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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Gary Paul Gilbert
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Gary Paul Gilbert

Thank you, Rod Gillis! I need time off from Anglicanism. I keep on feeling my problem is that Jesus preached the Kingdom and we got the church.

Gary Paul Gilbert

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Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

@ Gary Paul Gilbert, "I keep on feeling my problem is that Jesus preached the Kingdom and we got the church." Amen to that Brother. Blessings on your time off.

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Murdoch Matthew
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Murdoch Matthew

Rod Gillis, The Anglican Church of Canada response is a disappointment. As Bernard DeKoninck said in an earlier comment, Canada got marriage equality throughout the nation in 2005, while the church has continued to figure out what to do with LGBTIs in church. It is time to act. This is too little, too late. I understand the local realities of the Canadian Church but secular society moved on a long time, as well as other denominations, such as the United Church of Canada.

I see it as a betrayal that he did not call for the Anglican Consultative Council to uphold the membership of the Episcopal Church.

I sympathize with those who are done with the church.

I don't have the patience to deal with such dithering.

Gary Paul Gilbert

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Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

" It is time to act. This is too little, too late. " The Anglican Church of Canada has dioceses right across the country, and has had for some time, that have enacted policies for the blessing of same sex unions. We have had our share of conflict, litigation and defections as a result.

Marriage in the Canadian Church is governed by Canon XXI of the national church. Our Constitution requires that all changes to national canons require adoption by two consecutive General Synods which meet every three years. As a result of a motion passed by GS three years ago, a proposed amendment will come before our GS this summer for first reading. Whether it passes or not will be up to the GS. Huge resources have been poured into this ongoing issue over a very long time. That is the state of the question, whether Anglicans outside our province appreciate and understand it or not.

As you note Canada as a country has equal access to marriage since 2005. It did so by means of federal legislation via Parliament. Federal law is uniform across the country. This contrasts with a very different process in The United States, which moved more slowly and with a much greater degree of civil social controversy, and with the involvement of the States. So care needs to be taken about advising others how quickly things ought to move and under what circumstances.

You mention the United Church of Canada. Their policy is one that ultimately resides at the congregational level. If you check their website you will read that, while General Council, the governing council of The United Church of Canada, welcomes same-sex marriage, individual United Church congregations are responsible for making decisions locally. Marriages are performed with the permission and under the responsibility of the local congregation.

As for your feelings of disappointment and betrayal, those, of course, are felt at a personal level relative to personal expectations. Disappointment is not unknown in the Christian faith. One might say Good Friday is traditionally a day of disappointment.

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Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

There appears to be an unequivocal commitment to the synodical process which has called for a proposed amendment to our Marriage Canon with first reading at GS 2016. One hopes the commitment to Canada's General Synod government will be shared by all Canada's bishops whether they favor revision of The Marriage Canon or not.

Archbishop Fred references the description of the Primates meeting outlined by The Windsor continuation Group, about them speaking not as an Anglican curia but offering advice in a "united and unanimous voice". There are several unacknowledged difficulties here. The Primates are now perceived as having moved beyond offering advice to requiring outcomes.

Archbishop Fred uses the term "majority of Primates" which suggests something less than unity or unanimity. Their vote was by secret ballot. Our Primate does not signal how he voted. One would have liked to have heard that he both spoke against and voted against the decision of the majority.

One would like to have heard from Archbishop Fred a clear and unequivocal call to the Anglican Consultative Council to uphold TEC as a full participating member of The Anglican Communion. One would like to have read that The Presiding Bishop or his representative will be invited to our forthcoming GS.

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Gary Paul Gilbert
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Gary Paul Gilbert

I am not impressed with Fred Hiltz's response. Too little, too late. The statement should have been ready two days ago. I am especially disappointed with the part about Jean Vanier and the washing of feet. That the primates washed each others' feet does not erase their homophobia. Maybe Hiltz has a soft spot for Vanier because he is the son of the late Georges Vanier, a former Governor General of Canada. I think more people will leave the church over this nonsense.

Gary Paul Gilbert

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Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

@ Gary Paul Gilbert, "Maybe Hiltz has a soft spot for Vanier because he is the son of the late Georges Vanier, a former Governor General of Canada."

Yes, most Canadians are rightly proud that Jean Vanier is from Canada and that he comes from a family that served our country with distinction.

However, let me assure you that Archbishop Fred's "soft spot" for Vanier is likely for the very same reasons the rest of us have one i.e. Vanier's saintly manner of life with reference to the L'Arche communities. It was Archbishop Fred who, as a diocesan bishop here, introduced the practice of the bishop washing the feet of the new deacons during their ordination liturgy.

Frankly, I don't know that our Primate's response to this crisis, given his responsibilities to his own Province and the ongoing major controversy that looms over our forthcoming General Synod, as been any less gracious or diplomatic than that of The Presiding Bishop.

Keep in mind that while The Episcopal Church has made its decision ( a good one), Canada has yet to do so. The decision will involve not only conflict conservative v. liberals but the dynamic of aboriginal self government within the church is also an important dynamic. First Nations leaders have set out the clear expectation that they wish to decide this question on their own terms.

Primate's measured response must be evaluated within the political realities of The Canadian Church.

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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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