Captain Baxter Park, Captain Todd Meaker, Mr. Bryan Campbell and Canon Andrew Gates.
The Anglican Church of Canada is strongly opposed to all further nuclear explosions, Archbishop Ted Scott, the Primate, said today in a pre-Christmas statement.
Even though the Chinese explosion last month was described as "a pipsqueak" by U.S. nuclear experts, he said, the Chinese are believed to be developing great sophistication in their nuclear armament systems. There is danger that competition among the world's superpowers may lead to more and more test explosions.
"I very much opposed the U.S. blast early in November at Amchitka Island," Archbishop Scott said. "I was equally disturbed to learn of the Chinese explosion. The Church opposes all further nuclear explosions, but it is difficult to mount much public opposition to 'a pipsqueak'."
The Chinese test was equivalent to about 20,000 tons of TNT, roughly the size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. It was one-fivehundreth the size of the latest U.S. test at Amchitka, which was five megatons, or equivalent to five million tons of TNT.
"The disarmament/peace issue has been moving rather quickly from the periphery of our attention to the centre." This declaration was made by the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop E.W. Scott in a recent letter to the Prime Minister.
The letter expressed the Primate's "deep sense of urgency" and his "dismay at the news about the Cruise Missile coming to Canada."
The Primate is certainly not alone in his dismay. There is mounting evidence that he is correct in his feeling that disarmament is moving to the top of the Church's agenda. The National Executive Council (NEC) the most authoritative national body in the Anglican Church between General Synods, recently passed a similar motion expressing to the Federal Government its "strong opposition to the proposed testing of the Cruise Missile."
The Council also moved to include the Anglican Church of Canada as one of the sponsors of "Project Ploughshares." This is an ecumenical coalition which has gained major prominence and respect for its research and publications on disarmament and peace issues. The Anglican Church joins several other major denominations and the Canadian Council of Churches in sponsorship of Project Ploughshares. The coalition is based in Conrad Grebel College of the University of Waterloo, is associated with the United Nations' Department of Public Information, and is represented on the Bureau of the Non-Government Committee on Disarmament at the U.N. Headquarters in New York.
Members of the NEC of the Anglican Church also heard of plans now underway for a major national conference on disarmament to be held next November in Vancouver. It will bring together representatives from the Anglican Church, industry, unions, universities, the Department of Defence and from overseas in the Third World. Its purpose is "to assist the Anglican Church of Canada to develop a policy on the subject of disarmament."
Disarmament has been, or planned to be, a subject on the agenda of several of the Synods of the Anglican Church's thirty Dioceses this spring and fall. Already a request has come from the Diocese of Ottawa that it be a topic of major discussion and policy making at the Church's General Synod to be held in Fredericton in June of 1983.
That this General Synod, having gone on record as opposing Canadian participation in the proposed Ballistic Missile Defense Program of the US administration, request the General Secretary to communicate with dioceses by the time Parliament reconvenes in the fall of 2004, inviting them:
- to write to the government of Canada, expressing opposition, and
- to encourage parishes and individuals to do the same. CARRIED Act 85
Abstentions were noted from Cdr. David Cooper, Lt. Col. Rev. Canon John Fletcher, Archdeacon Karl McLean and the Rev. Canon John Steele.
That NEC endorse Resolution #28 of the Primates/Anglican Consultative Council joint meeting (January 1993), as follows:
That this Joint Meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion and the Anglican Consultative Council calls upon the Churches of the Anglican Communion to support any initiatives to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice as to whether the development and deployment of nuclear weapons and the threat to use them are legal under existing international law, and further,
that the text of this resolution be conveyed to the Secretary General of the United Nations and that the Provinces be requested to convey their responses to the Anglican Communion Office and to the Anglican Observer at the United Nations. CARRIED #16-11-93
That the General Synod of The Anglican Church of Canada petition the Government of Canada to declare as an objective in the conduct of its foreign policy the elimination of nuclear weapons from the world by the year 2000; and that members of the General Synod through contacts with other churches encourage similar petitions to their respective governments. CARRIED IN ALL ORDERS Act 88
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)
"Sponsored by: The Anglican Diocese of Toronto, The Baha'i Community of Canada, The Jewish Community of Toronto, The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, The United Church of Canada Toronto Conference". -- front cover.
"Planning for the Interfaith Program for Public Awareness of Nuclear Issues (IPPANI) began at the time of the Falkland Islands Crisis. At that time representatives of certain of the faith groups in Toronto became concerned about the moral and ethical implications of Canada's export of fuel for a CANDU nuclear generating plant in Argentina. They were also concerned about what appeared to be a related matter, the Canadian government's opposition to convening a national inquiry into the operations of the nuclear industry" (p. i). .... "It is hoped that this report will be useful in at least two ways that it will help to focus public attention on the ethical and moral issues surrounding the development of nuclear energy, and that it will provide the example of a process which has proved unusually effective in achieving balanced consideration of a highly polarized question, an example which could well be followed in considering other contentious issues" (p. v). -- Preface.
Bibliography, p. 119-127.
Contents: Preface dated August 1985 -- IPPANI Questions -- Week I: Canada's Domestic Nuclear Issues -- Week II: Canada's International Nuclear Trade -- Week III: Canada's Involvement in Nuclear Arms -- Appendix A: Various Actors and Their Roles in Nuclear Energy Matters -- Appendix B: Poem "They've Gone Too Far" / Art Solomon -- Appendix C: Annotated Bibliography -- Appendix D: List of Presenters -- Appendix E: List of Donors -- Archives: For Further Information and Copies.