Thursday, 29 November 2007
Canadian Pastoral Statement
November 29, 2007 — The following pastoral statement is released to the Church by the Primate and the Metropolitan Archbishops of each of the four ecclesiastical provinces.
A Pastoral Statement from the Primate and Metropolitans of the Anglican Church of Canada
Greetings in the name of the One who was, who is, and who is to come — our Lord Jesus Christ
The Mission Statement of the Anglican Church of Canada opens with these statements: “As a partner in the worldwide Anglican Communion and in the universal Church, we proclaim and celebrate the gospel of Jesus Christ in worship and in action. We value our heritage of Biblical faith, reason, liturgy, tradition, bishops and synods and the rich variety of our life in community.”
It is fundamental to the values and mission of our Church that we welcome and respect freedom of individual conscience and the theological convictions of a diverse membership. Our General Synods have consistently strived to honour every voice as the Church works through contentious and difficult issues before it. This is particularly true in the way the Church has endeavoured to address matters of human sexuality including the blessing of same-sex unions.
The report of the Primate’s Theological Commission commonly known as the St. Michael Report has described this issue as matter of doctrine but not core doctrine. General Synod concurred with this opinion last June. The St. Michael Report also declared that the matter need not be a Communion-breaking issue.
It is in this context that we deplore recent actions on the part of the Primate and General Synod of the Province of the Southern Cone to extend its jurisdiction into Canada through the Essentials Network Conference. This action breaks fellowship within the Anglican Church of Canada and the Anglican Communion.
We affirm the statement unanimously agreed to by the Council of General Synod which appeals to the Archbishop of Canterbury “to make clear that such actions are not a valid expression of Anglicanism.” We too appeal to him in his capacity as one of the instruments of communion and as chair of the Primates’ Meeting to address the very serious issues raised by this intervention.
The actions by the Primate of the Southern Cone are not necessary. Our bishops have made adequate and appropriate provision for the pastoral care and episcopal support of all members of the Anglican Church of Canada, including those who find themselves in conscientious disagreement with the view of their bishop and synod over the blessing of same-sex unions. These provisions, contained in the document known as Shared Episcopal Ministry, were adopted by the House of Bishops and commended by the panel of reference appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The actions by the Primate of the Southern Cone are also inappropriate. They contravene ancient canons of the Church going as far back as the 4th century, as well as statements of the Lambeth Conference, the Windsor report and the Communiqué from the Primates’ Meeting earlier this year. Furthermore these actions violate Canon XVII of the Anglican Church of Canada which states that “No Bishop priest or deacon shall exercise ordained ministry in a diocese without the license or temporary permission of the Diocesan Bishop.”
Any ministry exercised in Canada by those received into the Province of the Southern Cone after voluntarily relinquishing the exercise of their ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada is inappropriate, unwelcome and invalid. We are aware that some bishops have, or will be making statements to that effect in their own dioceses.
In the meantime we rejoice in this season of Advent in which we once again begin that great journey of tracing the steps of our Lord’s most holy life through the liturgy of a new year.
We rejoice in the gift of word and sacrament. We rejoice in the gift of our baptism and in the great gift of the Eucharist. We rejoice in the gift of the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth and empowers us to proclaim the gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ in word and action.
We respect the diversity of opinion in our Church over many issues. We respect the manner in which we take counsel together and honour the intention of all those who even in the midst of struggle desire to remain within the fellowship of the Anglican Church of Canada.
Let us renew our trust in the One who holds us together in the embrace of His love and peace.
We call all Anglicans to a renewed emphasis on mission and prayer for faithful witness in the service of the gospel within our parishes and across the world.
In him whose Advent sets us free.
The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, Archbishop and Primate
The Most Rev. Terry Buckle, Archbishop and Metropolitan of British Columbia and Yukon
The Most Rev. John Clarke, Archbishop and Metropolitan of Rupert’s Land
The Most Rev. Caleb Lawrence, Archbishop and Metropolitan of Ontario
The Most Rev. Bruce Stavert, Archbishop and Metropolitan of Canada
Download this document in PDF format
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on
Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 5:59pm GMT
St. Michael Report
Shared Episcopal Ministry
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
who's giving the dissidents the $1m?
The best of Anglicanism and another example of Canadian wisdom. Glad to see they are committed to building a broad-tent Anglicanism.
What will Rowan Williams do when these pushy folk make an incursion onto the turf of the CofE? Will he try to ignore that too?
Aren't the Canadians wonderful? Strong, clear, principled and inclusive. That's the real way to be leaders. Why can't the C of E have an episcopate like that?
Stand by. The "conservatives" will condemn this statement as yet another example of how oppressed they are, the poor dears.
Well, I might as well join the chorus -- I wish the TEC H of B could speak with comparable clarity & unanimity.
can someone in England explain to me what the Queen might think of Rowan NOT responding to the appeal of the Primate of Canada? At some point, doesn't it reflect badly on her majesty that her ABC isn't responsive to the likes of even Canada?
Hmm. Is there something new here? This sounds like more of the same ol' same ol' to me.
Of course, in the interest of balance, I'll say that both sides put out a lot of the same ol' same ol', and it always sounds good to their respective advocates and followers.
It's a shame that it has come to this, but the handwriting was on the wall from the beginning. Neither side was willing to compromise what they considered to be their core positions. For liberals this has been a matter that was good and/or related to non-essentials (and hence unnecessary to resolve in order to preserve unity). For conservatives, it has been a matter that was bad and related to essentials (and hence necessary to resolve for continued unity). Never the twain shall meet (or could meet) without agreement on either the good/bad or essential/nonessential issues. And, at this point, all we get are reiterations and restatements of the same "policy" and "position" statements. The speakers for each side may change, but the messages are much the same.
Sigh. Well, another 2-3 years and we should be wherever we're going to be. Sometimes I wish I could just skip the painful time "in-between".
Just to add some context to this statement.
Both Archbishop Buckle and Archbishop Clarke are definitely "conservative" on the issue of same-sex blessings. Both spoke against the the resolutions on same-sex blessings at General Synod and voted No on all the resolutions.
"Well, another 2-3 years and we should be wherever we're going to be." Steven
Yes that it probably right now. It all looks that way. Rowan Williams presiding at The Lesbian and Gay Clergy Consultation eucharist is going to be an important turning point for some of them, so that the article writers will have to start hiring halls and producing membership badges if they want to carry out the content of their articles.
One way to accelerate the bridge time transition is just to go and settle in a new church community which is strongly framed by all the rigid boundaries that conservative Anglicans so often say they cherish. You have a large number of Christian communities from among which you may pick. We can find small, intimate ones. We can find medium ones. We can find larger and even gigantic ones.
I can count the Christian communities which officially do not solemnly trash talk and self-righteously condemn queer folks, for example, on one hand. The controversy now is about whether Anglicans worldwide will be counted on one side or the other side. Even so, that leaves all the rest available. There is simply no worldwide shortage of religious condemnation, trash talk about queer folks, and soft to vigorous to violent urgings that such people be mistreated.
Why is trash talking and mistreating queer folks so strictly important as a religious pledge? - to believers, to Jesus, to God?
++Rowan likes the Canadians...oh my, what to do, what to do? (He's got so many +children he doesn't know what to do).
++Rowan sneers at the Americans, nothing to do, nothing "will" do (Could we *really* be related? Please check with the Queen...and the +queen too)
++Rowan speak is too deep for the +Cones, never mind, never mind (no recuerdo, and +Gregory is all busy-batts sneaking around, saying this-and-that anyway...I'll think about it ALL another day and maybe he will just go away...but, hopefully not to Canada)
++Rowan listens/serves Communion to/the LGBT CoE Clergy, nothing new, nothing new (and next thing ya know he'll be sharing religious experiences with the Pope and Biggie Reformed Jew).
++Rowan is very busy working on his Advent "check-off" list (tisk, tisk) and pastoral letter (we await, and await any signs of acknowledging strife/life).
Round and round ++Rowan goes and where he stops nobody knows.
Steven wrote "Sometimes I wish I could just skip the painful time "in-between"."
Welcome to being pregnant.
The good news - you're pregnant.
The bad news - you're going to a have a baby which means passing something the size of a watermelon between your legs, assuming you don't die of complications before that.
The good news - God makes pregnancy so uncomfortable that the idea of the baby staying in is worse than the idea of it coming out (that's how I recognise when healthy women are ready to give birth!) :-)
"For conservatives, it has been a matter that was bad and related to essentials"
See, I don't think this is true for either side. I think both sides have a huge chunk of self identification wrapped up in this. It's essential for them to see themselves as either defenders of the downtrodden or defenders of the Truth. In so far as either side can link this to the Gospel, they get to think they speak with God's voice. That's what's essential, not the doctrine. But then, it never is the doctrine, it's always about who's holiest, sorry, orthodox. And liberals might not use the word, but they think it.
A very perceptive post. For the most part, I think you're correct. We're all in danger of getting our shoulders out of joint--patting oneself on the back being (at the best of times) a fairly dangerous operation.
Still, whatever distasteful, self-laudatory sentiments may be mixed in--somebody is right and somebody is wrong. Truth exists, as does God, despite our often confused motives and motivations. Hence, everyone seems to find themselves saying, based on their perception of that truth--Here I stand, I can do no other.
I will disagree slightly with Charles Nurse.
Archbishops Buckle and Clarke are conservatives, not "conservatives."
I've made this distinction before between conservatives (those who seek to be consistent with past practice and may therefore reject new interpretations) and "conservatives" (those who act in ways which radically depart from the past while pretending to be conservative).
Now, prior to becoming Metropolitan, my Lord of Yukon misbehaved a bit vis-avis the diocese of New Westminster in a manner that was definitely "conservative" rather than conservative. But since then he has learned to work and play well (or at least better) with others.
I think the truth is to be found in such statements as "Love the Lord Thy God....., Love Thy neighbour as thyself., Love one another as I have loved you, If a man asks for thy cloak, give him thy shirt also" and on and on. OK, so maybe I didn't get the wording exactly right, but the point is that we are called to love one another. Do we do that by claiming "the other side" is perverting the Gospel, or out to subvert the Church, or holding on to dreams of past authority, or power hungry, or faithless? Do we do it by demonizing a group of people, lying about them, pretending our lies are based on scientific fact, falsely claiming they are asking for things they are NOT asking for, saying they are not human, seeking to jail them, and on and on? I have tried to include the sins of the Left as well as of the Right, and I am guilty of some myself. One thing I am pretty much sure of, if one paints onesself out to be some great defender of the Gospel, however one understands that Gospel to be, one most likely is not defending the Gospel at all. That's why these people keep telling everybody they are such staunch guardians of God's truth.
I think the difference, for me at least, is that I do not deny the possibility that the other side may have the truth of it. I don't know...but I prefer to err on the side of acceptance rather than rejection, believing our Savior prefers that.
I don't claim to know "the truth". I'm reminded of the exchange between Jesus and Pilate as portrayed in "Jesus Christ Superstar":
"I look for truth and find that I get damned."
"But what is truth? Is truth unchanging law? We both have 'truths'--are mine the same as yours?"
"But what is truth? Is truth unchanging law?"
I think that for many conservatives, especially conservative Evangelicals, Truth is actually unchanging Law. "Yesterday, today, forever, Jesus is the same". How often are we told that God does not change, that what God defines as holy does not change? Scriptural authority is indeed the issue, since, for them, Scripture is the Law to be obeyed. To disobey that Law is sin. God's redeeming love for us consists in His self sacrifice in order to satisfy His own offended pride, since our crimes anger Him so much. It seems He allowed Himself to be tortured to death so He could stop being mad with us, there was no other way. This is considered central to any understanding of atonement. God's love consists in letting a race of criminals get away with their crime by enduring aforesaid suicide/infanticide because He loves us so much he doesn't want to see us punished (justly, I might add) for our crimes, and there was no other way He could avoid punishing us. Why He, Who is after all omnipotent, couldn't just decide not to punish us is unexplained. Everything about the Gospel is seen in terms of crime, punishment, and the avoidance of just and fair punishment by criminals. I think the tone of my post says a lot about what I think of this idea. It makes God a deeply disturbed individual with anger control issues. It makes the love of God into some sort of conditional thing to be bought by our subservience. It is not the Tradition, though they argue quite vehemently that it is. Even conversion is seen as making people aware that they are criminals ('being convicted of sin' is the catch phrase) and then being appropriately remorseful for said crimes. You don't become a Christian out of love for God or for the Gospel, you become a Christian because if you don't, God will punish you in the way you deserve to be punished.