Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Canadian church vote on changing marriage canon
Updated Tuesday evening
Hiltz: Poll shows in fact we did have 2/3 majority among clergy, laity and bishops, and the same-sex marriage motion is carried #GS2016
CBC News BREAKING Anglicans to allow same-sex marriage after recount
A statement from The Ven. Dr. Michael Thompson, General Secretary
Associated Press via the Guardian Anglican church of Canada backs same-sex marriage, a day after rejecting it
The Anglican Journal reports: Canadian Anglicans reject same-sex marriage by one vote:
A resolution to change the marriage canon (church law) to allow for the solemnization of marriages of same-sex couples failed to pass by a fraction of a percentage point at the Anglican Church of Canada’s General Synod July 11.
The vote, which required a two-thirds majority in each of the orders of laity, clergy and bishops, received 72.22% support from the laity and 68.42% in the order of bishops, but only 66.23% percent in the order of clergy—0.43% shy of the 66.66% needed.
There is another report: Relief, despair as same-sex marriage motion fails.
Subsequently, several dioceses made their own anouncements: Niagara, Ottawa to offer same-sex marriages; Toronto to consider:
Within hours of the defeat of a motion to amend the marriage canon of the Anglican Church of Canada, at least two dioceses had announced plans to go ahead with same-sex marriages, with a third saying it would consider this course of action.
In a prepared statement, Niagara Bishop Michael Bird cited General Synod Chancellor David Jones, who announced in synod Monday, July 11, that the marriage canon in its present form does not explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage.
In Jones’s words, the statement said, the canon “does not contain either a definition of marriage or a specific prohibition against solemnizing same-sex marriage.” It’s also clear, it continued, that Anglican conventions allow bishops to authorize “liturgies to respond to pastoral needs within their dioceses, in the absence of any actions by this General Synod to address these realities.
“Accordingly, and in concert with several other bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, it is my intention to immediately exercise this authority to respond to the sacramental needs of the LGBTQ2 community in the Diocese of Niagara,” said Bird…
Statement by the Bishop of Niagara
Statement by the Bishop of Toronto
Statement by the Bishop of Ottawa
Statement by the Bishops of Huron
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on
Tuesday, 12 July 2016 at 9:43am BST
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
| equality legislation
Credit to the bishops not just for the actions they are taking but also because they had a contingency plan ready in case the vote didn't pass. That is proper leadership.
Now that's what you call leadership.
It's what we need in the Church of England: moral leadership at a local level, with people acting according to their integrity and conscience, even if it means defying central authority.
This is a justice issue and a conscience issue. And it's unconscionable that top-down authority should impose uniformity on a Church that we know full well, in England, is divided down the middle.
I am gutted for LGBT+ people and all those who affirm them in the Anglican Church in Canada. But I am proud of those who are going to take a stand and introduce equal marriage as a 'de facto' reality.
It's what is needed in England if change does not come very soon: a network of local churches, PCCs, priests... who knows, even bishops and dioceses... willing to exercise courage of conviction and good conscience.
And that doesn't mean forcing other Christians to contravene their consciences if they hold a more conservative view. It simply means, in the diversity of understandings within the Church, that conscience gets respected and unity is found, not in imposed uniformity (which is a fake unity) but in our common faith in Jesus Christ, and in love for one another, even in diversity.
THAT is good disagreement.
May God bless the Anglican Church in Canada, as it seeks (in diverse ways) to minister to local communities, and serve, and love.
Several months ago the Canadian House of Bishops indicated publically they were divided on this issue, indicating the required two-thirds majority for SSM to pass in their order was not there. Consequently, my reading of the tea leaves was that once the motion was on the floor for debate it would be stick handled off using referral or some other procedure. Man was I wrong, and happy now to have been proven so. The motion was voted on after a very lengthy if not difficult debate.
As one watched the live streaming of that debate yesterday afternoon and evening, it was clear that many of the sixty speakers found debating legislation painful. They should take consolation in the fact they we are a synodical church, that we have both the privilege and responsibility of making our own decisions, that they are not imposed upon us by a central curia, official or unofficial, meeting elsewhere behind closed doors.
The failure of the vote in the one order of clergy by the smallest of percentages is, notwithstanding, still a victory for justice GLBTQ Anglicans. The achieving of the two-thirds majority in the orders of bishops and laity, and the near achievement of that majority in the order of clergy demonstrates the huge amount of support for SSM in the Canadian church. Opponents of SSM marriage cannot be find this grounds for sober second thought going forward.
The real shocker in this is the legal opinion from the Chancellor that the current Marriage Canon does not actually prohibit SSM with the follow up that at least two bishops will therefore allow SSM. Good that it should be so.
Expect statements from as many as 10-12 dioceses in the coming days and weeks. It is quite clear from Michael Bird's statement (and the speed in which it was posted) that it was prepared ahead of the vote.
The surprise was that the vote passed in the Order of Bishops, but failed (by 1 vote) in the Order of Clergy. Speculation was that, although a majority of bishops were personally in favour, enough were either willing to pander to conservatives or afraid of losing their invitation to Lambeth that it would not pass in the bishops. By the vote count, it appears that only one bishop who had not previously voiced opposition voted no.
"It's what is needed in England if change does not come very soon: a network of local churches, PCCs, priests... who knows, even bishops and dioceses... willing to exercise courage of conviction and good conscience."
In England statute prohibits same sex marriage and the danger is any marriage conducted in England by an independent minister would be void. In England, the conservatives have very effectively salted the ground to prevent the sort of moves announced in Canada.
Audit showed problem with electronic voting. Actual clergy result 52-26, and the motion carried.
Some who voted vs same-sex marriage motion have left the plenary after Hiltz says votes show that same-sex marriage motion passed #GS2016— anglicanjournal (@anglicanjournal) July 12, 2016
Time for some shared conversations?
Yes! Go Canada!
I understand that the Canadians are bringing their delicacies to the naughty step, as the Scots are bring shortbread biscuits and whiskey. Americans are bringing microbrewed beer. (You don't want our GMO food...).
Thanks be to God for justice, equality...and recounts! Alleluia! :-D
[And welcome to the Time-Out corner, AngChCanada. We in TEC have saved you a seat. ;-/ ]
So with TEC, the Canadians, the Scots (and is it the Welsh too, I forget) the Anglican Primates can no longer claim it is just one aberrant province. It is a game changer in international terms.
And of course wonderful news for Canadians.
Closer to home it ramps up pressure on the Church of England. A pastoral accommodation is clearly not going to be regarded as sufficient. And if other provinces see no fundamental barrier, any objections are more likely to look to the public as homophobia rather than any reasoned difficulty.
Changing the Marriage Canon requires being passed in each of the three Orders at two successive General Synods. After First Reading (which occurred today, after the recount confirmed two-thirds of each Order in favour), the amendment will now be referred to the Synods of the 4 Ecclesiastical Provinces and the Synods of the 30 dioceses for consultation and comment (but not approval). The provision will then come back to General Synod in 2019 for Second Reading, at which time it could be carried by two-thirds in each of the Orders, amended, or defeated. So there will be consultation.
As noted it was always clear that no matter what the vote, Bishops would proceed to do this anyway. In the diocese of Toronto the question will be what conservative parishes do/be allowed to do.
@ copy hold, All you note about how the Canadian church will proceed with the question of possible change to our Marriage Canon is right on and correct.
Notwithstanding, the balloon has gone up. First off the General Synod Chancellor has provided his opinion in writing that the Marriage Canon as it currently exists does not prohibit same sex marriage.
Secondly at least two Canadian bishops announced in prepared statements that they are going ahead and authorizing same sex marriages in their dioceses. As of the day after Synod, they do not appear to have changed their minds.
Additionally, opponents of SSM will say, indeed are already saying, what is the point of further study when some bishops are going ahead in any event.
The Canadian church has now reached a watershed. The matter appears to be out in front of any Canonical change.
Talk about eucatastrophe! I'm overjoyed.
Here is a link to the most recent statement
(July 12th) from the bishop of Toronto. It should be read, as stated, in conjunction with his previous statement of July 11th which may be accessed by the highlighted link at the bottom of the July 12th statement.
There, in the July 11th statement, the archbishop states, "I also respect that there are other convictions. No one will be obligated to act against their conscience."
In the Canadian Church, conservatives have always been generously accommodated on every issue, liturgical renewal, Christian initiation, ordination of women as priests and bishops, re-marriage after divorce, you name it. In some regards they have been allowed there own informal parallel church within a church. Don't let anyone tell you differently.
"In the Canadian Church, conservatives have always been generously accommodated on every issue, liturgical renewal, Christian initiation, ordination of women as priests and bishops, re-marriage after divorce, you name it. In some regards they have been allowed there own informal parallel church within a church. Don't let anyone tell you differently."
On the other hand, they are Christians too, and we cannot, or should not, leave them behind.
I don't think there's any question that "conservative" parishes (isn't marriage itself "conservative"?) will proceed as they have always done. I don't expect wedding bells for same-gender couples at Little Trinity any time soon, nor can I imagine they will be in any way penalized for that. The change is permissive: "conservatives" seem perpetually afraid that "liberals" are going to behave the same way they do! (i.e. Will "liberal" parishes in New Brunswick be able to marry same-gender couples?)
An aftermath of the eventual result has brought complaints from the losing side of the arguments that they were not pastorally cared for after the amended result came through. I wonder if they themselves 'care about' the same-sex couples whose lives so far have been marred by the Church's indifference to their situation?
There is so much to be said about those who have worked diligently and patiently for so long to make this a reality. It seems strange to me that this piece of news has garnered to little attention here on TA, at least so far. I guess that the denunciations from GAFCON Primates haven't yet hit the news. Could it be that attacking Canadian Anglicans just isn't as exciting as American ones? After the Primates' Meeting put the Episcopal Church under sanction and warned the Canadians that they were on a slippery slope, the Canadian Church moved forward. This will certainly put a crimp in the style of those who threaten and bully because their bluff has been called yet again.
@ Richard Grand, "Could it be that attacking Canadian Anglicans just isn't as exciting as American ones?" Canadians find this unsurprising in any context ( : I think it was Lord Mountbatten who said that he always thought of Canadians as Americans in British uniforms.
Keep in mind that the strategy is to replace TEC with ACNA, but the latter is going no where in Canada, demographically or financially.
"An aftermath of the eventual result has brought complaints from the losing side of the arguments that they were not pastorally cared for after the amended result came through."
Should I hope that those of us who voted to remain in Europe will be given an accommodation which keeps us in Europe even though the UK leaves. Wait. That's not the same is it? Or is it?
"Could it be that attacking Canadian Anglicans just isn't as exciting as American ones?"
Perhaps, but it may also be relevant that the American revision went into effect after a single General Convention. We may well find ourselves in the "naughty corner" in 2019.
I don't think that most Canadian Anglicans are concerned about what GAFCON and their friends will do now or in 2019. We have long-suffering gay people in our families and parishes and they are our real concern. Throwing them under the bus for the sake of being called bad names is just not going to happen. I admire the laity most because they're the ones who really know what matters In the real world.
@Rod Gillis: I would think that the Canadian ACNA (The Network) have been hoping the day would come when they could scare people into joining them by declaring the Anglican Church of Canada apostate once and for all. Some of the comments have been from people saying they were leaving to join a "Biblically faithful" church. Since "Biblically faithful is one of their buzzwords, I suspect that some of these people are already there and are just trolling Anglican Church of Canada sites. If they seem so determined to go, it's odd that they considered us sufficiently "Biblically faithful" until July 12th. The ACoC declared same-sex relationships to have "dignity and sanctity" at General Synod in 2004, which was the pretext for those who were itching to have their own church the way they wanted it to finally go. Most who went had well-laid plans years in advance. Whether this decision will make a difference in their membership remains to be seen, but the Network parishes I am familiar with don't seem to attract dissatisfied Anglicans. Their target audience is the conservative evangelical crowd. Those who departed were following clergy who influenced them and these clergy tended to be those who fostered a "personality cult". It was very much a clergy-led movement. One would think that those wanting to go have already done so, but they will be used as a threat to try and prevent the ACoC from moving forward. After the past ten years I doubt that these new threats will make much difference.
"...expect their pals in GAFCON to say something in support"
...and of course in the Global South tout court, and one might expect the ABC and ABY as well.
GAFCON isn't the only interested AC bloc.
Not that this matters much for what the ACinC does/has done.
"the ABC and ABY as well." Keeping up appearances you mean?
"Not that this matters much for what the ACinC does/has done." A rather murky assertion. Are you suggesting the Canadian Church is not committed to The Communion?
Glad to see my good friend Bishop Mark MacDonald's vote has now been counted.
How the wider Communion views this, Mr Gillis, will be for all to observe in the coming months.
Have a good day.
"How the wider Communion views this, Mr Gillis, will be for all to observe in the coming months."
No doubt. And in keeping with the notion of viewing,one hopes the wider Communion may learn something from the transparency with which the Canadian church has conducted business on this file, right from the get go, from the many conversations that have taken place in the Canadian Church over the past decades, including diocesan synod conversations, from submissions to the Primate's Theological Commission following GS 2013 to the hours of open floor debate at General Synod last week which was live streamed for all to watch, to the open handling of the several votes that were misfiled, to the published opinion of the GS chancellor on what our current Marriage Canon does and does not say.
Meanwhile reps from elsewhere in The Communion, The Communion General Secretary, Bishops from Cuba, Brasil and the PB of TEC all spoke publically at GS last week. So there you have it.
Meanwhile reps from elsewhere in The Communion, The Communion General Secretary...spoke publically at GS last week.
Indeed he did. Indicating clearly that what ACoC went on to agree is not the position on marriage clearly stated and confirmed by the Communion at Canterbury.
So, again, we shall see. And again, glad that voting snafus have not been rectified.
Clearly the Bishops were going to move forward regardless, which is what we learned when they thought they had lost. If you call that transparent, you hold a different dictionary than others. But that is already likely.
When will "Global South" Churches stop judging the specks in the eyes of others while ignoring the beams in their own? They have only paid lip service, if that, the resolutions from Lambeth asking that gay people be treated with dignity and respect and some of them either openly or tacitly support the criminalization and possible jailing and execution of gay people in their own backyards. Why would such people be allowed to determine the lives of gay people anywhere, let alone in evil places such as Canada, Scotland, or the United States? Blackmail and intimidation have not worked and these are hardly Gospel values. Canterbury is in the middle and has to make its boilerplate statements, but reality is much stronger when we are talking about the actual lives of our brothers and sisters. Bullies need to have someone call their bluff. Unless we think Jesus was a bully.
@cseitz, "Clearly the Bishops were going to move forward regardless ...if you call that transparent, you hold a different dictionary than others." A thing may have more than one property. I call their decisions both transparent and decisive. You can find both terms in the dictionary. It is doubly transparent as now Conservatives understand going forward that some bishops are going to act on the basis of what our marriage Canon currently allows rather than endure blocking attempts to a local option by other bishops.
[ The Communion Secretary] " ...Indicating clearly that what ACoC went on to agree is not the position on marriage clearly stated and confirmed by the Communion at Canterbury."
For the record here is a an excerpt from the report of his actual address to the Canadian Synod from Anglican Journal.
"Idowu-Fearon ...praised the 'typically Canadian and commendably transparent process' that led General Synod to the marriage canon vote, he said that the conclusions this process led to—that same-sex marriage was theologically possible—'would be difficult to receive' for other parts of the Communion.
In his comments on the vote itself, he expressed concern over how either a 'yes' or a 'no' would be understood by the wider church.
'However you are led by the spirit in your reflection at this synod on the marriage of gays and lesbians in Canada,' he said, 'I pray that your decision may be received in such a way by the provinces of the Communion that it will help, and not hinder, our equally vital agenda to change attitudes that would make people safe.' "
Your speculation about what others may say notwithstanding, you have not given a direct answer to my question i.e. are you suggesting the Canadian Church is not committed to The Communion?
Committed to the Communion means what? Wanting the Communion to accept what ACoC has done?
The Communion has an identity. JIF indicated what that is re marriage.
ACoC can be committed to flying to planet Uranus. But do those who know how to undertake this believe this commitment means anything other than divergence from agreed flight plans? Of course not.
@ cseitz, "Committed to the Communion means what? Wanting the Communion to accept what ACoC has done?"
You have two questions. With regard to the first, what do you think it means? With regard to the second, how would you answer that, yes or no? Your attempted analogy is rather simplistically disanalogous and something of begging of the question.
Note the following, from the report of Bishop Idowu-Fearon's address to the Canadian General Synod last week. His remarks recognize a commitment by Canada to The communion. Do you doubt his analysis?
"Idowu-Fearon also spoke highly of the number of Canadian Anglicans taking on roles in the Communion office, the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) and in ecumenical dialogues, and thanked The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) for its support of the Anglican Alliance. He also praised the Canadian primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, saying his 'moderating presence' at the January 2016 meeting of primates helped them get through 'days of uncertainty.' " (Anglican Journal)
As an aside, I gather the staff at Wycliffe in T.O. will be welcoming a new boss in bishop Stephen Andrews, one of the bishops (Algoma) who has signed a statement by seven Canadian bishops publically dissenting from the vote re SSM at General Synod. Small world, eh?
+Stephen Andrews was the longstanding front runner and his appointment was very much expected and applauded.
Wycliffe has the largest PhD component in the (newly reorganized) Toronto School of Theology by a wide margin and a substantial Masters constituency vis-à-vis other schools.
+Stephen takes over at a robust time for Wycliffe.
@cseitz, "+Stephen takes over at a robust time for Wycliffe." That's good to know. Wycliffe is an evangelical school; but a number of its grads that have served in our diocese here over the years, for example, evidenced a solid theological education.
With regard to matters at hand,it's my view that both the conservative bishops ( like Andrews) who oppose SSM and the progressive bishops who have or are about to authorize it participated with equal transparency in the recent General Synod debate. This is true if one considers the (Canadian) Oxford English Dictionary entry on the definition of transparency. With regard to both transparency of person and transparency of motive conservatives argued against any amendment that would authorize SSM anywhere in the Canadian church and have subsequently dissented from the successful passage of first reading. Progressives argued in favor of an amendment that would allow a local option. Both groups are now proceeding on the basis the positions each advanced in debate.
Both groups can appeal to the existing Canon XXI on Marriage in the church. Conservatives can rightly point to its provision that allows any minister to decline to perform any marriage. Progressives rightly point to the fact that the canon does not prohibit SSM.
The wider Communion should take note of our commitment to The Communion project while recognizing our right to make our own decisions in keeping with the principles enunciated in the document titled , The Principles of Canon Law Common to the Churches of the Anglican Communion (published by The Communion Office.)
Wycliffe is an Anglican school with general evangelical students as well. I suspect we are the largest provider of ordinands in the ACoC. In the TST we are the largest PhD contingent.