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The current three indigenous bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada issue a statement on same-sex marriage

The current three indigenous bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada issue a statement on same-sex marriage

From the cover of the Indigenous Catechist Training Manual of the Anglican Church of Canada

This past Thursday, 22 SEP 2016, the three indigenous bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) issued a statement expressing disagreement with the decision of this past summer’s General Synod to alter the marriage canon to allow same-sex marriage. They also criticised the process by which the motion to alter the marriage canon came about. The three bishops are: the Rt Revd Mark MacDonald, the National Indigenous Bishop of the ACoC; the Rt Revd Lynda Mamakwa, bishop diocesan of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh and the Rt Revd Adam Halkett, the diocesan indigenous bishop for the Diocese of Saskatchewan.

The bishops report that their statement is made at the request of a circle of indigenous elders that was held soon after the General Synod. They acknowledge that their statement does not represent the position of all indigenous people in Canada. However, they say that they did consult deep & widely into the indigenous communities of Canada. The bishops stake out the desire of the indigenous communities of the ACoC to claim self-determination within the ACoC.

The objection to the process by which the resolution to change the marriage canon of the ACoC  came about, seems to be a cultural difference involving how discussions and decisions are made among the indigenous nations and the predominant western culture of Canada. They also objected to an indigenous elder being silenced when he was speaking about the resolution during the discussion period before the vote on the resolution. Although the bishops did not delve into the specifics of the situation. this was apparently an objection to requiring this elder to adhere to the same time limit everyone else at the synod was required to abide by during the discussion time period. Because the bishops state that the indigenous people of the ACoC found the process painful, they are calling for an investigation of the process which cut indigenous folks out of the conversation regarding changing the marriage canon prior to the General Synod. They are also asking the ACoC to reconsider how all future business of the church is handled in light of the differences in the western and the indigenous approaches to discussions and how decisions are made.

The statement also explained that the indigenous communities objected to same-sex marriage based on their cultural understanding of marriage being an aspect of creation and between a man and a woman. It also involves their belief that the same principles are born out through their understanding of Christian scripture.

It is our understanding that, while homosexual persons have always had a place in our societies, same-sex marriage, itself, has not. We find in both our reading of Creation and Scripture the unique relationship of Man and Woman. The difference between the two, coming together in the miracle of a unique spiritual communion, is essential to the way we understand marriage – but not only marriage, it is the way we understand the Land, the way we understand Creation.

You will find the full statement published on the Anglican Journal website.



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Rod Gillis

I support the full inclusion of GLBTQ2 persons, including the availability of same-sex marriage in our church. I support the movement toward justice, reconciliation, and self-determination that aboriginal members of our church are seeking. I am neither aboriginal nor a member of the GLBTQ2 communities. Clearly there are tensions in our Anglican Church of Canada grounded in conflicting cultural and political differences. A lot of careful and prayerful listening is required by each of us even as we advocate for justice for all within our Church. One of the biggest risks we all face at the moment would appear to be a fall headlong into the trap of wedge politics.

JC Fisher

When speaking of the Church, and any particular culture, there’s always a tension: the same evangelists who took the Jewish Messiah to the Gentiles ALSO wrote “In Christ, there is no Jew or Greek.”

I take that to mean there is much room for the Church to inculturate to any language/ethnic group, yet there must be a single ethic which is Christian, not of any culture (indeed, may often stand AGAINST a particular culture).

Furthermore, beyond the Gospel ideal, there is history: how the Northern Euro-American “White” culture has, even (blasphemously) in the Name of Jesus, has sinfully oppressed others.

I can’t pretend to untangle all this.

But at the very least, I want to hear more from indigenous people in Canada whom the bishops’ statement does NOT represent: LGBT/”Two-Spirit” people. [Regardless of culture, this would not be the first time that bishops claimed to “consult deep & widely”, yet overlooked those they did not wish to hear from!]

Daniel Jarvis

The indigenous Bishops speak truth when they say that gay folks have always had a place among First Nations Peoples. Many Nations saw this “contrary to the default setting” has worthy of note and honor…often trained to be the medicine person the holy person for the People.
I support the self determination of the Nations, and our problems over gayity is not their problem…at least it shouldnt be.
Its one thing to be involved with the natural flow of reigion evolution; revelation, corruption, and hopefully a return at some point… linear
But when our religion came in contact with the FIRST nations it stopped being linear it went back in time and brought one culture’s corruption into a culture thar didnt grow that corruption.
So I am saddened when I hear the Bishops include in their dissent from the AC of C, the aspect of their understanding and approach to wcripture. Well, boys its not their understanding, it ours forced on them. The jesus Way is greater than book religion, and especially the form of book religion fostered on First Nations people

Rev. Bill Christy

For the Christian, there are two obvious considerations on which to reflect when meditating upon homosexuality: Biblical and biological. Biblically, God’s commanded union of marriage is between a man and a woman! Why? God commanded them to populate the earth! Biologically, the union of two men or two women in marriage cannot naturally reproduce an offspring. Philosophically, we can dance around the facts and play on Biblical wording, but these are the basic facts of life! Just food for thought and prayer!

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