A revised copy of a "Message to the Church" (which the bishops had worked on and discussed while in camera) was distributed to the members for discussion. The document was a statement from the House of Bishops to the Church in response to the Synod of the Diocese of New Westminster's decision to bless the union of same sex couples.
That the House of Bishops approve its "Message to the Church" for distribution. CARRIED #HB-02-10-08
(Vote: 28 in support, 9 opposed, and 1 abstention.)
Archbishop Peers commended the bishops for the quality of their discussion. He said that as the President of the House of Bishops, he would support what it had decided.
Bishops Anderson, Atagotaaluk, Burton and Ferris asked that their motions about the blessing same sex unions be withdrawn. (The two motions had been distributed to the members of the House when it was not in session, and had not been put on the floor formally.)
Archbishop Morgan reminded the bishops of the need to move in camera in order to decide whether or not to release any of the information discussed while they were in camera.
A Message to the Church
In the name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, meeting in Mississauga on October 28, 2002, issues the following statement in response to the decision of the Synod of the Diocese of New Westminster to bless same-sex unions.
We are called to be one in the Body of Christ (John 17:21). We know that on the issue of same-sex unions differing convictions are deeply held in the House of Bishops, throughout our church and beyond. The decision of New Westminster has caused pain for some and joy in others. Over the past four years this Diocese undertook an extensive process of study that has led them to their decision. We recognize that members of the diocese on every side of the issue have suffered pain.
Eight parishes of the Diocese of New Westminster have requested alternative Episcopal oversight for themselves. Before the fracture widens we urge all involved to engage in a process of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18) on the basis of the general principles passed by the Diocesan Synod in June 2002. Although the precise terms of the conversation will be established within the Diocese we propose that the following elements should be part of it.
1. The conversation should be enabled by a mutually agreed to facilitator.
2. The process should provide `safety' for all participants by setting at least these standards:
a. Being respectful of each other's faith journey.
b. Listening respectfully.
c. Asking `inviting' questions.
d. Attempting to understand from the view points of others.
We request that those outside the diocese respect the integrity of this process and allow it to proceed without intervention.
In recent years some dioceses in the Anglican Church of Canada have made individual decisions to recognize or forbid, and in this one instance, to bless same-sex unions. We have spent much of our time at these meetings discussing our response to these situations. We are unable to speak with a unanimous voice on this issue of national concern especially with regard to the subject of homosexuality in the light of scripture. We are referring the matter of the blessing of same-sex unions to our national governing body, the General Synod (2004) for discussion and if possible, resolution.
We agree that we will not make individual decisions in any additional dioceses during the interim. Until the time of resolution all bishops are asked to uphold the 1997 Guidelines of the House of Bishops on Human Sexuality.
We call the church to prayer in this difficult and demanding time in our life in Christ.