Last week the House of Bishops of the Anglican church of Canada met in Niagara Falls and according to Archbishop and Primate Fred Hiltz, much of the conversation was about marriage equality. The Archbishop said that there were concerns expressed about the limitations of the General Synod legislative process and the general desire to have a robust conversation.
A resolution to allow same-sex marriages in the church passed its first reading at General Synod in July 2016; a required second reading will go before General Synod in 2019. If it passes, Canada will join the Scottish Episcopal Church and the US based Episcopal Church in welcoming marriage equality.
In an interview with the Anglican Journal the archbishop shared some of these concerns;
A number of bishops expressed concerns, he said, about how same-sex conversations at the next General Synod could take place “in a way that doesn’t leave people feeling marginalized, isolated, pushed out—on either side.”
Many feel that the traditional legislative process that the synod follows encourages contention, he said. “You basically either speak in favour or against. So immediately…you get some sense of the—in some respects—division in the house.”
Among the bishops, he said, there’s “a whole range of hopes and scenarios” about how conversation at synod might be guided.
Some bishops raised questions about the time limits imposed on General Synod members when debating, given the great importance many place on the issue of marriage.
The resolution, like the one passed by the Episcopal Church would allow latitude for local implementation and offers dissenters from the majority opinion protection. There was some controversy around last year’s vote when it was initially thought that the resolution had failed to pass by one vote in the House of Bishops, but on review it was found to have passed by one vote.