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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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."
Bishop William Anderson of Caledonia is facing possible disciplinary action after licensing a former Episcopalian priest in the American diocese of Wyoming. "'The canons of our church state that a bishop is not allowed to interfere in another diocese', said Archbishop David Crawley, metropolitan (senior bishop) of the province of British Columbia and Yukon and Bishop Anderson's superior". "In a letter dated Jan. 28 , Bishop Bruce Caldwell of the Episcopal diocese of Wyoming lodged a formal complaint with Archbishop Crawley against Bishop Anderson. The letter notes that on Dec. 31, 2003, Rev. Hume 'Skip' Reeves of Cheyenne, Wyo., retired and renounced his orders as a priest in the Episcopal Church of the United States (ECUSA). On Jan. 18, 2004, he started a congregation in Cheyenne: St Peter the Apostle and Confessor. 'Bishop Anderson .. has in fact licensed (Mr.) Reeves and is assuming oversight of the congregation', wrote Bishop Caldwell. Bishop Anderson, in an interview, said Mr. Reeves left the Episcopal church because he disagreed with Bishop Caldwell's approval of the consecration last year of openly-gay ECUSA bishop Gene Robinson. The Caledonian bishop acknowledged that he wrestled with the issue of jurisdiction, he said, but believes that it is Anglicans with more liberal views of homosexuality who are 'playing fast and loose with the canons of the church'."
"A group of 10 Episcopal bishops from across the spectrum of views on human sexuality met with Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold in New York September 10-11  to discuss local reaction to General Convention's [August 2003] decisions about the election of an openly gay bishop and the blessing of same-gender relationships. The meeting was at attempt to explore what Griswold called `the very deep question of how we can live with disagreement, given our very divergent points of view around the issues of sexuality'."
A discussion of the debate on homosexuality within the Anglican Communion. "[W]hy is gay sexuality the explosive issue that could rip the Anglicans apart, and put an end to a century-old and highly-prized international unity, when such contentious issues as the ordination of women, or discussions about union with other churches, failed to cause a split ? In providing his answers, Stephen Bates shows that unity has been prized by some above integrity, and has been the cause of vicious infighting and internal politics. He discusses the milestones of the debate ....Interviews with leading figures on both sides of the divide -- liberal and evangelical -- in which they justify their positions on homosexuality, indicate just how bitter and divisive the dispute has become." -- inside front cover.
Contents: Preface dated Tunbridge Wells, Kent, March 2004 -- The Sorrow and the Pity -- The Word Made Flesh -- In the Beginning Was the Word -- Queer as Folk -- Old as the Hills -- The Day Before Yesterday -- The Dignity of Difference -- Doing the Lambeth Walk -- Then Came Rowan -- Doctor John -- Gene Genie -- Paved with Good Intentions -- Who Bears the Cost ? -- Notes -- Bibliography -- Index.
Colophon: Typeset in Goudy Old Style by A. and D. Worthington, Newmarket, Suffolk. Printed and bound in Great Britain by TJ International Ltd, Padstow, Cornwall.
The writer is a lay Roman Catholic, married to an Anglican Evangelical, who is the religious affairs journalist for The Guardian.
Canadian gays and lesbians will continue to be `welcomed and received in our churches and to have their contributions to our common life honored,' says Archbishop Michael Peers, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.
In a statement released today, Archbishop Peers said that reports quoting him as implying that the Canadian church would seek to dissociate itself from the U.S. Episcopal Church because of its election of a gay bishop were `wildly inaccurate'."
Archbishop Peers was quoted after a meeting of Anglican Primates in England last week. The Primates admitted, in a statement following the meeting, that they remained divided on issues involving the blessing of same-sex relationships.
The Canadian Anglican church, Archbishop Peers noted, has embarked on a process to bring issues of same-sex relationships to next year's General Synod, the church's chief governing body. `That has not changed,' he said.
The full text of Archbishop Michael Peers' statement to Canadian Anglicans follows:
`The communique from last week's meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion and the Moderators of the United Churches has created a flurry of reports and speculations as to its implications.
`I am particularly concerned at one recent report that I suggested that the Anglican Church of Canada was ready to join the church in Nigeria in dissociating ourselves from the Episcopal Church, USA. That report is, of course, the result of an interpretation made by the reporter in question, and is wildly inaccurate.
`The General Synod of 1995 welcomed and affirmed the presence of gay and lesbian persons in the life of the Anglican Church of Canada. That has not changed. The Council of General Synod has asked the Committee on Faith, Worship and Ministry to design a process by which the General Synod of 2004 may prepare to address questions concerning our church's response to same-sex relationships. That has not changed.
`Though the Primates `as a body' expressed regret at events and decisions in New Westminster and the Episcopal Church, USA, as Primate, I have formally expressed neither regret nor affirmation of those events and decisions. I refrain from doing so because I am committed both to the resolutions of the 1995 General Synod and to the hope that in 2004, the General Synod will find a way for us to move forward together on the basis of whatever decision emerges from the Synod. Similarly, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA, while supporting the letter as an accurate reflection of the Primates' stance, presided at the General Convention at which the confirmation of Canon Robinson's election in New Hampshire was confirmed. These qualifying observations were registered by us an accepted by the other members of the meeting.
`Gay and lesbian persons may continue to expect to be welcomed and received in our churches, and to have their contribution to our common life honored. Those on all sides who are dismayed over recent developments may continue to expect a faithful, charitable and thoughtful hearing within the life of our church at all levels.
`As Canadian Anglicans, we are part of a worldwide communion that faces divisive issues in the months and years ahead. Our role in addressing these issues will, I hope, continue to be one of attending carefully to the diversity within the Anglican Church of Canada, and within the wider Communion.
`I invite your continuing prayers, not just for some, but for all, that the world may see in us a compelling witness to the redeeming power of our Lord, and that we may be renewed in the gladness of our common life. May we find together the grace, strength and charity to sustain the gift of the communion, strained though it may be at this time. It is a gift entrusted to us, not for our sakes alone, but for the sake of the world and of generations yet to come'.
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The statement may also be found at www.anglican.ca
For more information, please contact: Michael Thompson, Principal Secretary to the Primate,416-924-9199 ext. 277, email@example.com, OR Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Director of Communications, 416-924-9199 ext. 306, firstname.lastname@example.org
"A paper commissioned for the Primates of the Anglican Communion by the Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, the Most Rev. Peter Akinola, and the Most Rev. Gregory Venables". -- t.-p.
"This paper is offered to address the need for a practical statement of the Anglican Communion's self-identity and mission, as warranted by its own official documents and public declarations. In some ways, it serves as a primer for the unique character of Anglicanism as a part of God's plan for the Christian Church. The paper is written in response to the grave threat to the Anglican Communion's continued existence and flourishing posed by the Episcopal Church, U.S.A.'s recent actions in contradiction of the Gospel [i.e. the election and consecration of Gene Robinson as Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire]." -- Preface, p. iv.
"Drafters of the paper: Ephraim Radner, Philip Turner, Christopher Seitz, Andrew Goddard, Peter Walker, Donald Armstrong, Drexel Gomez, Peter Akinola, Gregory Venables". -- Preface, p. iv.
Contents: Preface / Drafters of the Paper -- Summary -- General Convention Actions in Dispute -- General Convention Actions Violate -- Supporters' Justification of Violations -- Primates Role -- Appendix.
Appendix contains: Anglican Communion Statements -- Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral -- The Ordination of Women -- Assessing Parallel Provinces.