From our friends to the north

by

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has published his reflections on last week’s deliberations in London.

In an extensive review of the week-long gathering, Archbishop Hiltz commended the work of the Primates in addressing poverty, war, climate change, and child abuse. He, as others, characterized the gathering as steeped in prayer. There was, of course, one overriding issue of concern.

This meeting of the Primates was particularly challenging with respect to the tending of our relationships in light of the developments in The Episcopal Church regarding the change in its Canon on Marriage making provision for the blessing of same sex marriages.  I, of course, was deeply mindful of a call from General Synod 2013 for the enacting of a similar change in our own Canon, the first reading of which is scheduled for our General Synod this summer.

Since returning home, I am especially mindful of the pain the LGBTQ community within our Church is feeling.  I am very sorry.  I acknowledge their frustration and that of their supporters in being made to feel like the sacrificial offering on the altar of the Church’s unity.  I recognize that many are angry and deeply disillusioned with the very Church in which they endeavour to live out their lives as disciples of Jesus.  I know that for some it is in fact very difficult to remain within its fellowship, and that it will take a great resolve of will and courage to do so.

I apologize for the manner in which the Church has often regarded the LGBTQ community and condemned their lives with very harsh language. I call on our Church to re-affirm its commitment to rejecting anywhere in the world criminal sanctions against lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer or questioning people. I call on our Church to renew its resolve in listening to the voices and the stories of its LGBTQ members as we wrestle through conversations regarding the pastoral care we are called to provide for all people. I ask the prayers of the whole Church for the LGBTQ people in the midst of the hurt they are bearing and the hope to which they cling for the recognition and sacramental blessing of their relationships.

Hiltz addressed criticisms that he had not stood closely enough with Presiding Bishop Curry, saying that he “empathized” with Bishop Curry, recognized the “frustration” that would attend the Episcopal Church not being able to serve on ecumenical councils, and had covenanted to “uphold in my prayers” both Bishop Curry and the Episcopal Church. It was not open to him, argued Dr Hiltz, to offer to suffer the same consequences alongside his brother bishop, since this would preempt the decisions of the Anglican Church of Canada’s own General Synod this July.

Read the full response of the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada here.

Photo: Archbishop Fred Hiltz

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Bernard DeKoninck
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Bernard DeKoninck

We legalized civil gay marriages over 10 years ago, we have been listening since then, reflecting, pondering, analyzing, elaborating...etc...It´s time to act and fully welcome gays and lesbians in the church, regardless of what the bishops of Timbuctu may say or do

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Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

The entire statement by Archbishop Fred requires careful reading. There is room here to mention only a few things I found interesting. The first is this remark mentioned in the summary, "I recognize that many are angry and deeply disillusioned with the very Church...etc". I can identify with that.

The second is Archbishop Fred's clearly stated commitment to our synodical government and the first reading of the motion that will propose an amendment to our Marriage Canon at the forthcoming GS.

Third, the section of his remarks that report on the discussion on climate change are of great interest.

I would be interested in views on this part of his statement which needs to be read in context,
" .....in relation to The Episcopal Church, I empathize with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry as he faces a firestorm of reaction in the United States. I recognize a need for a space of time in which that Church will respond through its National Executive Council. "

What is your take on this in more detail?

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David Allen
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David Allen

It's long and wordy and seems a fair amount of CYA. He approaches sounding like he supported the "consequences", unlike his brother in Brazil who speaks of the House of Bishops there soon taking steps in solidarity with TEC.

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Jeremy Bates
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Jeremy Bates

Rod, if you're suggesting that we have not heard TEC's full response, and that more will be forthcoming, I would agree with you.

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Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

I'm just about to use up my three wishes, or four comments for the night, but I'm asking, what might be meant by PB Curry "facing a firestorm back home" i.e. from whom, is that your read in TEC? And, if in fact the order of the day will be a formal response from TEC national executive, although I think you may have answered that question.

(I 'd be surprised to know Fred would be in favor of the "consequences". )

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John Chilton
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John Chilton

I can appreciate why Hiltz's position angered LGBT and supporter Anglicans in Canada. But at the end of the day, he's saying what I believe to be true -- he is playing by the rules in his province, not merely playing a delaying tactic nor is he the agent of their suffering. The Canadian synod will decide whether, like TEC, it will adopt marriage equality.

By contrast, the primates are making claims to authority that they do not possess.

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Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Dr.? Dr.? Where did that come from?

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David Allen
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David Allen

Honorary, we gave it to him! 🙂

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Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Lol! I remember when he was awarded an honorary DD by King's College, Halifax. They always award this degree to newly elected Nova Scotia bishops. But I have never before heard him referred to by this title. Hilarious.

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David Allen
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David Allen

Some (all?) TEC seminaries award an honorary doctoral degree to their graduates who become bishops.

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John Donnelly
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John Donnelly

Spare me your pain. This is a time when Anglican Christians must let their yes be their yes. Sorry if it kicks you out of the Club.

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JC Fisher
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JC Fisher

^ This is one of those comments where I can't tell where it is coming from on "The Issue in Question": well done, sir!

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