Friday, 21 AUG, the commission on the marriage canon held it’s final meeting in the national offices of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) in Toronto Ontario Canada. The commission has held four meetings and numerous email consultations since it was created by the ACoC’s Council of General Synod (CoGS) following General Synod 2013 and then held its first meeting in 2014. The commission has had one mandate, to make recommendations to CoGS on the feasibility of changing the ACoC’s canon 21 – the marriage canon – to allow same gender marriage.
The ACoC’s General Synod of 2013 passed a resolution, C003, that requests the CoGS to prepare and submit a motion to the General Synod of 2016 to change canon 21 to allow same gender marriage, as it allows heterosexual marriage. Resolution C003 also stipulated that the motion to change canon 21 include “a conscience clause so that no member of the clergy, bishop, congregation or diocese should be constrained to participate in or authorize such marriages against the dictates of their conscience.”
Amendments to Resolution C003 were also submitted and passed by General Synod which further stipulated that the motion;
- demonstrates broad consultation in its preparation;
- explains how this motion does not contravene the Solemn Declaration;
- confirms immunity under civil law and the Human Rights Code for those bishops, dioceses and priests who refuse to participate in or authorize the marriage of same-sex couples on the basis of conscience; and
- provides a biblical and theological rationale for this change in teaching on the nature of Christian marriage.
The commission’s report to CoGS is about 50 pages in length. The largest section of the report is a biblical and theological rationale for Anglican same gendered marriage. The commission will submit the final version of its report to a special session of the CoGS that has been called for 22-23 SEP 2015.
I hope readers of the report will remember that our task was to do the work that was asked for in the original resolution. And not to decide for the church whether we should do this, but to provide the background to see whether it is possible…
The Rt Revd Linda Nicholls, bishop suffragan
Trent-Durham episcopal area
Diocese of Toronto.
Image from betteridahoe.org
You may read the full article in the Anglican Journal.