UPDATE – Tonight, 11 JUL 2016, the resolution to bring marriage equality to the ACoC failed in the House of Clergy by 1 vote. It passed by the needed 2/3s majority in the Houses of Bishops & Laity. A motion to reconsider the vote on the resolution was defeated.
During his sermon for the opening eucharist for the Anglican Church of Canada’s 2016 triennial synod, the most Revd Fred Hiltz, reminded those gathered that the Canadian Church had passed through questions of inclusion a number of times since it’s first synod held in 1893.
This is the body that through its history has…wrestled with numerous issues within the Church and in the world at large over which we have often found ourselves in deep disagreement. Many of the issues have centered around inclusion.
Currently the ACoC is wrestling with the inclusion of LGBT folks in the life of the church. Specifically, including same gender couples in the rite of marriage. This synod is faced with proposed legislation which would alter the current marriage canon to allow the marriages of same gender couples in the ACoC. In the past, synods contemplated women’s ordination, the remarriage of divorced people, admitting children to communion and the place of Canada’s indigenous people in the ACoC.
The Primate reminded folks that those past deliberations sometimes went well and other times not so well. He asked of them to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit in this deliberation, recalling that a synod is just that;
All who pray with and for us have an understanding of a Synod for what it truly is—an assembly of the People of God from every jurisdiction within the Church, gathered to do its work under the presiding of the Holy Spirit. Accordingly they join us in prayers that the Holy Spirit will come and hover, settle and abide with us, to grace and guide, enlighten and lead.
One of the ritual aspects of the service was the blessing of baptismal water. Then the Archbishop asperged the congregation with the water while calling on them to recall their own baptism and the covenants made. The most current Rite of Baptism in the ACoC includes these two questions; Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
The service was attended by representatives of a number of Canadian faith communities; Roman Catholic, Jewiish, Greek Orthodox, Presbyterian, United Church of Canada, Bahá’í and the Salvation Army. Additionally, attending for the duration of the Synod are Anglicans from churches in the Western Hemispere: Bishop Diocesan Griselda Delgado del Carpio of the Episcopal Church of Cuba: Archbishop Francisco de Assis da Silva, primate of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry of the US-based Episcopal Church; as well as, National Bishop Susan Johnson, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.