Canadian Council of General Synod responds to Bishops statement on marriage equality

The Council of General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, which is the executive body of General Synod between Synod meetings, has issued a response to the most recent statement from the Canadian House of Bishops regarding the issue of marriage equality.  That response is printed below in full.  (the original can be found here)

The Council of General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada is the executive body of General Synod.  Its membership is made up of the Primate, the Prolocutor, the Deputy Prolocutor, the Chancellor, bishops, clerical and lay members of General Synod elected by the General Synod on the nomination of the Provincial Caucuses, one youth member of the General Synod from each ecclesiastical province elected by General Synod on the nomination of the Provincial Caucuses, one member nominated by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and two members nominated by the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples.  The General Secretary of the General Synod is an ex officio member of the Council of General Synod without voting privileges.




To the Rt. Rev. Don Phillips, Secretary of the House of Bishops

The Council of General Synod acknowledges receipt of the statement from the Special Meeting in February 2016. We appreciate the bishops’ integrity in communicating to the Council.

We share their concern that the report, This Holy Estate, has not been more widely engaged with across the church. We look to our bishops to ensure that members of their diocese, especially delegates to General Synod 2016, have read and engaged the report.

In their statement, they wrote that they wondered if a legislative process is “the most helpful way of dealing with these matters”. The Council has also considered other options. If a legislative solution were not the best way to proceed on this question, we would ask the House of Bishops for some concrete examples of other options.

They expressed a desire to “explore other options for honouring and fully embracing committed, faithful same-sex relationships”. We would welcome concrete examples.

We share their commitment “to achieving the greatest pastoral generosity possible.” We ask the bishops for some concrete examples. For example, if a local option is the way forward, will the House be prepared to live with and honour the choices of individual dioceses?

We continue to pray for the work of the House of Bishops and ask that they continue to uphold the Council of General Synod, and those who are delegates to General Synod 2016 in their prayers.

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  1. Ann Fontaine

    I call this “stopping short of snark.” The CoGS seems pretty ripped about the bishops’ letter. Referring to the bishops’ comment about another solution -the CoGS replies – we would love some suggestions – we have looked a many ourselves! Re: that there has not been enough discussion the CoGS asks why the bishops have not pushed for that in their dioceses since they were charged with carrying out the request for discussions? The CoGS says “Agreement is not the source of our unity; our unity lies in the faithfulness of Christ.” and “We recommend the greatest pastoral response possible, allowing same-sex couples to be fully included in the life of our church with full and equal access to its liturgies and pastoral offices.” Here! Here!

  2. Margaret Sjoholm-Franks

    For the sake of honesty and transparency in the ACC the names of then bishops who oppose marriage equality should be made public. If those bishops are bold to exclude same-sex couples from the church, or at least treat them as second-class Christians at least, and out decency, they should be equally bold to show their faces

  3. Jim Pratt

    Here! Here! indeed. There has not been honest engagement across all dioceses, and where it has not taken place, it is the fault of the bishops. The HoB did not put forward any alternatives, whether alternative ways of addressing the topic at GS, or alternatives to amendment of the marriage canon. The reality is that many of them would prefer not to discuss it at all.

    Margaret, the problem is not the bishops who are opposed. They have made their objections, and the reasons for their objections, well known (one even has a rule that no LGBT person, lay or ordained, may be licensed to any ministry in the diocese). Likewise, those who are in favour have spoken out (+Ottawa, +Niagara and +Huron issued very good responses to the HoB letter). Those who need to be named are the “lukewarm”, who have “don’t ask, don’t tell” policies in their dioceses, who may be privately affirming, but who don’t want to rock the boat by putting it to a vote).

  4. JC Fisher

    “For example, if a local option is the way forward, will the House be prepared to live with and honour the choices of individual dioceses?”

    Bluff, CALLED!

    Thank you, Council of General Synod. 🙂

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