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Anglican Church of Canada marriage vote: more bishops respond

Anglican Church of Canada marriage vote: more bishops respond

UPDATE: 2/3 was achieved in all 3 orders. Resolution passes according to Diocesan Twitter feed.


Following statements posted overnight by Archbishop Johnson of Toronto, Bishop Chapman of Ottawa, and Bishop Bird of Niagara, more bishops in the Anglican Church of Canada are indicating a willingness to authorize rites for the solemnization of same-sex marriages, despite last night’s close vote failed to amend the marriage Canon.

The Rt Rev Melissa Skelton, Bishop of New Westminster, writes:

The vote was very, very close, failing by only one vote in the order of clergy while passing in both the order of bishops and the order of laity.

While this is deeply disappointing to me and to many others within the Church, I and others am resolute in our desire to find a way forward in achieving equity for all couples seeking the solemnization of their marriages in the Church while at the same time providing for those whose consciences prevent them from participating in marriage or blessing liturgies for same-sex couples. This was the intention of the resolution to change the Marriage Canon; and it remains my intention. …

I am personally committed to supporting couples who desire to make baptismally-grounded, community-supported, lifelong, monogamous commitments to one other within the context of the Church. After listening to some of the discussion at General Synod 2016, I need to add my equal commitment to advocate for diverse ways of interpreting Holy Scripture as it informs the Church’s actions in such matters.

Take heart. This is not over. We have continuing discernment work to do together.

Read the whole of Bishop Skelton’s statement here.

The Rt. Rev. Robert Bennett and the Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls, Bishop and Co-adjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Huron, write:

We know that this decision will cause deep hurt to LGTBQ2+ members of our Diocese and to their families, friends and allies. For this we are truly sorry. You are valued members of the Body of Christ and of our diocese. Despite the pain that this decision may cause you, please do not give up on us. Help us know how we may best care for you at this time.

The chancellor of General Synod has indicated that the current marriage canon ‘does not contain either a definition of marriage or a specific prohibition against solemnizing same-sex marriage’. We are also aware that a diocesan bishop may exercise episcopal authority in authorizing liturgies to respond to pastoral needs within their dioceses, in the absence of any actions by the General Synod. We intend to authorize such liturgies once guidelines are in place.

Read the full statement from the bishops in Huron here.

The Rt Rev Logan McMenamie, Bishop of British Columbia, has issued a letter to be read aloud in all parishes this Sunday:

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you today.   …

I had written to you before I came to this General Synod asking for your prayers for us as delegates. In that letter I had said I was coming with an open heart to listen. What I heard here was an overwhelming support for the full inclusion of the LGBTQ2 community in the life of our church. As in our own diocese, there were certainly voices that did not support the church moving in this direction. The vote needed to be a two-thirds majority in each of the houses of bishops, clergy and laity. It fell short of that majority by one vote in the House of Clergy.

The Chancellor of General Synod, Mr. David Jones, informed us that the marriage canon “does not contain either a definition of marriage or a specific prohibition against solemnizing same-sex marriage.” Given that, I am asking the Diocesan Council to call a special one-day Synod of our diocese at the earliest practical opportunity, to enable us to have conversations with respect to the authorization of The Witness and Blessing of a Marriage and The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2 within the life of our diocese, rites that have been prepared by The Episcopal Church.

Some other bishops in our Canadian church have already announced their intention to move in this direction. I would like to meet with Synod first. I have the unanimous support of all members of General Synod from our diocese in taking this step.

Read the whole letter from Bishop McMenamie here.

The Rt Rev Jane Alexander, Bishop of Edmonton, wrote on Facebook:

I share with you quite openly that :
• I am sick at heart for the outcome of the vote that defeated the motion.
• I am sick at heart, because an opportunity to discuss the Canon and engage with the Report of the Marriage Commission for the next three years was not endorsed by the Synod.
• I am sick at heart that many people in the church will feel that they are not loved or valued and that the church has said that we have no need of you.
• I am sick at heart because as of this moment, Tuesday morning, there is a sense of exclusion for many people.

However, I want to tell you brothers and sisters of some fairly amazing things which happened.
• The General Synod voted overwhelmingly in favour of adopting the amendment, 72%. I want to tell you that I think this shows the will of the church and a desire to keep engaged and to keep talking about how we reach out sacramentally to our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. It is a peculiarity of our voting system on these types of resolutions that a single vote in a single house could defeat the motion. …
• The vote itself, 72% in favour across houses, is a testimony to the church that at the very least we want to engage, we want to talk, and we want to include. This is not a church that has said “I have no need of you.”

As many of you know from my comments to you personally, at synods and here at General Synod, I am in favour of being able to offer all of the sacraments of the church to all God’s children. I want to be part of a broad and inclusive church. I ask you to be patient with me as I work out our next steps in the Diocese of Edmonton.

Read the whole of Bishop Alexander’s statement here.

Today, Bishop Alexander brought a motion inviting General Synod to reaffirm the 2004 statement on the integrity and sanctity of committed adult same-sex relationships. The Synod voted to reaffirm the statement, and to renew study of the marriage canon, according to Tweets from the Anglican Journal.


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Rod Gillis

More Irony, in that given the number of bishops who, in the wake of the defeated amendment, have now said they will, or will consider, allowing same sex marriage in the church, means that upwards of three quarters of Canadian Anglicans by population will have access to SSM. The dioceses moving toward authorization of SSM appear to be urban dioceses which are densely populated.

One ventures to guess that the stance of conservatives, who have denied the local option to those dioceses/bishops who wanted it, may well be thing that is motivating bishops/dioceses to authorize SSM unilaterally.

David Allen

Anglican Journal has announced that an audit of the voting by the Chancellor resulted in finding a miscount of the clergy house. The resolution did achieve the required 2/3s in all three house of Synod!

I wonder how this will now affect these bishop’s statements & commitments.

Rod Gillis

David, That is correct. Just picked that up on live feed. It may well change the water on the beans. As the guy said, it ain’t over til its over. Problem seems grounded in the closest vote possible, one vote in one order, coupled with some sort of glitch in the electronic voting clickers used to vote.

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