In 1991 the Bishop of Toronto, Terence Finlay (who later became the Archbishop of the Province of Ontario) dismissed a priest of the diocese, Jim Ferry, because Ferry was a partnered gay man. The dismissal was controversial, effectively “outing” Ferry to the community. Finlay insists that he was required to take such action by the canons of the Anglican Church of Canada at the time.
A week ago, the two men, now both retired, were publicly reconciled to each other and their history.
“At the reconciliation service, attended by some 300 people, “There were a lot of people, not just Anglicans, not just gay people, but ordinary citizens across the country who were very caught up in what was happening to me,” said Ferry in an interview. He met people who said they’d been following his story for 20 years, and were deeply affected by it. “I think doing this publicly is going to be very important for the church and for the broader society,” said Ferry.
For his part, Archbishop Finlay admits that he had hoped to work towards reconciliation for a long time. “There is much pain and hurt in situations like this and we had to wait for the appropriate moment,” he told the Journal.
[…]Both men said they found the reconciliation service a powerful experience. “It was a moment of grace for both of us,” said Ferry. “I could thank him for owning what happened and for saying he was sorry for all the suffering I’d been through,” he explained, adding that “reconciliation is a process not [just] a moment.””
The article ends by pointing out that Ferry never lost his faith inspire of the way he was treated by the church. Ferry became, in the years that followed, a passionate advocate for inclusion.