Thursday, 10 April 2014

Archbishop of Canterbury visits Canada and USA

Updated Thursday evening

The Archbishop of Canterbury is this week visiting Canada and the USA.

See Lambeth Palace press release: Archbishop of Canterbury visits Anglicans in Canada and the USA

From Canada, the Anglican Journal reports: Welby explains gays and violence in Africa remarks. An extract:

…Q: Were you in fact blaming the death of Christians in parts of Africa on the acceptance of gay marriage in America?

A: I was careful not to be too specific because that would pin down where that happened and that would put the community back at risk. I wouldn’t use the word “blame”— that’s a misuse of words in the context. One of the things that’s most depressing about the response to that interview is that almost nobody listened to what I said; they mostly imagined what they thought I said…It was not only imagination, it was a million miles away from what I said.

Q: So what exactly were you saying?

A: What I was saying is that when we take actions in one part of the church, particularly actions that are controversial, that they are heard and felt not only in that part of the church but around the world…And, this is not mere consequentialism; I’m not saying that because there will be consequences to taking action, that we shouldn’t take action. What I’m saying is that love for our neighbour, love for one another, compels us to consider carefully how that love is expressed, both in our own context and globally. We never speak the essential point that, as a church, we never speak only in our local situation. Our voice carries around the world. Now that will be more true in some places than in others. It depends on your links. We need to learn to live as a global church in a local context and never to imagine that we’re just a local church. There is no such thing…

The Anglican Journal also reports Welby & Hiltz discuss issues of sexuality, reconciliation

When Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby met with the primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, he was “very interested” in the work of the Anglican Church of Canada’s commission on the marriage canon because of the reality that the Church of England will have to wrestle with the issue of same-sex marriage following its legislation in the U.K.

“Notwithstanding the declared position of the Church of England at this moment, he [Welby] is very conscious, of course, that there’s going to be a fair amount of pressure from within the Church of England to at least have some discussion around that [same-sex marriage],” said Hiltz in an interview with the Anglican Journal. “He hoped that we would stay in touch over the work of the commission, [because] inside the Church of England, they will need to have the same conversation.”

Welby was also very interested in the issue of reconciliation as it relates to the history of the Canadian church’s relations with indigenous people and its involvement in the Indian Residential School System. “As he said now, in the Church of England, things are coming to light in terms of abuse in church schools…they’re kind of at that early stage,” and Welby wanted to know how the Canadian church responded. “They’re compelled [to respond] and they will not stand in anyone’s way,” said Hiltz, adding that Welby was interested in the church’s 1993 apology to former residential school students for the harm and pain inflicted through the schools.

On the issue of the marriage canon, Hiltz said Welby was “very appreciative” that the commission will conduct a broad consultation across the Anglican Communion and with its ecumenical partners on the matter of changing the Canadian Anglican church’s marriage canon (church law) to allow same-sex marriage…

The archbishop then moved to Oklahoma, where he delivered this speech: Archbishop Justin’s speech at the Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace conference, Oklahoma, USA

ENS reports:

Archbishop says church must ‘join its enemies on their knees’

VIDEO: Archbishop explains comments made to LBC radio

…During the news conference, Welby noted that he had made similar comments in the past and that he was trying to say that “at its heart is the issue that we’re a global church.”

“The Anglican Communion is a global church. And that wherever we speak, whether it’s here or in Africa, or in Asia or in any of the 143 countries in which we are operating, in which there are Anglicans, we never speak exclusively to ourselves but we speak in a way that is heard widely around the world,” he said. “And so the point I was making, because the question was essentially about why don’t we just go ahead and do gay marriages, we have a profound disagreement within the Church of England about the right thing to do, whether to perform gay marriages or have blessing of same sex marriages where the marriage has taken place in the civil system.”

Same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales on March 29. Parliament by a comfortable majority passed The Marriage (Same-sex Couples Act) in July 2013.
The Church of England is “starting two years of facilitated conversation about this and we are not going simply to jump to a conclusion, to preempt that conversation in any direction at all but we need to spend time listening to each other, listening to the voices around the communion,” Welby said.

The example he gave during the call-in program of his experience at the site of the mass grave “was of a particular example some years back which had had a great impact on my own thinking,” he said during the news conference…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 10 April 2014 at 9:12am BST | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Canada | ECUSA

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Canadian church considers change to marriage canon

The Anglican Journal reports: Marriage canon commission members announced:

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, today announced the appointment of the members of a commission that will carry out a broad consultation about changing the marriage canon (church law) to allow same-sex marriage.

Canon Robert Falby, chancellor of the diocese of Toronto and former prolocutor of General Synod, will chair the eight-member commission. The other members are: Dr. Patricia Bays, Dean Kevin Dixon, the Rev. Dr. Paul Friesen, Canon Paul Jennings, Dr. Stephen Martin, Bishop Linda Nicholls and Archbishop John Privett.

In July 2013, General Synod—the church’s governing body—enacted Resolution C003, which will bring a motion concerning same-sex marriage to its next meeting in 2016. The resolution asked Council of General Synod (CoGS) to prepare and present a motion to change the church’s Canon 21 on marriage “to allow the marriage of same-sex couples in the same way as opposite-sex couples.” It also asked that this motion include “a conscience clause so that no member of the clergy, bishop, congregation or diocese should be constrained to participate in our authorize such marriages against the dictates of their conscience.”

The resolution also directs that there be a broad consultation about the preparation of the motion. At its fall meeting, CoGS passed a motion to establish a commission on the marriage canon to carry out the consultation. At the meeting, Hiltz said membership of the commission would reflect “a diversity of theological perspective.”

More detail on the members of the commission can be found in this file and the full text of the commission’s terms of reference is available here.

The “broad consultation” referred to is also discussed in another news report, Anglicans, Roman Catholics ‘committed to dialogue’.

The detailed wording of the original General Synod resolution came about as the result of a substantial amendment which can be seen marked in green in this report.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 9 January 2014 at 1:41pm GMT | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Monday, 2 December 2013

More women bishops

The Diocese of New Westminster in the Anglican Church of Canada elected the Reverend Canon Melissa Skelton to be its ninth bishop on Saturday.

Press reports include:

Huffington Post Canada Rev. Melissa Skelton Elected Bishop Of New Westminster
Douglas Todd Vancouver Sun Rev. Melissa Skelton elected bishop of Vancouver-area Anglican diocese
Paul Sullivan Matro [Canada] Anglican bishop brings branding skills

By coincidence the election took place on the same day as the Consecration Of The Revd Pat Storey As Bishop Of Meath & Kildare. Patrick Comerford, a Canon at Christ Church Cathedral, where the service took place, describes the occasion in detail: A Memorable Afternoon at the Consecration of Bishop Pat Storey in Christ Church Cathedral. The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church was there, as was the Archbishop of Wales. The Archbishop of Canterbury was represented by Archdeacon Sheila Watson.

Claire Duffin Telegraph First female Anglican bishop consecrated
BBC Irish Anglicans install Rev Pat Storey as bishop
Belfast Newsletter First woman bishop installed by Anglican Church
Sarah Stack of the Press Association in the Irish Independent Tributes paid to first woman bishop at Christ Church Cathedral
The Irish news CoI consecrates first female bishop
The Irish Times Irish woman becomes first female bishop in UK and Ireland
Ciarán Hanna Inside Ireland Tributes to first woman bishop on these islands consecrated by the Church of Ireland at a service in Dublin

Savitri Hensman writes for Ekklesia about Ireland’s first - or perhaps second - woman bishop

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 2 December 2013 at 2:55pm GMT | Comments (63) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 9 June 2012

Canadian, African, and American Bishops in Dialogue

A Sacrament of Love: Our Continuing Testimony of Grace

This statement was released by the Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue after their third meeting June 4 to 7 in Toronto, Ont.

The statement is also available as a PDF file.

The list of participants is at the end of the statement.

The Anglican Journal reports: Anglican communion ‘a gift from God’

This week, the Anglican Church of Canada hosted the third Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue. And judging by the bishops’ comments, the future looks bright for the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Growing out of Lambeth 2008, which uncovered divisions and disagreements between African and other Anglicans on the issue of human sexuality and same-sex relationships, the dialogue held its first meeting in London in 2010 and it second last year in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. The group was originally organized by Archbishop Colin Johnson of the diocese of Toronto, who is also metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Ontario.

After their meeting at the Manresa Retreat Centre, a Jesuit facility east of Toronto, almost 20 African, American and Canadian prelates and their associates attended a Communion service at Church House, the national office of the Anglican Church of Canada in Toronto…

And the Anglican Church of Canada website has this: Canadian, African bishops affirm common mission.

On one level, the first wedding held at the Anglican Church of Canada’s national offices will resemble many other weddings, with finery, music, and celebration. But it is a moment of Anglican Communion harmony that might not have happened 10 years ago: the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, will conduct the marriage service for the Primate of Central Africa, Archbishop Albert Chama, and his childhood friend Ashella Ndhlovu, a resident of Toronto.

The June 8 event is a happy postscript symbolizing the deepening friendships emerging from the Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue. The bishops held their third meeting at the Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Retreat Centre in Pickering, Ont., June 4 to 7.

Seventeen bishops from Africa, Canada, and U.S. met for prayer and discussion of two topics: mission and the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 9 June 2012 at 5:39pm BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 19 June 2011

Canada reports on the Anglican Covenant

The Anglican Church of Canada has produced further material, in addition to its excellent study guide and linked materials which were mentioned earlier.

see the press release: Governance Working Group analyzes Covenant.

…This GWG report is one step in the Anglican Church of Canada’s ongoing consideration of the Covenant. A resolution at General Synod 2010 (A137) requested several actions to advance this work. First, the Anglican Communion Working Group was asked to prepare materials for parishes and dioceses to study the Covenant and give feedback. These materials were released June 9 and are available online.

Both the GWG and the Faith, Worship, and Ministry Committee were asked to assess the Covenant by “providing advice on the theological, ecclesiological, legal, and constitutional implications.”

The resolution also requested that “conversations, both within the Anglican Church of Canada and across the Communion, reflect the values of openness, transparency, generosity of spirit, and integrity, which have been requested repeatedly in the context of the discussion of controversial matters within the Communion.”

After this period of consideration, the Council of General Synod will bring a recommendation regarding adoption of the Covenant to General Synod 2013.

The report itself is here as a PDF. There is also an Executive Summary, also a PDF.

I have reproduced below the fold those parts of the Executive Summary which are of most relevance outside Canada. A read of the full report is highly recommended, as many of the issues raised by it should be of concern to all Anglicans worldwide.

The Anglican Church of Canada Governance Working Group
LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES PRESENTED TO THE CANADIAN CHURCH BY THE PROPOSED ANGLICAN COVENANT

Executive Summary

…The GWG’s Memorandum identifies four broad areas of concern:

1. Lack of Definitional Clarity

Because the Covenant is intended to bind those Churches which adopt it, there are concerns about the imprecision or ambiguity of important terms used in the Covenant, which makes it difficult to know with certainty the meaning, scope and operation of the Covenant:

  • communion
  • The Anglican Communion
  • Church
  • Faith
  • a shared mind
  • relational consequences
  • incompatible with the Covenant
  • controversy and controversial action
  • commissions and councils of the Communion

2. Procedural concerns

The procedures contained in section 4 of the Covenant raise a number of concerns:

The multiple roles of the Standing Committee creates uncertainty about the authority and jurisdiction granted to it under each role and cumulatively.

There is a lack of both substance and detail in the rules of process to be followed.

There are no criteria for actions or decisions which are deemed to be “controversial”, which is what initiates the procedure under section 4.

The Covenant does not contain the normal procedural fairness that is fundamental in Canadian jurisprudence.

The rules around the establishment, application and length of moratoria are ill-defined or absent.

The proposed Covenant does not provide rights for appeal.

The outcomes for a Church declining to implement recommended “relational consequences” are unspecified.

3. Constitutional Issues for the Canadian Church…

4. Consequences of Non-Adoption

Not adopting the Covenant does not affect the membership of the Anglican Church of Canada in the Anglican Communion.

How do non-covenanting churches relate to the actions of the Standing Committee?

Apart from section 4.2 of the draft text, are there any substantial consequences to the Canadian Church if it chooses not to adopt the Covenant.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 19 June 2011 at 7:25am BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 18 June 2011

Vancouver's Anglican dissidents lose property appeal

The Anglican Journal reports: Canada’s top court denies appeal to dissident Vancouver churches

Press releases:

New Westminster: Supreme Court Denies Leave to Appeal

Anglican Network in Canada: Congregations Evicted from their Church Buildings
http://www.anglicanessentials.ca/wordpress/index.php/2011/06/17/anic-news-release-supreme-court/

Letters:

Pastoral letter from the Bishop of New Westminster (pdf)

Letter from the Canadian primate to the Bishop of New Westminster (pdf)

Press reports:

Vancouver Sun Top court refuses to hear appeal over four parish properties

National Post Breakaway Anglicans lose last legal avenue to claim ownership of church buildings, land

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 18 June 2011 at 7:47am BST | Comments (21) | TrackBack
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Friday, 10 June 2011

Canadian Church publishes Anglican Covenant guide

From the Anglican Journal New resources help unpack the Anglican Covenant

Canadian Anglican parishes and individuals who would like to learn more about the proposed Anglican Covenant will soon have a study guide at their fingertips.

The Anglican Church of Canada’s Anglican Covenant Working Group has released the study guide on the national church’s website in time for Pentecost, June 12.

“We’re encouraging people to look at the [details of the Covenant] and to reflect on what its implications are,” diocese of Ontario Bishop George Bruce, chair of the working group, said in an interview.

And on the official church website, Anglican Covenant study now available.

The Anglican Church of Canada has released a study guide to help parishes and dioceses consider the Anglican Covenant, a document that, if adopted, would define the relations among the provinces of the Anglican Communion. The material was prepared by the Anglican Communion Working Group, chaired by Bishop George Bruce…

Exploring the Anglican Covenant is available as a PDF file from here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 11 June 2011 at 12:03am BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 12 May 2011

Canadian Ordinariate has difficulties

Updated Monday

Several reports of this have emerged today. The “Traditional Anglican Communion” in Canada is not, it seems, getting what it wants.

Ordinariate Portal has TAC Archbishop on Canadian Ordinariate.

Anna Arco at the Catholic Herald has Ordinariate talks stall in Canada.

As the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has been gaining deacons in the last few weeks and continues to take shape, expectant eyes begin to focus on the other side of the Atlantic. A decree establishing personal ordinariate for the United States is rumoured to be announced any day now. Things are looking good for the further implementation of the Pope’s 2009 Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus which reached out to Anglo-Catholics.

But this morning we learned that the leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion has thrown his toys out of the pram and warned that the British structure may well be the first and last ordinariate, as negotiations in Canada have come to a standstill.

Archbishop John Hepworth – a flamboyant and outspoken former Catholic turned Anglican who leads the TAC – wrote a letter to Bishop Peter Elliot, a former Anglican who is the Vatican’s appointed delegate for the Australian ordinariate, in which he accused the Vatican’s Canadian point man for the ordinariate of derailing the process. He said he would put talks with the Church on hold. He added that the Canadian development would have an effect on the potential establishment of ordinariates around the world, including in Australia. The TAC is the largest umbrella group for Anglo-Catholic continuing churches around the world who have broken with the Anglican Communion…

The bulk of membership of the TAC is to be found in Africa and in India, as originally reported by me in the Church Times, see my statistics here.

Update
The RC Archbishop of Toronto has issued a Statement re: Implementation of Anglicanorum Coetibus in Canada.

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Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Anglican Covenant: Mostly Harmless?

Alan Perry has written an article about the Anglican Covenant, which he has titled Mostly Harmless.

I have had a number of conversations with well-informed, thoughtful Anglicans, many of them in leadership positions such as Synod members and bishops and ecclesiastical lawyers, which convince me that a large number of people have essentially adopted a narrative about the proposed Anglican Covenant, a narrative which seems to be relatively uninfluenced by anything like reading the document. Their comments typically go like this:

I don’t actually believe that the Covenant will accomplish what it is supposed to do. It won’t really address the tensions in the Anglican Communion. But I don’t believe that it is the Abomination of Desolation, either. I don’t think it’s going to have any ill effect. Recommendations of Relational Consequences are nothing to worry about.

This reminds me of the succinct description of the Earth and its inhabitants in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “Mostly harmless.” Not to mention feckless.

I’m not sure about that assessment, but let’s assume it for a minute. What amazes me is the conclusion reached based on it:

Since it’s mostly harmless, even if it’s also not likely to produce any positive effects, I will vote to support it because by doing so we can show our commitment to the Anglican Communion and our loyalty to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Now, I am committed to the Anglican Communion, and loyal to the Archbishop of Canterbury, but I don’t grasp how this conclusion follows from the assumption that the proposed Covenant is both harmless and feckless.

Concerning the Archbishop of Canterbury, he has this to say:

And as to demonstrating loyalty to the Archbishop of Canterbury, surely supporting a proposed Covenant which we believe will eventually just sit harmlessly on a shelf gathering dust is equally ineffective. Do we participate in a charade simply to avoid hurting the Archbishop’s feelings, or to cheer him up by giving him something in the win column? Is that not to play the role of the royal advisers, praising the Emperor’s new clothes to his face whilst trying to avoid sniggering behind his naked back? In what way is that loyal to the Archbishop?

And he includes this specific reference to the Church of England:

What will happen when a woman is appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury, if some churches can’t accept her authority as an Instrument of Communion? Could a question be raised as to whether the Church of England in making the appointment was not sufficiently cautious, or failed to obtain sufficient consensus? How harmless will the Covenant look then?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 4 May 2011 at 8:35am BST | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Canada | Church of England

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Primates Meeting: the Canadian view

The Primate of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, has given an interview to the Anglican Journal. Read it at Interview with the Primate.

There is also a letter sent to the Canadian church, see Archbishop Hiltz reflects on the Primates’ Meeting.

Here is one extract from the interview:

Q: How important was it to have this conversation?

A: Absolutely, critically, important…When you have primates who say, “For reasons of conscience and for reasons of who’s going to be there, I’m not coming,” you really have to sit down and say, “Well, what really is the purpose of the primates’ meeting?” There are some of us who would [agree with the] Archbishop of Canterbury that “the primates’ meeting is a given, you’re a primate. I may not be excited about going to a primates’ meeting, I don’t look forward to it, but nonetheless I have an obligation to attend the primates’ meeting…” It’s not just about my own personal choice; when you go to the primates’ meeting you don’t represent yourself or your own conscience alone, you go representing your province. To say, ‘I won’t go’ in some sense is to deny the voice and perspective of your own church that you represent…We recalled the fact that [the 101st Archbishop of Canterbury] Donald Coggan, 20 years ago, envisioned the primates’ meeting as a place “for leisurely thought, prayer, and deep consultation.” And then [Archbishop of Canterbury] Rowan Williams gave a history of the last 10 years of the primates’ meeting…What happened was there was a call in the communion for enhanced responsibility on the part of the primates… the primates were assuming an authority [that] as a group was never intended.

Q: Has this issue been resolved?

A: It was pretty clear…among those who were present, and that would have been two-thirds of us…that we don’t speak on our behalf. We speak on behalf of the churches that we represent and what we heard across the board was that we don’t speak until we’ve consulted with the bishops or the synods and councils of our churches…Within the Communion…there are some who really speak for themselves and they don’t consult or speak for their bishops or their provinces… That’s not only creating some difficulties within the communion, but it’s also, to be honest, creating tension within their own provinces. Some bishops are feeling that their perspective is not represented by what their primate says, or they’re told they can’t go to meetings because their primate has told them not to. They’re denied being part of the wider councils of the church. That’s really unfair…

And another extract:

Q: There were primates with more conservative views on sexuality who boycotted the meeting, but were there others with similar views who chose to attend?

A: There was a good mix of people…Those who came…exhibited huge loyalty to the Archbishop of Canterbury, deep respect for his invitation to draw us together in consultation with one another and a huge amount of respect for the Instruments of Communion…there was honest exchange between individual primates. But I have to say that this meeting was not in any way dominated by discussions around sexuality. In fact, you actually would have to pull very hard to find references to it in our plenary conversations, which is amazing…The last few primates’ meetings have just been dominated by that issue, [the] actions of certain provinces and the reactions of other provinces to those actions, people not going to the Eucharist. None of that happened, everybody participated fully in every aspect of the meeting…People were together at the Eucharist, they were together at tea, they were together at plenary, they were together for prayer, for meals. There was a real sense of community there… The blessing of same-sex unions was just not a big ticket item, not a topic of discussion at this meeting. Not only was it not a big ticket item but nobody was saying, “When are we going to get to this issue?” which was quite profound. Likewise, with the [proposed Anglican] Covenant…there was a general feeling that…we need to let the provinces have the conversations…and we’re not going to enter into a big conversation about it until our provinces have spoken.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 2 February 2011 at 7:52am GMT | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 22 January 2011

A Covenant in Canada

The Diocese of Qu’Appelle in Saskatchewan will enter into a Covenant with the RC Archdiocese of Regina.

Here is the press release: Anglican & Roman Catholic Bishops to Sign Historic Covenant.

Roman Catholics and Anglicans in southern Saskatchewan will mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity by establishing and celebrating a closer relationship between their two dioceses. Roman Catholic Archbishop Daniel Bohan and Anglican Bishop Gregory Kerr-Wilson will sign A Covenant between the Archdiocese of Regina and the Diocese of Qu’Appelle at a joint service of worship at St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral this Sunday, January 23.

The formal agreement commits the two dioceses to specific initiatives, including annual shared services with the two bishops, each church keeping and upholding the other church and its leaders in prayer, working together on various issues and jointly working with First Nations elders to promote reconciliation and healing. Each bishop commits to maintaining communication when new developments in one church present challenges for the other. Anglican and Roman Catholic parishes are encouraged to undertake joint activities in worship, mission, education and social justice.

For more than forty years, the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion have engaged in serious theological dialogue at an international level, resulting in agreed statements on key issues such as authority in the Church, ministry and ordination. In Canada, the two Churches enjoy substantial areas of practical cooperation. Here in Saskatchewan, friendship and understanding have steadily grown between the two dioceses over the past four decades…

And here is the full text of the Covenant agreement.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 22 January 2011 at 3:47pm GMT | Comments (42) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 20 January 2011

Archbishop Hiltz on the Primates Meeting

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, has given an interview to the Anglican Journal and has issued a letter to the church, asking for prayers.

The interview can be found here, and also (more easily readable format) over here.

The letter is available as a PDF from here.

Excerpt from the interview:

The 38 primates, representing Anglicans in 164 countries, will be asked to share their thoughts on two questions: What do you think is the most pressing challenge or issue facing the Anglican Communion at this time? What do you think is the most pressing challenge or issue facing your own province?

Rather than seeing this process as an attempt to sidestep the issue of sexuality, which has deeply divided Anglicans, Archbishop Hiltz sees it was a way forward. “If there’s any hope of some sense of renewed relationships with one another, it’s through conversations like these,” he said.

Reports that some primates with more conservative theological views are planning to boycott the meeting “does nothing to model for the church what it means to try and live with difference,” he added. “To simply say, ‘I refuse to come’ is anything but exemplary of the office and ministry to which we are called.”

Excerpt from the letter:

On the subject of primacy, each of us received a number of documents, ancient and modern, Anglican and ecumenical addressing the role, function and authority of this ministry within the Province and within the Communion as a whole. There is a real need for clarity with respect to the place and influence of the Primates’ Meetings and the nature of their service as one of the Instruments of Communion.

As challenging as this meeting will be, it does have real potential for respectful conversation and a renewed commitment to partnerships one with another in the service of the Gospel. I hope we will not be so consumed with tensions in the Communion that we fail to address the real global issues that demand our attention as leaders of the Church.

I ask your prayers for all who attend and serve this meeting and most especially for Archbishop Rowan Williams who said of this gathering, “As with every such meeting we must approach it asking what gifts God will give us through our experience together, seeking honesty and clarity and better ways of serving God’s will.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 20 January 2011 at 9:47pm GMT | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 6 January 2011

Faith in courts

The Economist carries an article on church property disputes, mainly with reference to the Diocese of New Westminster.

See Faith in courts.

As the season of goodwill fades, an old problem returns: religious disputes that draw in secular courts

PULSES rarely race in Shaughnessy, a genteel, old-money district of Vancouver where mature cedars shield mansions with giant drawing-rooms. But the splendid Anglican church there, which draws worshippers from across the city, is the centre of a dispute that arises in many countries: how should judges rule in religious rows? Usually such quarrels involve worldly goods and rival claims to be the true believers. They quickly raise theological issues normally settled in church councils, not the courtroom…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 6 January 2011 at 11:51pm GMT | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Monday, 13 December 2010

parishes appeal to Supreme Court of Canada

Updated Monday evening

The Trustees of four Vancouver-area churches have instructed their legal counsel to file an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada of a British Columbia Court of Appeal decision (November 15, 2010).

Read about the November decision here.

The text of Bishop’s Ingham’s pastoral letter is available as a PDF here.

The text of the judgment is available as a PDF over here.

Then read about the proposed appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada here.

A statement from the Diocese of New Westminster is copied below the fold.

A Statement from the Diocese of New Westminster

Trustees Initiate Further Legal Action

Congregational leaders of four churches aligned with the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) indicated in web statements and in letters read at worship services on Sunday, December 12th, 2010 that they intend to initiate further litigation by seeking Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. To date, the Diocese has not received formal notice of the application, nor of their intention to file.

This announcement indicates they will continue their challenge of the BC Supreme Court’s decision of November 25th, 2009, which was upheld by the BC Court of Appeal November 15th, 2010. The Courts ruled the church properties currently being used by the four congregations are to remain under the authority of the Bishop and Diocese of New Westminster for public worship in and as part of the Anglican Church of Canada, and not for the use by clergy and others who have left the Anglican Church of Canada.

The Diocese of New Westminster under the leadership of Bishop Michael Ingham is satisfied with the decisions of the BC Supreme Court and the BC Court of Appeal and notes that both BC courts have upheld and supported the statutes, canons and regulations of the Diocese of New Westminster and the Anglican Church of Canada.

Bishop Ingham has offered to meet with the leaders of the four congregations to discuss how everyone can move forward in keeping with the decisions of the courts and appoint new clergy for these parishes. To date, there has been no response.

Bishop Ingham and Diocesan leadership do not believe that there is any need to take any further court challenges, which will incur more expense and anxiety. However, they respect the Plaintiffs’ right to request the Supreme Court to hear their case as the final legal option available to them.

The Diocese of New Westminster under Bishop Ingham’s leadership continues its mission of welcoming all people into the worship and ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada. All are encouraged and supported who seek the presence of the Divine and wish to grow in their faith as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Diocesan legal counsel will respond to all the actions initiated by the Plaintiffs (ANiC Trustees and Clergy), and under the direction of diocesan leadership will move to ensure that the decisions of the BC Courts will be acted on in the months ahead.

Counsel for ANiC will need to file their request prior to January 14th, 2011 and until filed, the Diocese is unable to make any further comment on the legal aspects of the dispute.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 13 December 2010 at 3:13pm GMT | Comments (29) | TrackBack
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Monday, 6 September 2010

Anglican Covenant views

From ENS in the USA we have a report Presiding officers, Executive Council member urge congregations to study the Anglican Covenant.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson and Executive Council member Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine are calling on all Episcopal congregations to engage in discussion of the proposed Anglican Covenant at some time during the next two years.

The Episcopal Church leaders suggested in a Sept. 3 letter that congregations consider organizing a discussion group on the covenant during Advent (2010 or 2011) or Lent (2011 or 2012) or at another time before General Convention in 2012…

There is an official Study Guide, available here.

Meanwhile, from Simple Massing Priest in Canada we have a strongly worded critique, Saying No to the Anglican Covenant.

…The Anglican Covenant is the greatest attempted centralization of authority since the de facto creation of the Anglican Communion due to the final disestablishment of episcopacy in Scotland (1689) and the consecration of the first American bishop (1784). Despite the pretty words of 4.1.3 that the Covenant “does not represent submission to any external ecclesiastical jurisdiction,” nor “grant to any one Church or agency of the Communion control or direction over any Church,” 4.2.7 is very clear that the newly minted Standing Committee (whose creation has been a sideshow of smoke, mirrors and skullduggery) will have authority effectively to direct “relational consequences” to be imposed on recalcitrant Provinces…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 6 September 2010 at 9:05pm BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 12 June 2010

Canadian General Synod - final day

Updated Saturday afternoon to add second ACoC report

Friday was the last day of the Canadian General Synod. Here are the final Anglican Journal reports.

Feeling the truth Commissioner describes work ahead for all Canadians
Embracing our differences Acceptance of sexual discernment report ‘a watershed moment’ says primate
Spirit of God presided In closing General Synod, primate declares church has undergone a rebirth

The ACoC wesbite has these reports.

General Synod unanimously calls for greater participation in the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

General Synod 2010 full of historic and holy moments

In addition it has these summaries of the Synod’s business.

full list of Resolutions
Daily Report
Orders of the Day

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 12 June 2010 at 10:28am BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Friday, 11 June 2010

Canadian General Synod - Thursday week 2

See separate articles for reports of the debates on sexuality and the Anglican Covenant.

Anglican Journal reports

‘A new vision of what church can be’ Canon 22 establishes self-determining national indigenous ministry
Straight talk Archbishop Fred Hiltz visits with the Anglican Communion Alliance
In other news, General Synod…
Money matters Keep listening to each other, says $30K General Synod sponsor
‘Deep concern’ expressed General Synod asks for a full international inquiry into actions by Israeli Defence Forces
OPINION: General Synod 2010 has been successful for most, but great challenges remain
Why is there still hunger? Anglicans need to get to the causes of poverty, says Anglican Observer to U.N.
Meeting with the Lutherans General Synod 2013 and ELCIC Convention to be ‘fully integrated’

press report

Marites N. Sison at Episcopal Life General Synod action establishes self-determining national indigenous ministry

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Canadian General Synod - Anglican Covenant Debate

Updated Friday afternoon to add final text of resolution as carried by Synod and two further reports

The Synod debated the Anglican Covenant on Thursday afternoon. Here is the report in the Anglican Journal: A step in the right direction. Third and final draft of Covenant called ‘a very significant improvement’

The ACoC wesbite has this report: Consideration of the Covenant.

Marites N. Sison has this report at Episcopal Life: Third and final draft of Anglican Covenant called ‘a very significant improvement’.

This is the resolution as originally proposed:

A137: Anglican Communion Covenant (original text)
Be it resolved that this General Synod:

1. receive the final text of The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
2. request that materials be prepared under the auspices of the Anglican Communion Working Group, for parishes and dioceses in order that study and consultation be undertaken on The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
3. direct the Council of General Synod, after this period of consultation and study, to bring a recommendation regarding adoption of The Covenant for the Anglican Communion to the General Synod of 2013.

But this was amended. However the ACoC website has not yet published the amended text. We will bring you the final text as soon as we can.
This was amended by the addition of two extra paragraphs. The resolution was then carried by Synod.

A137: Anglican Communion Covenant (carried as amended)
Be it resolved that this General Synod:

1. receive the final text of The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
2. request that materials be prepared under the auspices of the Anglican Communion Working Group, for parishes and dioceses in order that study and consultation be undertaken on The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
3. request that conversations, both within the Anglican Church of Canada and across the Communion, reflect the values of openness, transparency, generosity of spirit, and integrity, which have been requested repeatedly in the context of the discussion of controversial matters within the Communion;
4. request that the proposed Covenant be referred to the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee and to the Governance Working Group in order to support these conversations by providing advice on the theological, ecclesiological, legal, and constitutional implications of a decision to adopt or not to adopt the Covenant;
5. direct the Council of General Synod, after this period of consultation and study, to bring a recommendation regarding adoption of The Covenant for the Anglican Communion to the General Synod of 2013.

A second motion was ruled out of order by the chair.
C004: Decision to adopt Anglican Covenant (ruled out of order)
Be it resolved that this General Synod:

1. Affirm the commitment of the Anglican Church of Canada to full participation in the life and mission of the Anglican Communion; and
2. Will consider a formal decision to adopt the proposed Anglican Covenant after the Church of England has formally adopted it.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 11 June 2010 at 9:20am BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 10 June 2010

Canadian General Synod - Affirmation of Sexuality Discernment

Updated Friday morning

The Canadian General Synod discussed sexuality this morning. Here is the official report of the debate.

Resolution A115: Affirmation of Sexuality Discernment Carried

Resolution A115: Affirmation of Sexuality Discernment Carried
June 10, 2010

On Thursday, June 10, members of General Synod 2010 passed resolution A115 — Affirmation of Sexuality Discernment. The resolution affirms a statement on the discussions that took place at General Synod on human sexuality and, “requests the General Secretary to forward it to the Diocesan Bishops with the request that it will be distributed within each diocese.”

The statement was first distributed for review and consideration on Wednesday evening, June 9, after members had been provided with time on the agenda in the morning to meet in the discernment groups for further discussion on this topic. The feedback recorded during the morning provided the context for the statement.

While there was no resolution on the topic of human sexuality on the agenda prior to the start of General Synod 2010, throughout the course of the proceedings members were advised that resolutions on the topic of human sexuality had until 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 9 to be submitted to the chair of the resolutions committee.

Resolution A115 was passed by a wide margin. Thanks and appreciation was extended for all who were involved in the development of the statement.

This is the full text of the adopted resolution.

A115: Affirmation of Sexuality Discernment
Be it resolved that this General Synod:

Affirms the attached statement of its discussions on human sexuality and requests the General Secretary to forward it to the Diocesan Bishops with the request that it will be distributed within each diocese.

The “attached statement” is copied below the fold.

Update

There is now a second article on the ACoC website: Human sexuality statement produces historic moment in the life of the church.

Here is the Anglican Journal report: Hope within diversity. No legislative decision on same-sex blessings but an open spirit enters discussions.

And Tobi Cohen writes in the Vancouver Sun: Anglicans fail to resolve gay-marriage debate.

Sexuality Discernment report, June 9, 2010

Discernment on Sexuality
General Synod 2010

The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada met in Halifax, Nova Scotia in June of 2010. Together we entered into intentional conversations in order to hear where our Church is at this time in its life in relation to the matter of blessing of same gender unions. Our conversations were marked by grace, honesty and generosity of spirit towards one another. There was robust participation in the conversations. In dialogue we shared our passion for the mission of God in the world and our thoughts, feelings and convictions. We were attentive to each others’ perspectives, experiences and stories and we shared a commitment to continued theological reflection and scriptural study as a foundation to our ongoing dialogue and discernment.

We engaged these conversations within the particularity of our Canadian context – a country that is diverse and many cultured. Canadians have been learning how to dialogue across their diversities over the course of our national life. We do so with deeply held commitments to transparency and openness, an approach that is not without risk and that we affirm as a great gift. Often, in processes of discernment, the task is to see our way through a paradox.

Our conversations affirmed the full inclusion of gay and lesbian members in our churches, aboriginal voices in our midst, and the wide range of perspectives on the issue of same gender blessings across all dioceses. Our dialogue has been a positive and helpful step in our discernment. At this time, however, we are not prepared to make a legislative decision. Above, in and through all of this, and despite all our differences we are passionately committed to walking together, protecting our common life.

We acknowledge diverse pastoral practices as dioceses respond to their own missional contexts. We accept the continuing commitment to develop generous pastoral responses. We recognize that these different approaches raise difficulties and challenges. When one acts there are implications for all. There can be no imposition of a decision or action, but rather we are challenged to live together sharing in the mission of Christ entrusted to us, accepting that different local contexts call at times for different local discernment, decision and action.

We are in a time of ongoing discernment which requires mutual accountability through continuing dialogue, diocese to diocese and across the wider church. It also requires continued theological and scriptural study and dialogue on the wide range of matters relating to human sexuality.

For many members of General Synod there is deep sadness that, at this time, there is no common mind. We acknowledge the pain that our diversity in this matter causes. We are deeply aware of the cost to people whose lives are implicated in the consequences of an ongoing discernment process. This is not just an ‘issue’ but is about people’s daily lives and deeply held faith commitments. For some, even this statement represents a risk. For some the statement does not go nearly far enough.

In the transparency and openness we have experienced with one another, we have risked vulnerability but it is in such places that we grow closer in the body of Christ and behold each other as gift. Abiding with each other, and with God we are sustained through struggle, patient listening, and speaking from the mind and heart together. We have experienced these conversations as a gift for us here at Synod and hope that they will be a further gift to the Anglican Church of Canada and to the wider Church.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 10 June 2010 at 8:00pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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Canadian General Synod - Wednesday

Anglican Journal reports

Huskins hangs in Deputy prolocutor elected by four-vote margin
Vision 2019 adopted Strategic plan to guide $1.1 million cut from national budget
Members only Cuts to GoGS mean almost 30% of dioceses not represented for next three years
The ties that bind Ecumenical dialogue has contributed to growth of faith, confirms Archbishop of Halifax
Just you and me, Olive Intrepid staffer hits the road to raise $130K for PWRDF
Reality check Landmark resolution renounces Doctrine of Discovery

As well as the above reports on Wednesday’s business, Anglican Journal has added these reports on addresses mad earlier in the week.
Mission possible …when the Anglican Communion works together, says Kearon
Deeper partnership possibilities Both churches ‘have the ability to speak truth to power,’ says U.S. Presiding Bishop

The ACoC website has these reports.
Feedback Received as Part of Sexuality Discernment Process
Common History Creates Shared Mission Possibilities
Sexuality Discernment report, June 9, 2010

Coralie Jensen in the Episcopal Examiner General Synod 2010 begins with confusion about what the Anglican Communion expects

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 10 June 2010 at 9:30am BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 9 June 2010

still more on Williams, Kearon etc.

Updated Thursday morning

Earlier roundups here, and here.

Ruth Gledhill at The Times has Warring Anglicans removed from ecumenical faith group.

Also Commentary: Pentecost and the Anglican schism.

Anglican Journal has reports from Canada:

Mission possible…when the Anglican Communion works together, says Kearon

Deeper partnership possibilities: Both churches ‘have the ability to speak truth to power,’ says U.S. Presiding Bishop

A much more user-friendly copy of this same article is now here.

Video report includes highlights from an address by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori (the Episcopal Church)

Update

Anglican Essentials has transcripts of the press conference held by Kenneth Kearon:

See here, and more recently also here.

Here’s a sample:

Neal[e] Adams, Anglican Journal: What about Nigeria and Rwanda?

I simply do not know whether Nigeria or Rwanda have formally through their Synod or through a resolution in their House of Bishops have decided [to break the moratorium regarding cross-border interventions.]

There are three sets of letters going out, one to The Episcopal Church members [Americans] who are on ecumenical dialogues or who are on the Faith and Order Commission. The second letter is to the Primate of Canada [Fred Hiltz], to clarify whether the Province has made a decision on the question of same-sex blessings. He may have addressed that in his primatial address. And thirdly, there’s a letter to the Primate of the Southern Cone Greg Venables asking him about the status of the intervention he has been involved with. His is the only intervention referred to in the Windsor Continuation Report. As a start we’re addressing those three areas and we await the responses – not where an individual bishop has broken one of the moratoria.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 at 10:34pm BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Williams and Kearon: more stories

Continued from here.

Simple Massing Priest has The end of authentic Anglicanism.

Colin Coward has What the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General should really be doing.

An earlier news report published by ENS by Neale Adams CANADA: Hiltz supports Episcopal Church, echoes objections to proposed sanctions

Associated Press Anglicans cut Episcopalians from ecumenical bodies

Religion News Service Episcopalians Booted from Anglican Bodies Over Gay Bishops

Anglican Journal Facing the consequences: Anglican Communion takes action against The Episcopal Church (previously linked in our Canadian synod coverage)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 at 9:36am BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Canadian General Synod - Tuesday

Anglican Journal reports

Revised resolution stands Formula for determining diocesan membership in General Synod approved
The Green Team General Synod to set up database of eco-friendly parishes
Does the church need to ‘regroup?’ Discussions about church structure will continue until 2013
Talk to the hand ‘I don’t think it helps dialogue to remove some people from the conversation’ says U.S. Presiding Bishop
Hope springs Deeper dialogue guides discussions about same-sex blessings
Talking about sex Reports from discernment circles on sexuality get good reviews
Roots among the rocks Compelling play touches hearts of GS delegates
Good cop, bad cop Early results from a 2010 readership survey show that love it or hate it, readers of the Anglican Journal are paying attention
Giving peace a chance It’s ‘my duty,’ to empower the women of Jerusalem, says Shafeeqa Dawani

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 9 June 2010 at 9:28am BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 8 June 2010

PB: "sanctions are 'unfortunate'"

ENS has a report on what the Presiding Bishop said to the Canadian General Synod.

See Marites N. Sison Presiding bishop describes Canterbury’s sanctions as ‘unfortunate’

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has described the decision by Lambeth Palace to remove Episcopalians serving on international ecumenical dialogues as “unfortunate … It misrepresents who the Anglican Communion is…”

Update

A partial transcript of the press conference is available at the Anglican Essentials website, see Press conference with TEC Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schori. Some excerpts:

Q: On the sanction imposed by the ABC on TEC for the ecumenism committee, the argument was that because of what has happened TEC doesn’t represent the faith and order of the communion. Is that fair? Secondly, how is it going to effect the work of TEC since you have a very strong interest in ecumenism?

KJS: Certainly our bilateral conversations will continue. I think it’s very unfortunate because it misrepresents who the Anglican communion is: we have a variety of opinions on these issues of human sexuality. People act as though one resolution from the 1998 Lambeth conference decided this for all time. If you look at the history of the Lambeth conference, they have gone back and forth: one in the 20s said that contraception was inappropriate and the next one said, yes it was appropriate and by the time you got 2 or 3 further down the road, it was the duty of families to plan. So our understanding about ethical issues evolves as it needs to, because our context evolves. For the Anglican communion to say to the Methodists or the Lutherans that we only have one position is inaccurate. We have a variety of understandings and, no we don’t have consensus on the hot-button issues of the moment.

and

Q: Has the ABC responded adequately to cross border interventions?

KJS: I don’t think he understands how difficult, painful and destructive it’s been, both in the ACoC and TEC. When bishops come from overseas and say, well, we’ll take care of you, you don’t have to pay attention to your bishop, it destroys pastoral relationships. It’s like an affair in a marriage: it destroys trust and I believe it does spiritual violence to vowed relationships. It is a very ancient teaching of the church that a bishop is supposed to stay home and tend to the flock to which he was originally assigned.

Q: you mentioned in your Pentecost letter – from the duelling Pentecost letters – “we note the troubling push towards centralised authority “ in response to Rowan Williams. Is not the resistance to cross-border interventions a similar push towards central authority on a smaller scale?

KJS: The resistance to cross-border interventions is for the reasons I’ve pointed out: it destroys pastoral relationships. It prevents any possibility of reconciliation; it prevents growth in understanding among people who disagree. The idea that one person in one location in the world can adequately understand contexts across the globe and decide policy across the globe, I think contravenes traditional Anglican understanding of local worship in a language understood by the people. This is what we were arguing about 500 years ago.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 11:34pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Canadian General Synod - Anglican Covenant Resolutions

We noted earlier this “official” resolution on the Anglican Covenant from the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee, to be debated later this week at the Canadian General Synod.

A137: Anglican Communion Covenant
Moved by: The Right Reverend George Bruce, Diocese of Ontario
Seconded by: The Right Reverend Greg Kerr-Wilson, Diocese of Qu’Appelle

Be it resolved that this General Synod:

1. receive the final text of The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
2. request that materials be prepared under the auspices of the Anglican Communion Working Group, for parishes and dioceses in order that study and consultation be undertaken on The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
3. direct the Council of General Synod, after this period of consultation and study, to bring a recommendation regarding adoption of the Covenant for the Anglican Communion to the General Synod of 2013.

Two individual members of synod have now put forward their own resolution.

C004: Decision to adopt Anglican Covenant
Moved by: The Rev. Canon Alan T. Perry, diocese of Montreal
Seconded by: The Ven. Ronald Harrison, diocese of New Westminster

Be it resolved that this General Synod:

1. Affirm the commitment of the Anglican Church of Canada to full participation in the life and mission of the Anglican Communion; and
2. Will consider a formal decision to adopt the proposed Anglican Covenant after the Church of England has formally adopted it.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 10:13am BST | Comments (19) | TrackBack
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Canadian General Synod - Monday

Update Tuesday afternoon

Anglican Journal reports

Facing the consequences Anglican Communion takes action against The Episcopal Church
Welcome home Parishes step up to sponsor 50 new refugee families
Springtime Silent Night Sequel to Amazing Grace video project to raise funds for military chaplaincy
A breath of fresh air Fresh Expressions not an either/or proposition, says Canadian team leader
Historic St. Paul’s is full of life Service on June 6 will feature an exciting mix of old and new
Resolutions, resolutions and more resolutions Indigenous people become full voting members of CoGS
Primacy ‘through the lens of mission’ Changes to Canon III expand role of the Primate
Bridge over troubled water Bishop of Jerusalem urges friendship with both Palestine and Israel

The ACoC wesbite has its own Silent Night report: Out of Amazing Grace, a Silent Night.
It also has a report of Sunday afternoon’s service A Journey Just Begun and the full text of the sermon preached by Archbishop Fred Hiltz.

Update
The ACoC wesbite now has its own article on Canon Kearon’s address: Canadian Anglicans commended for contribution to Anglican Communion

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 at 9:57am BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Monday, 7 June 2010

Canadian Primate on SS blessings and Covenant

Although the Presidential Address of the Canadian primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, has already been linked on TA in the course of covering the Canadian General Synod meeting, I think it is worth noting separately the section of his remarks on same-sex blessings and on the Anglican Covenant. It is copied out below the fold. This includes his comments on the Pentecost letter of Archbishop Williams. The full text is over here.

…A considerable amount of time in Synod is devoted to the issue of the blessing of same-sex unions. My observation is that wherever the majority of us are with respect to a theological position on this matter, there is less passion for resolving it through resolution and heated debate, and much deeper commitment to respectful dialogue and continuing discernment together. I have witnessed this shift in the House of Bishops, in the Council of General Synod, and in the context of many discussions during diocesan visits. I believe the Spirit has called us into this space for a time. We shall begin our work on this issue in the Synod with A Faithful Reporting on behalf of the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee, the Primate’s Theological Commission, and the House of Bishops, and International Conversations. Rapporteurs will record our conversations then meet and report back to the Synod the common themes. Each time we meet in prayerful conversation, we will build upon the themes emerging. I ask all members of Synod to enter into these conversations in a Spirit of humility and a genuine commitment to listen and to learn from one another. I know that our deliberations on these matters will be watched by many within Canada and around the world. I hope they see no evidence of rejection, condemnation, or demonization but every evidence of respect, charity, and patience. I hope they see a Church sensitive to the variety of contexts in which we are called to meet the pastoral and sacramental needs of those we serve. I hope they see a capacity for pastoral generosity. I hope they see us striving to live together with difference and to do it gracefully. I hope they see us “bearing one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3)

I come to this Synod mindful of the comments made by the Pastoral Visitors, appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to visit the House of Bishops last fall. In their report to the Archbishop, they said, “General Synod will, indeed, be a watershed, both for the Anglican Church of Canada and for its wider relations within the Anglican Communion. At its worst it could lead to internal anarchy. At its best it could help us all to appreciate and practice a properly Christian style of inclusiveness.” I pray, of course, for the latter.

My earnest hope is that we will emerge from this Synod with a Pastoral Statement reflecting the mind and heart of the Canadian Church on this matter at this moment in time. I hope it can reflect our determination to never walk apart, but always to walk together, in that love Christ wills and prays for us and for the whole Church.

Another major topic before the Synod is the Anglican Communion Covenant. We are one of the first provinces to consider the final text. We are blessed to have had an Anglican Communion Working Group guiding our study of the drafts of the Covenant and inviting our input by way of critique and revision. And I know that those comments from our Church have been viewed by many within the Communion as constructive and helpful.

Section IV, Our Covenanted Life Together, continues to be challenging for many in the Communion. On the one hand it speaks of respect for the autonomy and integrity of each province in making decisions according to the polity reflected in its Constitution and Canons. On the other, it speaks of relational consequences for a Church should it make decisions deemed incompatible with the Covenant. These consequences could range from limited participation to suspension from dialogues, commissions and councils within the Communion. In my opinion, they reflect principles of exclusion with which many in the Communion are very uneasy. For if one is excluded from a table, how can one be part of a conversation? How can our voice be heard, how can we hear the voices of others, how can we struggle together to hear the voice of the Spirit? How can we hope to restore communion in our relationships if any one of us cannot or will not be heard?

In his 2010 Pentecost letter, the Archbishop of Canterbury speaks of “particular provinces being contacted about the outworking of these relational consequences.” To date we cannot be identified as “a Province that has formally through their Synod or House of Bishops adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion and recently affirmed by the Standing Committee and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith, and Order”. However the Archbishop’s letter also refers to “some provinces that have within them dioceses that are committed to policies that neither the province as a whole nor The Communion has sanctioned”. One is left wondering if provinces whose Primates continue to interfere in the internal life of other provinces and extend their pastoral jurisdiction through cross-border interventions will be contacted. To date I have seen no real measure to address that concern within The Communion. I maintain and have publicly declared my belief that those interventions have created more havoc in the Church, resulting in schism, than any honest and transparent theological dialogue on issues of sexuality through due synodical process in dioceses and in the General Synod. I also wonder when I see the word “formally” italicized in the Archbishop’s letter. It leaves me wondering about places where the moratoria on the blessing of same sex unions is in fact ignored. The blessings happen but not “formally”. As you will have detected I have some significant concerns about imposing discipline consistent with provisions in the Covenant before it is even adopted; and about consistency in the exercise of discipline throughout one Communion. There are also lingering concerns in Section IV on monitoring discipline and procedures for restoring membership in our covenanted life together.

All that being said, I have every hope that our Church will embrace the request to consider the Covenant. Our Anglican Communion Working Group is committed to providing educational resources to aid our study. Bishop George Bruce will give us a brief overview of those materials in the course of Synod. I have every confidence we will use them faithfully and that we will offer valuable comments in response to the request for a Communion-wide Progress Report on the Covenant at the next meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in 2012.

All of our work in this regard is in keeping with our commitment as a member church with The Communion.

“This commitment”, as our Pastoral Visitors commented, “is much more than an exercise of duty. It is accompanied by and springs from a genuine sense of affection which we found deeply moving … Canadians really do want to play their full part and play it well.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 7 June 2010 at 8:31am BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 6 June 2010

Canadian General Synod - Sunday

updated Monday morning

Sunday was a short day as the Synod only met in the morning. Members attended this in the afternoon and then had the evening off.

Anglican Journal reports of the morning sessions.

Budget blowout Big cuts to national programs, Church House staff planned for 2011
[scroll down to read the text below the video]
Lose the attitude Sporadic commitment to youth ministry damaging, says Steers

Update

More reports on Sunday’s proceedings from Anglican Journal
Constant comment Vision 2019 getting lots of feedback from GS delegates
Birds and Bees Faith, worship and ministry committee conducts a new kind of sex education
No more winners and losers New style of respectful listening and dialogue presented in same-sex blessings debate

And a report of the afternoon celebrations to mark the 300th anniversary of diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island: ‘A beautiful, beautiful sight’ Celebration of diocese’s 300th anniversary draws thousands to Exhibition Park

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 6 June 2010 at 10:30pm BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Canadian General Synod - Saturday

Anglican Journal reports

Chillin’ with Fred ‘Claim your place on the floor of synod,’ primate tells youth
Falby gets another kick at the can as Prolocutor Election of Deputy Prolocutor to take place later this week
PWRDF gives thanks for 50 years of support ‘Money isn’t half the story,’ says interim director [Note: PWRDF = Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund]
Peace and reconciliation Bishop Suheil Dawani reveals the roots of his ministry in the diocese of Jerusalem
‘We are a people of hope’ Bishop from diocese of Jerusalem tells Synod delegation to keep up the good work

The ACoC website is carrying a daily report: “This unofficial summary of the previous day’s General Synod proceedings is posted daily for members and the general public (in PDF format).”
Daily Report

There are photos on the General Synod Flickr pages.

Some press reports

Alison Auld in Metro News Anglicans hope to avoid rancour in latest discussion of sensitive same-sex issue
Charmaine Noronha of Associated Press Anglican Canadians discuss same-sex blessings

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 6 June 2010 at 12:16pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 5 June 2010

Canadian General Synod - Friday

Friday’s reports from Anglican Journal

Primate delivers Presidential Address to General Synod delegates
full text of the Presidential Address
Live together with difference, urges Hiltz
Canadian Church allies with Episcopal Church Archbishop Hiltz echoes objections to proposed sanctions

How do we determine CoGS representation? Resolution ‘not perfect but a lot better than what we have now,’ says Archbishop

General Synod sets goal of zero budget deficit by 2012 No more than 10% of funds should come from bequests

Why adopt Vision 2019? Task Force presents top 10 reasons
‘Train is on the track’ for Vision 2019, says Dean Elliot

The laws of attraction Freshly-baked bannock lures many

Anglican Church of Canada website report

Vision 2019 – Living out the Marks of Mission

Press reports

Alison Auld in the Toronto Star Anglicans try again to find same-sex blessings consensus

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Friday, 4 June 2010

Canadian General Synod - Thursday

The Canadian General Synod held its opening service on Thursday evening. The Anglican Journal reports on the service: Colour and joy mark opening service
There is also a report on the Anglican Church of Canada’s website: Opening Worship Sets Tone for General Synod; Delegates Called to Feel the Winds of God and Chart a New Course, and the text of the sermon preached by Bishop Miguel Tamayo of Cuba and Uruguay.

Some papers have previewed the synod in recent days.
Tobi Cohen in the Montreal Gazette Anglicans aim to defuse gay-marriage issue
Mirko Petricevic in the Record Anglican Synod could be a cool affair
Marites N Sison
 in the Anglican Journal Archbishop calls for more courageous engagement
Ian Fairclough in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald Anglicans to debate same-sex marriage

On the Sunday afternoon (6 June) of Synod, members will be attending a diocesan service celebrating 300 years of continuous Anglican worship in the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Monica Graham previews this in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald: Celebrating 300 years of worship

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Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Canadian General Synod

The triennial meeting of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada will take place from 3 to 11 June. Links to all the official information can be found here.

The agenda includes discussion of the Anglican Covenant on Thursday 10 June, and there is this resolution to be debated.

Resolution Number A137
Be it resolved that this General Synod:
1. receive the final text of The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
2. request that materials be prepared under the auspices of the Anglican Communion Working Group, for parishes and dioceses in order that study and consultation be undertaken on The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
3. direct the Council of General Synod, after this period of consultation and study, to bring a recommendation regarding adoption of the Covenant for the Anglican Communion to the General Synod of 2013.

This is accompanied by an explanatory note/background information, copied below the fold.

EXPLANATORY NOTE/BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Since the decision of General Synod 2007 to commit to participate in the process of drafting of “A Covenant for the Anglican Communion”, the Anglican Communion Working Group, established by the Primate and the Anglican ecclesiology Working Group of the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee, has offered considered comment and critique of the various drafts. These comments have been reviewed by the Council and after amendment/revision have been forwarded to the Anglican Communion Office. On each occasion, the comments of the Anglican Church of Canada have been clearly heard and have for the most part found their way into subsequent revisions of the text. By April 2009, consensus had been achieved with respect to sections 1‐3 of the Covenant.

Following ACC 14 in Jamaica, a decision was taken to reexamine section 4 of the Ridley‐Cambridge Draft, comments were prepared and forwarded to the Communion Office. A revised text of Section 4 was approved by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion at its meeting in December 2009 and a final Covenant text has now been circulated to national provinces under cover of a letter from the General Secretary, Canon Kenneth Kearon.

Three key areas were clarified:

First, was clarification about the meaning of the word, church. This clarification was necessary because of expressed concerns that anyone could claim to be an Anglican church and then sign up to the Covenant, in effect opting themselves into the Communion.

The second key area addressed was the completion of the change in tone from the juridical to pastoral and relational.

The third key clarification dealt with who was to manage and administer the Covenant. In successive drafts this has changed from the Primates meeting (Nassau) to the ACC (St Andrews), the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the ACC (Ridley Cambridge) to The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion (Ridley Cambridge revised). This is significant in that the Primatial members(4) are nominated by the Primates Meeting and the remainder are elected by the ACC. The overall operation of the Standing Committee functions under the Constitution of the ACC. This change resolves one of the key concerns raised by Canada and a number of other provinces at ACC 14.

Additionally, the final Covenant text makes it clear that “Nothing in this Covenant of itself shall be deemed to alter any provision of the Constitution and Canons of any Church of the Communion, or to limit its autonomy of governance.”

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 1 June 2010 at 10:44pm BST | Comments (15) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 14 March 2010

Canadian-African Dialogue

The Anglican Church of Canada has issued a Communiqué from the Dialogue of African and Canadian Bishops.

For a little over a year, five Canadian and six African dioceses have engaged in diocese-to-diocese theological dialogue on matters relating to human sexuality and to mission. With one exception, each diocese has established a theological working group to prepare papers and responses which were shared with their partner diocese on the opposite continent (see below for list of participants). Ontario and Botswana exchanged documents related to sustainability in the context of mission. These dialogues have emerged from, and are a deepening of, relationships established during the Indaba and Bible Study processes at the Lambeth Conference of 2008…

From February 24 to 26, the bishops of these dioceses met at the Anglican Communion Office, St. Andrew’s House in London, England. In a context grounded by common prayer and eucharistic celebration we reflected together on our local experiences of mission and the challenges facing the Church in our diverse contexts. Though the initial exchange of papers had been related in most cases to matters of human sexuality and homosexuality in particular, our face to face theological conversation necessarily deepened to explore the relationships between the Gospel and the many particular cultural realities in which the Church is called to mission…

There is a further report from ENS by Matthew Davies, see African, Canadian bishops engage in theological dialogue.

…The Rev. Canon Phil Groves, facilitator of the Anglican Communion Listening Process, told ENS he was “delighted” by the dialogue. “This initiative of the Anglican Church of Canada is a direct response to the call of ACC 13 for participation in mutual listening,” he said, referring to Resolution 12 passed by the 13th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, the communion’s main policy-making body.

Speaking about the meeting of African and Canadian bishops, Groves said: “It was a privilege for me to be invited to participate in their final day and to hear of their common commitment to mission in the way of Christ. Such dialogues build up trust and are a source of hope for the future of the communion.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 14 March 2010 at 8:00am GMT | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Friday, 19 February 2010

Sunday, 14 February 2010

more on the ACNA debate - part 2

Updated yet again Tuesday evening

See earlier list of pro-ACNA items.

The Church Times headline is Synod holds off from ACNA.

THE General Synod declined on Wednesday afternoon to express a desire to be in communion with the Anglican Church in North Amerca (ACNA).

But, “aware of the distress caused by recent divisions” in the Anglican Churches of the US and Canada, it recognised and affirmed the desire of those who had formed ACNA to be part of the Anglican family, and “acknowledged that this aspiration, in respect both of relations with the Church of England and membership of the Anglican Communion, raises issues which the relevant authorities of each need to explore further”.

Earlier in the week, Matt Davies of ENS had reported Church of England says no to full communion with breakaway entity.

Church Mouse For the avoidance of doubt - the CofE did not ‘recognise’ the ACNA yesterday

Simple Massing Priest “Just a flesh wound”

Lionel Deimel Declaring Victory and Moving On

Scott Gunn Parsing Synod — what have they done?

Jim’s Thoughts resolution

Colin Coward Lorna Ashworth’s motion about the Anglican Church in North America

ask the priest Synod, ACNA and the FCE - A narrowly-avoided theological misstep

Updates

More from Simple Massing Priest
SOMEBODY on the Anglican Right is lying
and
Another lie from the Anglican Right

Justin Brett ACNA-Related Ramblings

Stand Firm has discovered another document, Copy of TEC Memo Circulated at CoE Synod.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 14 February 2010 at 8:29am GMT | Comments (24) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 13 February 2010

more on the ACNA debate

Updated

The synod debate on ACNA has produced these reactions from Americans who support ACNA:

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 13 February 2010 at 8:35am GMT | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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Friday, 12 February 2010

Brian Lewis writes about the ACNA debate

The following article was written by Brian Lewis for the Preludium blog of Mark Harris.

“We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language” (Oscar Wilde, The Canterville Ghost 1887).

I was alarmed but (bearing in mind Oscar’s witticism) should not have been surprised to hear that some in TEC and ACoC might misunderstand the full significance of the Church of England’s General Synod’s decision to reject the call to “express a desire to be in Communion with ACNA”.

But let us be clear it did just that, not once, but twice or perhaps even three times.

To follow through the sequence of events.

The original motion was:

That this Synod express the desire that the Church of England be in communion with the Anglican Church in North America.

In a background paper circulated in advance of the debate the mover (Lorna Ashworth) made a number of allegations about TEC and the ACoC. This clearly established that though the motion was ostensibly only about ACNA it was intended to invite the CoE to condemn the behaviour of TEC and ACoC.

In response to that briefing paper I circulated to all members of synod two papers.

  • The first was written by Revd Canon Alan T Perry LL M. a lecturer in ecclesiastical polity at the Montreal Diocesan Theological College, and amongst other things former Prolocutor of the Province of Canada and member of the Council of the Canadian General Synod, and specifically rebutting the allegations made against ACoC in Mrs Ashworth’s briefing paper.
  • The second was compiled by Simon Sarmiento (of among other things Thinking Anglicans fame) after consultation with David Booth Beers, Chancellor to the Presiding Bishop and Mary E. Kostel, Special Counsel to the Presiding Bishop for property litigation and discipline, and assistance from the Revd Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG, the Revd Scott Gunn, and Ms Susan Erdey of the Church Pension Group. It rebutted the allegations made against TEC.

All synod members including the Archbishops were sent these papers (I believe they are now online at Thinking Anglicans). Members of TEC and ACoC are indebted to Simon; I know how hard he worked on the production of theses papers. I also know how grateful many members of synod were to receive them.

Mrs Ashworth duly presented her motion to Synod, the further allegations made in her opening address confirmed that this was indeed a motion inviting synod to condemn the actions of TEC and ACoC.

In response to the original motion the Bishop of Bristol put forward an amendment (with the support of the House of Bishops) entirely replacing it.

The amendment reads

That this synod
(a) recognise and affirm the desire of those who have formed the Anglican Church in North America to remain within the Anglican family;
(b) acknowledge that this aspiration, in respect both of relations with the Church of England and membership of the Anglican Communion, raises issues which the relevant authorities of each need to explore further; and
(c) invite the Archbishops to report further to the Synod in 2011.

There are two key and essential things to recognise about this amendment (certainly recognised by everyone in the synod and why it was resisted by those supporting ACNA):

  • The original motion had asked the synod to express OUR desire to be in COMMUNION with ACNA.
  • The replacement recognised and affirmed THEIR desire to remain part of the Anglican FAMILY.

(Other finer questions about “affirm” and “remain” were not key to the understanding of this amendment and to my recollection not brought into the debate, indeed an amendment to leave out “affirm” was withdrawn; we could equally say that by saying the leadership had “formed” ACNA the Bishop was saying ACNA is a new church, but that was also not part of the debate nor probably part of the Bishop’s intention. )

The force of this amendment is in replacing OUR desire to be in COMMUNION with THEIR desire to remain part of the Anglican FAMILY.

Synod accepted this amendment.

Synod declined to express “a desire to be in Communion with ACNA”. That matters. Questions not asked are one thing but when a question is asked and the answer is politely No Thank You that changes where you are.

The No Thank You was polite, of course it was, but it was real. The amendment also asked our Archbishops for a report on the situation, and helpfully recognised the reality of the issues any future possible recognition would raise for the relevant authorities.

I find it difficult to see how ACNA could welcome any of this.

Further In case it was just possible that this was not a rejection of synod “expressing a desire to be in Communion with ACNA” the supporters of ACNA put forward again, as an amendment to the Bishop’s amendment, the original request “that this Synod express the desire that the Church of England be in communion with the Anglican Church in North America”. Asking the Synod to say both things at once. A very Anglican fudge that would have been!

The Bishop of Winchester and other ACNA supporters spoke for this, needless to say I spoke against it.

This was the critical moment of the debate - you might just possibly maintain we had in the Bishop’s amendment acknowledged proper procedure - the role of the “relevant authorities” the role of the Archbishops etc, now we could add in the support of our persecuted brothers and sisters (as they were presented to us), and say we desired to be in Communion with them.

The synod carefully considered this and voted No.

That is the second time.

Then we were asked to add an amendment that expressed “our desire that in the interim, the orders of ACNA clergy be recognised and accepted by the Archbishops subject to their satisfaction as to such clergy being of good standing, enabling them to exercise their ordained ministry in this country, according to the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967.”

We said No. Recognising orders is a key part of being in Communion.

I’m afraid I consider that is No a third time.

It was hardly surprising however that nobody objected to the final amendment, an acknowledgement of the distress caused by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and Canada - indeed I had referred to it myself when calling on synod members to support those who had remained faithful to their church.

I know the very existence of this debate raises questions about one part of the Anglican Communion interfering with another - and those questions were raised - but before we answer them, what of the Archbishop of Canterbury in his Presidential address expressing “repugnance” of the “infamous” proposed legislation in Uganda, and the efforts he and other CofE bishops have made communicating directly with the Anglican Church in Uganda. It is also not improper for a synod to offer its view of who it hopes we will be in Communion with. But I recognise there are big issues at stake for the Communion generally - I would just reiterate, I see little cause for concern for TEC or ACoC in the outcome of this particular debate, and to be frank it is beyond disingenuous or bizarre for anybody connected with ACNA to pretend this is in anyway an affirmation of ACNA.

Brian Lewis

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 12 February 2010 at 11:14pm GMT | Comments (44) | TrackBack
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Friday, 5 February 2010

Responses to ACNA documents

The American Anglican Council has published this press release: Rebutting Simon Sarmiento and TEC’s Factual Inaccuracies.

The article lists only five points.

Anglican Essentials Canada has published this article: ACoC priest, Alan Perry, questions the ACNA briefing paper.

The article lists only one point.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 6:00pm GMT | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 4 February 2010

ACNA and Canada

Readers may recall this General Synod motion, which is being debated next Wednesday. And there is this amendment.

A paper rebutting the claims made about the Anglican Church of Canada, written by Alan Perry has been issued to General Synod members.

That paper can now be read in full here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 4:55pm GMT | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 10 January 2010

a bridge too far?

Episcopal Café has drawn attention in ABC’s visitors to Canada on “aberrations south of the border” to a report in the Anglican Journal on the recent visit to Canada of “two pastoral visitors from the U.K. who were deputized by the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams”. They were Bishop Chad Gandiya of Harare, Zimbabwe, and Bishop Colin Bennetts, the retired bishop of Coventry.

Rather surprisingly, the visitors appear to have included remarks in their report about a country they were not visiting, the USA. According to the Journal:

The visitors said they were also reminded frequently by bishops that “Canada is not the USA.” While the United States is seen as a melting pot culture where religious and ethnic groups are synthesized into “Americans,” Canadians “genuinely value and seek to live with diversity.” Differences between the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church were underscored, including the area of Christology. “We sensed that in Canada there was a general consensus on the nature of orthodoxy, with fewer extreme views of the kind that have led to some of the aberrations south of the border,” the report said. “Even the bishops who were strongly progressive in the matter of same-sex blessings insisted that they stood firmly within the creedal mainstream.” This, the report said, is “an encouraging sign that it allows for a more obviously Christ-centred approach to issues that currently divide the Communion, to say nothing of the wider church.”

Now read this article about the skills of Bishop Bennetts as a “bridge-builder”, Conflict resolution expert sent to observe at HOB.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 10 January 2010 at 11:59pm GMT | Comments (194) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 26 November 2009

New Westminster court decision

Updated Friday

The Vancouver Sun reports Anglican diocese retains ownership of four disputed church properties.

The Anglican diocese of the Lower Mainland will be able to retain ownership of four disputed parish properties worth more than $20 million, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled today.

Justice Stephen Kelleher decided against conservative Anglican dissidents who went to court claiming they deserve to have legal control of St. John’s Shaughnessy Anglican Church in Vancouver — one of the largest Anglican congregations in Canada — as well as three other Lower Mainland church properties…

The Diocese of New Westminster issued a press release, and also published the full text of the judgment as a PDF file.

See A Statement from the Chancellor of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster.

Reasons for Judgment is a PDF of Justice Kelleher’s decision.

The Anglican Network in Canada also isssued a press release, titled BC Supreme Court issues mixed decision in church property dispute.

Update

Bishop Michael Ingham has issued a pastoral letter. It includes this paragraph:

…I intend to invite these congregations to remain in the buildings where they worship and to move forward together with us in the Diocese as one people under God. I intend to appoint new clergy who will respect and continue the worshipping style of the congregations, who will also work cooperatively with me and the Diocese…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 26 November 2009 at 8:34am GMT | Comments (18) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Canadian resolution on Uganda

The full text of the resolution passed by the Canadian Council of General Synod on Uganda last weekend is as follows:

Uganda

This Council of General Synod expresses its dismay and concern over the draft proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill currently before the Parliament of Uganda.

The proposed Bill would severely impede the human rights of Ugandan citizens both at home and abroad by infringing freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, freedom of organization, and legitimate advocacy of civil rights. It would impose excessive and cruel penalties on persons who experience same-sex attraction as well as those who counsel, support, and advise them, including family members and clergy.

We affirm that our baptismal covenant requires us to “respect the dignity of every human being” and to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbour as ourselves.” We further note that 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1:10 called upon the Church to reject the irrational fear of homosexual persons and to create opportunities to listen to the voice and experience of homosexual Christians. We recall that the Primates Meeting in Dromantine, Ireland 2005 condemned all persecution and violence towards homosexual persons. Clearly, the proposed Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill fails to meet these standards.

We therefore call upon the Church of the Province of Uganda to oppose this Private Member’s Bill: and we call upon our own Government of Canada, through the Minister of External Affairs, to convey to the Government of Uganda a deep sense of alarm about this fundamental violation of human rights and, through diplomatic channels, to press for its withdrawal; and we ask the Primate to send this message to the appropriate bodies.

Moved by: Bishop Michael Ingham

Seconded by: Mr. Robert Falby QC

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 6:11pm GMT | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 25 July 2009

Niagara and civil marriage blessings

The Diocese of Niagara in the Anglican Church of Canada is in the news.

See Anglican Journal Marites N. Sison Deep divide over sexuality continues, and earlier, Diocese of Niagara to offer same-sex blessings.

And Religious Intelligence George Conger Bishop authorizes same-sex blessings.

From the diocesan website:

Niagara Rite of Blessing of Civil Marriage

The Niagara Rite is intended for the voluntary use of priests who wish to offer a sacrament of blessing regardless of the gender of the civilly married persons who wish to receive the blessing of the church and wish to affirm their life commitment to each other before God in the community of the church.

As such it does not imply nor is it intended to suggest that those who do or do not make use of this rite are excluded from the economy of God’s salvation. The rite is a means for the church to extend affirmation, support, and commitment to those who present themselves seeking a sign of God’s love in response to the love and commitment they express for each other and have already affirmed in a civil ceremony.

It is designed for the blessing of any couple who have been civilly married. It may also be used for the blessing or renewing of marriage vows for a couple celebrating a significant moment in their married life together.

Effective September 1, 2009, permission will be granted by Bishop Michael Bird for the use of the Niagara Rite as outlined in the protocols that are included.

And there are links from that page to other documentation.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 6:28pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Friday, 19 June 2009

Anglican documentation

From Ireland:

The Rt Revd the Lord Eames of Armagh, OM, gave the Annual Lecture of the College of St George, Windsor Castle on 26 May 2009. Speaking on the theme of the mechanics of reconciliation, he drew from his extensive experience both in the Anglican Communion and in ministering in Northern Ireland.

Full text of his lecture at Lord Eames’ St George’s Windsor Lecture 2009.

From Canada:

Twelve of Canada’s finest theologians explore issues relating to same-sex blessings in a series of essays now posted online. These essays by members of the Primate’s Theological Commission form the third and final part to the Galilee Report, which considered questions of human relationships and the blessings of same-sex unions.

The first two parts, a report on the commission’s discussion and the essay “Integrity and Sanctity” were posted in May 2009…

Full press release
Links to all the papers at The Galilee Report Primate’s Theological Commission.

From the USA:

We Will, With God’s Help, published in June 2009 by the Chicago Consultation, is a collection of essays about perspectives on baptism, sexuality and the Anglican Communion….

Full press release
The full text of the essays, as a PDF file.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 19 June 2009 at 9:39pm BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 16 June 2009

New Westminster court case concludes

Earlier reports here and also here.

Final reports from the diocese:

Network’s lawyer says judge should recognize Anglican division is “real”
Trial ends in the case of 22 leaders of four dissenting congregations vs. the Diocese

and from the other side:
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9
Day 10
Day 11

Anglican Journal New Westminster diocese court case hearings end

Supreme Court of British Columbia hearings have concluded in a case that will decide whether the Anglican diocese of New Westminister or parishes that have split away from the Anglican Church of Canada own disputed church buildings and resources. Judge Stephen Kelleher reserved his judgment and did not say when he might announce a decision.

Two lawsuits were filed against the diocese of New Westminster and its bishop, Michael Ingham, by clergy who cut ties with the Anglican Church of Canada and individuals who say they are the lawful trustees of church properties and resources for several congregations that also voted to leave the church. Other hearings have resulted in decisions about interim possession and sharing of Anglican church buildings in British Columbia as well as in Ontario, but this trial will be the first in Canada to rule on which side owns the buildings and resources…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 16 June 2009 at 10:56pm BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

New Westminster court case opens

Updated again Saturday

The trial before BC Supreme Court Justice Stephen Kelleher over the lawsuit brought by members of four dissident congregations against the Diocese of New Westminster began today (May 25) in Vancouver.

Those bringing the suit, 22 leaders in the four congregations, including three former diocesan priests, have left the Anglican Church of Canada, but want to keep their parish buildings, which the Diocese of New Westminster says it owns.

Read more about this from the diocese:

Cases outlined before BC Supreme Court Justice

Trial involving suit brought against Diocese of New Westminster begins

Some prominent members of the Church of England are supporting the group bringing the lawsuit, see Bishop Michael Nazir Ali adds support to St John’s Shaughnessy at Anglican Mainstream. Also, Letter of support for St John’s Shaughnessy Vancouver from Anglican Mainstream.

Wednesday updates

Court learns former bishop was asked to help in diocese

From the Anglican Network of Canada:
Mediation unsuccessful; Parishes and Diocese of New Westminster head for trial on May 25 over church property
Day 1 – Trial of ANiC Parishes v Diocese of New Westminster
Day 2 – Trial of ANiC Parishes v Diocese of New Westminster - May 26, 2009

And now also from Anglican Journal
B.C. Supreme Court begins to hear case over New Westminster diocese properties

And again from the diocese:
Dissident Anglicans say they were upset by more than same sex blessings

And support from Church of England Evangelical Council recorded here.

Saturday updates

Leader of St. John’s Shaughnessy says he wanted to remain in Canadian Church

and
Day 3 – Trial of ANiC Parishes v Diocese of New Westminster
Day 4 – Trial of ANiC Parishes v Diocese of New Westminster

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 at 8:13am BST | Comments (18) | TrackBack
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Monday, 6 April 2009

North American news roundup

ACNA has published its draft constitution and canons, see ACNA Canons Published, Comments Welcome for more detail.

The Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) has paid the Anglican diocese of Niagara $20,000, which it was awarded for legal costs by an Ontario Superior Court ruling. See Diocese of Niagara awarded $20,000 in legal costs at Anglican Journal.

The Falls Church congregation which split from TEC has issued a request to help pay legal bills. See the text of the letter sent as a PDF, and for background on the property development mentioned, see this news article in the Falls Church News-Press. (H/T Episcopal Café)

And in Colorado Springs, there are reports of the successful transfer of occupancy of Grace and St Stephens Church. See ENS report Colorado Springs parishioners celebrate Palm Sunday homecoming, and also in the Colorado Springs Gazette For two churches, a new beginning.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 6 April 2009 at 8:17pm BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 7 March 2009

Canada: developments on blessings

Updated Sunday evening

Same-sex blessings are in the news again in Canada.

Ottawa
The Anglican Journal reports that Ottawa diocese appoints committee to consider ‘blessings’ and there is material in the March issue of Crosstalk in a PDF file. See cover story and then on page 2, Bishop John Chapman has written a column. The Journal reports:

The bishop of the diocese of Ottawa, John Chapman, has appointed a doctrine and worship committee to determine whether same-sex unions can be blessed on a limited basis in the diocese.

If the committee recommends that such blessings be allowed “in the spirit of experiential discernment,” Bishop Chapman said it would only be offered in one parish, St. John the Evangelist, an inner city parish which has long advocated for the rights of gays and lesbians.

“In the event that I instruct the parish of St. John the Evangelist to proceed, this is as far as I am prepared to move on the matter until General Synod 2010,” he said in his March column at the diocesan newspaper, Crosstalk…

Update His March column can be read in full as a web page here.

The National Post reported this under the headline Anglican diocese will defy and bless but also reported that the diocese denied it was breaking a moratorium:

…In a press release issued on Monday night, the diocese said: “Just as the Church was not able to come to a clear mind regarding the benefits of the ordination of women to the priesthood until it experienced the priestly ministry of women, Bishop [John H.] Chapman has taken the process of discernment with regards to same sex blessings to a place beyond discussion.”

and this was confirmed by a spokesman for the Anglican Church of Canada who said:

…what the Diocese of Ottawa is doing is not a breaking the ban but rather a continuation of their “discernment process.”

Niagara
The same Anglican Journal report goes on to cover a related development in the diocese of Niagara. Bishop Michael Bird reports here on his recent visit to Lambeth Palace. Here’s an extract:

…In that interview I reviewed with him the multitude of task forces, hearings, Bishop’s statements, regional and parish meetings and the long list of Diocesan and General Synods that have discussed and wrestled with this issue since 1976. I gave him a full account of our dealings with dissenting parishes and the court proceedings we have been involved in. I shared with Archbishop Rowan our experience of the incredible contribution that gay and lesbian people have made and continue to make in every aspect of our Church’s life and witness, and expressed the overwhelming desire on the part of two Synod’s to move forward with the blessing of committed same-sex relationships for couples who have been civilly married. I also indicated to him my intentions with regard to my giving permission for these blessings to begin to take place.

One of the most powerful moments in the course of my fifty minute meeting with the Archbishop was the opportunity to describe the process of how our new Vision has emerged and how we believe that God is calling us as a Diocesan family to enhance and develop our work together under the five key areas of focus that are outlined in the Vision. In fact I indicated that it was my sense that the challenge the Vision offers us around the work of prophetic justice-making has made us even more determined to become a more open and inclusive Church.

Archbishop Williams listened carefully to my presentation and there was no doubt that I had his full attention. He thanked me for such a full and detailed report and he indicated how important this opportunity was for him to hear from me personally. We went on to have a very helpful and frank conversation about the implications involved and I expressed my own personal commitment and the strong desire of the Diocese of Niagara to remain in communication and dialogue with our sister and brother Anglicans around the world. I made it clear that we very much value and hold dear our membership in the Anglican Communion and we are grateful for his leadership and ministry…

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Saturday, 31 January 2009

Toronto: Same-sex Unions

The bishops of the Diocese of Toronto are proposing to respond pastorally in the matter of committed same-sex relationships.

See the press announcement: Bishops propose pastoral response to committed same-sex relationships.

See the Draft Discussion Document for Consultation (PDF).

The press statement includes:

The bishops’ proposal in offering a pastoral response is as follows:

  • Episcopal permission be given to a limited number of parishes, based on Episcopal discernment, to offer prayers and blessing (but not the nuptial blessing) to same-sex couples in stable, long-term, committed relationships, as an extension of the current pastoral norms.
  • Episcopal guidelines on the nature of the prayers/blessing will be established. A particular rite will not be authorized.
  • Episcopal permission for blessings will be required.
  • Evaluation of this pastoral response will be undertaken after one year.
  • No parish or clergy will be required to participate.
  • A Bishop’s Commission will be formed to create the guidelines, monitor activity and review.
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Thursday, 13 November 2008

Fred Hiltz writes

Below the fold, there is the full text of a memorandum written to the Canadian House of Bishops in October 2008 by the Primate of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz.

Part of this text was quoted in the statement issued by the Canadian House of Bishops on 31 October.

Reflection by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate, Anglican Church of Canada

At the recent Lambeth Conference, the blessing of same-sex unions was discerned in a variety of venues – hearings, self-select sessions, and Indaba groups. Indaba is an African word meaning “a gathering for purposeful conversation among equals.” In groups of 30-40, bishops spoke with one another and endeavoured in a spirit of mutual respect to listen to each other. This venue proved to be the most helpful in engaging in conversation over this contentious issue. All who entered into the spirit of indaba and willingly gave themselves to the conversation was moved by the experience. As we listened to one another we recognized that “the issue of homosexual relations is as sensitive as it is because it conflicts with the long tradition of Christian moral teaching. For some, the new teaching cannot be acceptable on biblical grounds as they consider all homosexual activity as intrinsically sinful.” (para 111, Indaba Reflections) We learned that “the whole issue of homosexual relations is also highly sensitive because there are very strong affirmations and denials in different cultures across the world which are reflected in contrasting civil provisions for same-sex marriage to criminal action against homosexuals. In some parts of the Communion, homosexual relations are a taboo while in others they have become a human rights issue.” (para 112, ibid) We learned of the struggle for some to refrain from proceeding with authorizing blessings, convinced as they are through a conscientious discernment of God’s will in this matter, that it is a matter of gospel imperative. We learned of the struggle of so many to equate blessings with marriage.

It was abundantly clear that these matters have been under discussion for over 30 years in some places and in other places it is a more recent conversation.

“The issue of homosexuality has challenged us in our churches on what it means to be a Communion.” (para 116, ibid) We reflected on the fundamental nature of the Church as relational: she is related to God, her members are related to each other, and our churches are related in a community of independent, participatory relationships.” (David Hamid) We discussed the nature of provincial autonomy and the principle of consulting with one another over significant matters of faith and order. We recognized the different politics of our churches and how they can produce misunderstandings and confusions that need to be addressed.” (para 102, ibid) We noted that “we need to acknowledge that the whole is more than the sum of the parts and that each part of the Communion, when it acts, must do so in the knowledge of what it means for the whole.” (para 102, ibid) We were convinced that an important way of “deepening our communion is (a) in the development of person to person relationships, (b) in diocesan partnerships and © in recovering our sense of belonging and mutual affection.”(para 102, ibid)

The outcome of discussions at the Lambeth Conference was agreement on the part of the majority of bishops present that, in accord with The Windsor Report, there be continuing moratoria on the blessing of same-sex unions, on the ordination of persons living in same-gender unions to the episcopate, and on cross-provincial interventions. In the Indaba Reflections document we read that, “If The Windsor Report is to be honoured, all three moratoria must be applied consistently.” (para 145, ibid)

Therein lies a significant challenge. The Archbishop of Canterbury recognized this in a letter he issued to all of the bishops of the Communion following the Lambeth Conference. He wrote, “A strong majority of bishops present agreed that moratoria on same-sex blessings and cross-provincial interceptions were necessary but they were aware of the conscientious difficulties this posed for some, and there needs to be a greater clarity about the exact expectations and what can be realistically implemented. How far the intensified sense of belonging together will help mutual restraint in such matters remains to be seen.” At the conference the Archbishop spoke of “a season of gracious restraint” to allow some space and time for conversation to continue.

I come to this meeting of the House of Bishop mindful of our Provincial context and the call for authorization of public rites for the blessings of same sex-unions in a number of our dioceses. I am mindful of the place of the Anglican Church of Canada in our worldwide Communion.

I trust the House of Bishops will support my call for respect for due process through the General Synod in this matter. In 2007, General Synod concurred with the opinion of the St. Michael Report (produced by the Primate’s Theological Commission) that the blessing of same-sex unions is a matter of doctrine. It is not creedal in nature but nonetheless it is doctrine. The same General Synod called for further work by the Primate’s Theological Commission in determining if this matter of blessings is a Spirit-led development of doctrine. Out of respect for the General Synod I believe we have a responsibility with the whole Church to await the opinion of the Commission. It is likely that an opinion will be forthcoming well in advance of General Synod in 2010. I believe that deliberations over this opinion across the church will have a significant impact on discussion at General Synod in 2010 and on the subsequent authority of dioceses through due synodical process to proceed with blessings.

As you can appreciate I am living with the tension of a call to honour gracious restraint and support of a call for bishops to act now in giving consent to the authorizing of public rites for blessing same sex unions. I am appealing for gracious restraint in this matter. I make this appeal out of respect for my brother and sister bishops who represent a diversity of perspectives on this issue; out of respect for due process through General Synod; and continuing Communion-wide conversation including going the Primates’ Meeting in February 2009 and to the Anglican Consultative Council in May 2009. I recognize that for some of you this appeal will be viewed as wise pastoral leadership on my part. Others will see it as a lack of bold prophetic leadership. I ask for your prayers.

Out of respect for those who would have us act now, I would encourage diocesan bishops to appoint a commission to consider what constitutes responsible pastoral care for gay and lesbian members of our Church asking for blessings of their committed monogamous lifelong relationships. I recognize that in some dioceses the work of the commission may include the drafting of a rite for public blessings. The Commission should be encouraged to do a thorough review of work done in this regard by other dioceses in Canada, and in other parts of the Communion.

In the meantime I want to draw your attention to two documents set out by the House of Bishops. One is called Shared Episcopal Ministry approved in the fall of 2004 and the other is Pastoral Generosity approved in the spring of 2007. That document in part reads:

“We are committed, as bishops in Canada, to develop the most generous pastoral response possible within the current teaching of the church. We offer the following examples of possible pastoral responses:

  • When a civilly married gay or lesbian couple seeks our church’s reception of their civil marriage and asks their parish’s recognition, it may be possible with their bishop’s knowledge and permission, to celebrate a Eucharist with the couple, including appropriate intercessory prayers, but not including a nuptial blessing.
  • When a gay or lesbian married or committed couple seeks to hold a reception or celebration in a church for their life in Christ, again intercessory prayers for their mutual fidelity, the deepening of their discipleship and for their baptismal ministry may be offered, not including the exchange of vows and/or a nuptial blessing.

To those who experience these pastoral statements and possible pastoral provisions as inadequate or insufficient, we recognize that they are less than the blessing of same sex unions or marriage. However it is the discernment of the majority of the House of Bishops that as of today the doctrine and discipline of our church does not clearly permit further action.”

I would encourage bishops to incorporate this provision along with Shared Episcopal Ministry into a Bishop’s Guideline, accompanied by a pastoral letter commending it for use in parishes where such provisions may be appropriate.

I take this stance deeply conscious of the burden of responsibility I hold as Primate, as a member of the House of Bishops, as President of the General Synod, as a participant in the Lambeth Conference, 2008 and as a Primate in the Anglican Communion. I do not believe that any of us should move ahead too quickly so soon after a call for gracious restraint from the Archbishop of Canterbury, without continuing consultation with our House of Bishops, without continuing discernment within our dioceses and without respect for due process through the deliberations of General Synod.

Please know that I am mindful of the continuing havoc created in several of our dioceses through cross-border interventions on the part of Primates and bishops from other jurisdictions. I believe we must call them to account. They too must honour the Lambeth call for gracious restraint. I remain committed to addressing this issue within the Communion.

I ask for your prayers as we steadfastly seek to discern the mind and heart of Christ for the wholesome care of all members of his Body, the Church. Please know dear friends of my own deep hope that though we may never come to consensus over this matter of the blessing of same-sex unions, we will seek the capacity to live with difference in a manner that is marked by grace and generosity of spirit, one toward another. I remain absolutely convinced that this matter ought not to be a communion-breaking issue, for as the Archbishop of Canterbury has said, “of the tensions that assail us, the wider life of the Communion is broader and richer than these matters alone.” (para 2, ibid)

October, 2008

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Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Canada: update on blessings

Some developments since the previous report.

Montreal Gazette City’s top Anglican stands behind gay unions

Anglican Journal Diocese of Niagara bishop calls for rite for same-sex blessing

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Friday, 31 October 2008

Canadian bishops issue statement

Updated Saturday morning

A post-Lambeth statement was released by the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada at the conclusion of its meeting in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Link to it in full here.

This statement is also available as a PDF here.

The earlier document on Shared Episcopal Ministry is linked from this page.

Update

The Anglican Journal has a report on this, by Marites Sison headed ‘Large majority’ of bishops agree to moratoria

Earlier reports:
Montreal bishop will work out rite for same-sex blessing by Harvey Shepherd
Ottawa bishop seeks approval for same-sex blessings by Art Babych
Central Interior assembly says ‘yes’ to blessings by Marites Sison

Also, see Lutheran Bishops issue statement on joint meeting.

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Saturday, 20 September 2008

update on New Westminster disputes

On 10 September, the Anglican Network in Canada issued a press release, Parishes ask court to clarify parish trustees’ responsibilities.

On 11 September, the Diocese of New Westminster published Supreme Court suit brought against Diocese and Bishop.

And on 15 September, the Anglican Journal published Former New Westminster clergy and lay leaders sue diocese.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 20 September 2008 at 2:46pm BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 11 September 2008

more stories about the Southern Cone

Updated yet again Saturday evening

First, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said he has requested Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to facilitate a meeting between him, the primate of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, Gregory Venables, U.S. presiding bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, and the primate of Brazil, Mauricio de Andrade, to discuss cross-border interventions.

See the report by Marites Sison in the Anglican Journal Canadian bishops to ponder implications of ‘next steps’ after Lambeth.

The three primates – Archbishop Hiltz, Archbishop de Andrade, and Bishop Jefferts Schori – have repeatedly asked Archbishop Venables to stop meddling in the internal affairs of their provinces. Archbishop Venables has, on his own accord, been providing episcopal oversight to churches that are in serious theological dispute with their respective provinces over the issue of sexuality. Archbishop Williams has said he will do his best to facilitate the request.

There is some more detail on the background, with links, in Canadian primate asks Archbishop of Canterbury to convene interventions meeting from ENS.

Second, the Diocese of Fort Worth issued a Third Report from the Bishop and Standing Committee concerning The Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. There is a note which says:

On Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008, the Executive Council of the diocese adopted and endorsed - with only one dissenting vote - the following report and recommendation of the Bishop and Standing Committee.

Third, Episcopal News Service reports that Presiding Bishop removes MacBurney’s inhibition after retired bishop apologizes. This is related to confirmations on behalf of the Southern Cone that Bishop MacBurney performed in San Diego.

Thursday evening update

The Toronto Star has Breakaway faction has switched allegiance to S. American bishop which includes this (h/t to the Café):

Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, however, says he would find it “difficult” to attend such a meeting.

“We had been talking about a private meeting, and it rather surprises me that it is now public,” Venables told the Star in an interview from Buenos Aires.

“This makes it even more difficult for me to attend.”

Venables said he would make his formal response about the proposed meeting to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the Anglican church, who was asked by Hiltz to organize the meeting.

Friday morning update

I should have included earlier this Open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Anglican Communion by Bishop Don Harvey

5 September, 2008

After consulting with my Primate, Archbishop Gregory Venables, I report with great sadness that two Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) churches under my jurisdiction – St Matthews (Abbotsford, BC) and St Matthias and St Luke’s (Vancouver, BC) – received letters on 26 August 2008, informing them that the Bishop of New Westminster had taken action on 10 July 2008 to seize control of those parish properties. The letters also notified the wardens, trustees and parish councils that Bishop Michael Ingham had dismissed and replaced them and ordered the clergy to vacate the church buildings by mid-September. It is clear that our other two ANiC parishes in Vancouver, St. John’s Shaughnessy and Church of the Good Shepherd, will receive the same action in the near future…

Saturday evening update

The Living Church has an interview headlined Bishop Venables: Canadian Primate’s Proposal a ‘Publicity Stunt’.

“I talked to Fred about this at Lambeth, but it never occurred to me that a private discussion would become public without us both agreeing first,” Bishop Venables told The Living Church. “It looks more like a publicity stunt than a serious desire for dialogue.

“What more is there to discuss? I told him why I was doing this and he told me how he felt about it,” Bishop Venables said. “Boundary crossing is not the primary issue. It is a secondary issue resulting from the communion-splitting action of blessing sexual sin by the U.S. and Canadian churches.”

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Thursday, 4 September 2008

Lambeth: Canadian perspectives

The Anglican Journal has published a number of articles on this.

Marites Sison has written:
Canadian church is ‘frustrated’
Dialogue, compromise highlight Communion’s Lambeth Conference
It is impossible to go back, bishops say of moratoria

And then there are two other pieces:
Theological Reflection: Stepping back from full inclusion by Walter Deller
Theological Reflection: Commitments of the mind and heart: Will the centre hold? by George R Sumner

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 4 September 2008 at 10:57am BST | Comments (66) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 28 August 2008

more from New Westminster

Updated Friday morning

Further to this recent news, letters have been sent by the Diocese of New Westminster to all parishioners at the two parishes affected.

Read Letters sent to parishioners regarding Canon 15 actions.

Full text of the letter to parishioners at St Matthew’s Abbotsford here (PDF).

And to parishioners at St Matthias & St Luke here (PDF).

Friday morning update

There is still no mention of any of this in the Canadian (or other) media. However, there is a press release from the Anglican Network in Canada headed Diocese moves to seize control of ANiC parishes. Also, there is a reaction from a parish which has not yet been sent any letters, Response to Diocese invoking Canon 15 Against St. Matthew’s and St. Matthias-St. Luke from St John’s Shaughnessy.

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Wednesday, 27 August 2008

New Westminster moves to reclaim parishes

The Diocese of New Westminster has issued this announcement: Diocese takes steps under Canon 15

The Diocese has taken steps under Canon 15 towards removing clergy who have left the Anglican Church of Canada rather than accepting the decisions of the Diocesan Synod and General Synod.

The Diocese has invoked the provision that returns control of the parishes to the Diocese, an action that was approved by Diocesan Council.

The parishes are St. Matthew’s Abbotsford and St. Matthias and St. Luke, Vancouver. Former diocesan clergy who have continued working in the parishes are Trevor Walters, Michael Stewart, and Don Gardner at St. Matthew’s, and Simon Chin at St. Matthias and St. Luke.

No steps have been taken at present at Good Shepherd, and at St. John’s Shaughnessy, Vancouver, two other parishes where former diocesan clergy remain who have left the Anglican Church of Canada.

In a memorandum to diocesan clergy, Commissary (Acting Bishop) Peter Elliott wrote that implementing this canon is a time consuming process, hence at this time the diocese was only proceeding with two parishes.

George Cadman, chancellor (chief legal officer) of the Diocese, said he hopes that the former clergy will now decide to leave voluntarily and that resort to the courts will be unnecessary, even though the possibility of litigation was raised in letters from the former officials at St. Matthew’s. No communications have been received from St. Matthias and St. Luke since its priest left the Anglican Church of Canada.

There is a formal press release (PDF) here, Diocese of New Westminster takes steps to remove clergy who have left the Anglican Church of Canada and there is the full text of a Memorandum to Diocesan Clergy (PDF).

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Friday, 6 June 2008

New Westminster opposes schism

The Diocese of New Westminster has this report: Bishop tells Diocesan Synod that schism must not become normal:

Bishop Michael Ingham told Diocesan Synod that as bishop he has a responsibility to ensure that schism does not become normal or accepted in the Anglican Church of Canada.

In a report on May 30 to about 300 synod members, about a third clergy and the rest lay, the bishop insisted that the decision of four congregations to join the South American Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, was not simply “divorce” but “schism…the setting up of a unlawful authority” to challenge the rightful authority, which is Diocesan Synod.

“I am fully aware that nobody wishes to see the church diverted from its mission by theprospect of civil litigation over property,” he said.

“But schism cannot stand, for if it were allowed to stand it would undermine the mission of the church across this country.”

Chancellor George Cadman, the synod’s chief legal officer, reported that the clergy remaining in four parishes—St. John’s Shaughnessy, St. Matthew Abbotsford, and Good Shepherd and St. Matthias/St. Luke of Vancouver—have relinquished and abandoned ordained ministry within the Anglican Church of Canada, and by remaining in parish buildings they are now trespassing…

The full text of the bishop’s remarks is here as a PDF.

The view of these events from Sydney, NSW was this: Canada bishop threatens Short.

And there is an interview with Dr JI Packer here (PDF) or more conveniently as html here.

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Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Canadian developments

Updated Tuesday evening

In Ontario, the civil court has ruled that church buildings must be shared pending the outcome of litigation.

Canadian Press Breakaway Anglicans to share churches with diocese, Ont. judge rules

Hamilton Spectator Anglican churches awarded joint custody

Toronto Globe & Mail Diocese, parishes to share churches

The Anglican Network in Canada issued a press release, which appears on the sydneyanglicans site, Parishioners disappointed by court decision.

Earlier, in Alberta the Diocese of Athabasca passed resolutions supporting Canadian breakaway churches. The Anglican Journal reported that:

The archbishop of Athabasca has issued a letter confirming his diocese’s commitment to the Canadian church and the Anglican Communion after its synod passed motions supporting churches that have left the Anglican Church of Canada and criticizing bishops who have gone to court over property issues…

Updates about Niagara
The Diocese of Niagara has issued this press release (PDF).

The court decision is available here (PDF).

The Anglican Church of Canada also has a press release.

The Anglican Journal has Churches must share buildings with Niagara diocese, court rules.

And there is a later Canadian Press report Breakaway Niagara Anglican churches consider appealing order to share with diocese.

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Sunday, 27 April 2008

More reports from Canada

Following the visit of Bishop Gregory Venables to Canada, there are news reports:

The Vancouver Sun had Argentine Anglican deplores infighting and also Influential evangelical theologian latest to split with Anglican Church.

The Canadian Press had Dissident Anglicans look to South America, Africa for guidance.

Reports of the conference on the Anglican Network in Canada site are here and also here.

The sermon preached is available here.

Chris Sugden also spoke to the gathering.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 27 April 2008 at 11:18pm BST | Comments (18) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Hiltz corresponds with Venables

Updated Tuesday evening

The Anglican Church of Canada has published the text of a letter from Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of Canada to the Primate of the Southern Cone, Gregory Venables asking him to cancel a planned, unauthorized visit to Canada: Primate asks Venables to cancel visit. He includes this snippet:

I would also add that in a letter earlier this year to one of our Diocesan Bishops Archbishop Rowan Williams stated, “I am quite content to repeat that I do not endorse any cross-provincial transfers of allegiance, and that this office and that of the Anglican Communion recognize one ecclesial body in Canada as a constitutive member of the Communion, the Anglican Church of Canada.”

The Anglican Journal reports that South American prelate rejects Canadian church’s request to cancel visit.

Canadian news reports on this in the Globe and Mail Anglican primate blasts South American rival and in the National Post Anglican leader pulls rival’s welcome mat.

Episcopal Café has the key quotes here.

The Diocese of New Westminster has published this press release: Archbishop of Canterbury recognizes only Anglican Church of Canada.

Earlier, the Anglican Journal had published this: Bishops decline request from network for national talks.

Tuesday evening update

Vancouver Sun Anglican cleric against gay unions ignores plea to stay out of Canada

And, in related news:

Anglican Network in Canada Anglican Clergy deny charges and Statement by nine Anglican Network in Canada clergy to Bishop Michael Ingham

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Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Canadian chronology

The Anglican Journal has published this Chronology of the same-sex debate in the Anglican Church of Canada from 1975 to 2008, which also includes a number of interesting photos.

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Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Schism is not the greatest evil

Paul Gibson has written an essay Why I am not afraid of schism which appears on the Anglican Church of Canada website.

The bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada were recently reported to be “alarmed” by the prospect of schism in the Anglican Communion (Anglican Journal, December 2007). The current controversy in the Communion over issues related to homosexuality appears to have created a mood or atmosphere of anxiety and fear, as though schism were the greatest evil that could befall the church and which should be avoided at all cost.

In the remarks which follow I will propose that schism is far from being a catastrophic situation, let alone the most desperate condition that may overtake a church, and that, in the words of President F.D. Roosevelt, there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

First, let us go to the biblical background…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 19 March 2008 at 2:13pm GMT | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Monday, 3 March 2008

Canada: an update

The Anglican Journal reports:

Three more churches vote to leave Canadian church and later…

Judge rules against diocese of Niagara in dispute with local churches:

An Ontario Superior Court judge ruled on Feb. 29 that the diocese of Niagara may not send its clergy into two area churches in the next two weeks to hold Sunday services for members of the congregations that remain loyal after most of their fellow parishioners voted to leave the Anglican Church of Canada.

“I am disappointed with the decision today, but we have to respect and abide by it. I feel for those faithful members of the parishes. We will try to make some arrangement for them if we possibly can,” said Bishop Michael Bird, who is based at the diocesan office here. It was the first court decision since 11 Anglican Canadian parishes decided, at their regular vestries (annual meetings) in February, to separate. They now identify themselves as part of the Anglican Network in Canada…

The Diocese of Niagara had a detailed report on its website:

Message to the Clergy and People of the Diocese: from the Synod Negotiating Team February 29, 2008.

The Canadian primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz has issued a Statement, which you can also see on video here, which starts out:

Dear Friends, as you know, in recent weeks there have been a few parishes across our beloved church that have had meetings and serious discussions that have resulted in decisions to withdraw from the Anglican Church of Canada. With you, I am saddened by these developments because they represent a fracture in the body of Christ and a break in our fellowship, one with another.

As we hear the reporting around these developments, there is repeated reference to the blessing of same-sex unions as the tipping issue in what is described as a crisis in faith, within the Anglican Church of Canada. My conviction is that we can only challenge that kind of rhetoric by the fact that across this land, you and thousands of other Anglicans gather week by week to hear once again, the story of the loving purposes of God through history and in the fullness of time through Christ and in those same gatherings, to confess the divinity and the lordship of Jesus Christ as we recite the Creed and celebrate the Eucharist week by week…

A few of the press reports:

Toronto Star At core of Anglican conflict, a 1,900-year-old tradition by Stuart Laidlaw

Toronto Globe & Mail Breakaway Anglicans make gain by Caroline Alphonso

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 3 March 2008 at 2:34pm GMT | Comments (24) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Canada: more departures

More Canadian churches align with South American province, reports Solange De Santis in the Anglican Journal.

Six churches in five dioceses, voting at their general meetings on the weekend of Feb. 16-17, decided to leave the Anglican Church of Canada due to disputes over theological issues, including homosexuality, and join a South American Anglican church.

A seventh congregation, which is not a member of the Canadian church, also voted to come under the jurisdiction of Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Province of the Southern Cone, which covers the southern part of South America. Such jurisdiction is to be administered through retired Canadian bishop Donald Harvey, leader of a breakaway group called the Anglican Network in Canada.
The congregations are: St. George’s Lowville, Ont. and St. Hilda’s, Oakville, Ont., both of the diocese of Niagara; St. Chad’s, diocese of Toronto; St. Mary’s Metchosin, Victoria, diocese of British Columbia; St. Matthew’s, Abbotsford, B.C., diocese of New Westminster; St. Alban’s, diocese of Ottawa. The seventh is Holy Cross, Abbotsford, B.C.

A local report: News from Niagara and the official diocesan press release from Niagara (PDF) and St Hilda’s Church reports the news as Episcopal oversite (sic).

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Friday, 15 February 2008

Canadian warnings and departures

First, the Bishop of British Columbia (that’s the diocese next door to New Westminster), James Cowan issued this letter (PDF file) to his diocese on 30 January:

Then, Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster wrote a letter to his diocese on 6 February.

The Anglican Journal reported all this as West Coast bishops warn parishes against separation on 12 February.

The next day, the Primate of the Canadian Church, Archbishop Fred Hiltz also issued a letter, reported also here):

…“I am very concerned that there are a few parishes that may be considering a motion to withdraw from the fellowship of the Anglican Church of Canada, and to place themselves under the jurisdiction of another Province of the Anglican Communion,” he wrote, urging reconsideration.

“It is not necessary for any parish to consider such action. The House of Bishops has designed a model for Shared Episcopal Ministry. This model enables a diocesan Bishop to share his or her Episcopal oversight with another Bishop for parishes finding themselves in conscientious disagreement with the Bishop and Synod over the matter of the blessing of same sex unions.

“With this provision in place there is no need for pastoral interventions by bishops from jurisdictions outside of the Anglican Church of Canada. Such interventions in fact are inappropriate. Indeed the Archbishop of Canterbury in a recent letter to me said he cannot “support or sanction” such actions.

Nevertheless on that same day, members of the parish of St John’s Shaughnessy did just that. The diocese reported it this way: Diocese regrets decision of people to leave Anglican Church of Canada

Results from the Vestry meeting of St. John’s Shaughnessy on February 13 indicate that members of that parish plan to leave the Anglican Church of Canada.

The parish congregation voted to request that Donald Harvey, a retired bishop who left the Anglican Church of Canada in November, give it episcopal oversight, as a bishop in a South American Anglican Church. Harvey’s jurisdiction is not recognized by the Canadian Church or the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Dean Peter Elliott, speaking for the Diocese while Bishop Michael Ingham is out of the country, said: “We regret the decision of any person to leave our Church.”

Read the whole report here.

Press reports:
Anglican Journal Vancouver church votes to leave Canadian church
Reuters Anglican church split over gays widens in Canada
Toronto Globe & Mail Anglican church seeks oversight from bishop in South America
Vancouver Sun Anglicans vote to split over same-sex blessings

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Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Canada: Canterbury replies to letter

The Anglican Church of Canada has issued this press release: Archbishop of Canterbury responds to Primate’s letter.

This relates to the letter reported here.

January 21, 2008 — Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has written to Canadian Primate Archbishop Fred Hiltz to say that he “cannot support or sanction” foreign interventions in the affairs of the Canadian Church.
Archbishop Williams was responding to a letter Archbishop Hiltz wrote to all the Primates of the Anglican Communion earlier this year in which he explained where the Canadian Church was in its discussion of same-sex blessings.

In that letter, Archbishop Hiltz appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury “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 and to make clear that such actions are not a valid expression of Anglicanism.”

The full text of Archbishop Williams’ letter follows:

“Thank you very much for your letter about the situation in the Canadian Church; I thought it very helpful, clear and eirenic, and I hope it will be well received.

“I noted also the reference to the appeal of the Canadian Church to myself about interventions and irregular ordinations: as you will understand, I have no canonical authority to prevent these things, but I would simply repeat what was said in my Advent Letter, to the effect that I cannot support or sanction such actions, in line with what successive Lambeth Resolutions and Primates’ Communiques have declared, as well as the statements of my predecessor about irregular ordinations and the clear directions of the Windsor Report.

“I apologise for not responding sooner to this, but had had to focus in December on the preparation of the Advent Letter, which was intended to set out a perspective within which all such irregularities should be viewed.”

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Thursday, 10 January 2008

Newfoundland discipline

The Right Reverend Cyrus Pitman Bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador has issued an ad clerum. You can read it in full as a PDF file here.

You can read more about it in this news report from the Toronto Star Anglican clergy told to declare loyalties:

In what could be the start of real schism in the Anglican Church, a Newfoundland bishop is demanding clergy come to the provincial capital to declare whether their loyalties lie with him or his predecessor, the leader of a breakaway conservative movement.

“Attendance at these gatherings is mandatory,” Cyrus Pitman, bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador warns in a Dec. 18 letter to clergy obtained by the Star.

Clergy from Eastern Newfoundland’s 33 parishes are to be in St. John’s on Jan. 21 to restate their ordination vows and to get new licences, with a date for those from the six Labrador parishes yet to be set.

Clergy need a licence from the church to minister to a parish or perform marriages…

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Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Archbishop Hiltz writes to all Primates

Anglican Journal reports:

Archbishop Hiltz clarifies Canadian situation for fellow primates by Solange De Santis and Marites N Sison

Saying that he hoped to “dispel rumour or misunderstanding,” Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has written to his fellow leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion explaining the developments around the blessing of same-sex unions, which has embroiled Canadian Anglicans in conflict.

In his four-page letter, which was sent to the other 34 Anglican primates and four moderators of the Anglican Communion’s United Churches on Jan. 9, Archbishop Hiltz, who is the national archbishop, underscored that the Anglican Church of Canada has not yet agreed upon a definitive position on the issue. “It is important to note that the Anglican Church of Canada has not altered its doctrine of marriage as outlined in our prayer books and canons (church laws).”

However, he put the situation in context: Canadian Anglicans, he noted, “do live in a country where the federal government in 2005 approved legislation that allows the marriage of same-gender couples.”

Archbishop Hiltz also reaffirmed the Canadian church’s “commitment to full membership and participation in the life, witness and structures of the Anglican Communion.” He also called on Anglican leaders to respect each other’s boundaries and desist from intervening in the affairs of provinces other than their own…

The full text of his letter can be found here.

At the foot of the letter, there are hyperlinks to all the key Canadian statements.

  • Shared Episcopal Ministry - Addendum to the Primate’s Task Force report on Alternative Episcopal Oversight - Nov. 3, 2004
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Thursday, 3 January 2008

Canadian update

The Anglican Journal updates on the border crossings there:

Foreign province makes bid for Canadian churches:

…The network has about 500 individual members and 16 member parishes, said Canon Charles Masters, national director of the network. The Anglican Church of Canada has about 2,800 congregations and 641,000 on parish rolls…

Proposed structure of the Anglican Network in Canada

The Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America

Countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay
Members: 22,490

Canada calls on Canterbury to intervene:

Canadian church leaders have appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury to address moves by dissidents to join a South American church and minister illegitimately in Canada.

In a pastoral statement dated Nov. 29, a week after the Anglican Network met, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate (national bishop) of the Anglican Church of Canada, said he deplored “recent actions on the part of the primate and General Synod of the Province of the Southern Cone to extend its jurisdiction in Canada.” The statement was also signed by the church’s four metropolitans, or regional archbishops.

Referring to Bishop Don Harvey and Bishop Malcolm Harding’s intent to minister to disaffected churches in Canada, Archbishop Hiltz said such ministry is “inappropriate, unwelcome and invalid.”

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Saturday, 1 December 2007

UK letters of support for Canadian schismatics

Letters of support from the UK to Bishop Duncan and to Bishop Iker have already been reported.

It should not go unnoticed that another letter from the UK was sent to the Anglican Network in Canada. The full text and list of signatories can be found here, and the text is reproduced below the fold. Note that the signatories claimed to be writing not as individuals but also on behalf of their organisations:

Signed with pleasure and delight,
+Wallace Benn, Bishop of Lewes & President of Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC)
Dr Philip Giddings, Convenor, Anglican Mainstream
Paul Boyd-Lee, Chair of the 1990 Group in General Synod
Rev John Coles, Director of New Wine
Canon Andy Lines, General Secretary of Crosslinks
Stephen Parkinson, Director, Forward in Faith
Revd Paul Perkin, Convenor of the Covenant Group for the Church of England
Revd David Phillips, Director of Church Society
Canon Dr Chris Sugden, Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream
Rev Dr Richard Turnbull, Chairman and for the Executive of the Church of England Evangelical Council
Rev Roderick Thomas, Chairman of Reform

But also, there is this letter from no less than the Bishop of Rochester:

The Right Revd Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester

I greatly regret the necessity for this step, but I am glad that an agreed way has been found for biblically minded and orthodox Anglicans to receive appropriate primatial oversight from the province of the Southern Cone and episcopal care from Bishop Don Harvey. I pray that this arrangement will be a blessing for many.

Bishop Michael Nazir Ali

A group of orthodox Anglican leaders in the United Kingdom on behalf of their organisations

We want to assure you of our prayers and fellowship in our shared Anglican heritage as you take your stand on the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures as the rule and ultimate standard of faith, contrary to those innovators both here and elsewhere who wish to give primacy to the demands of contemporary culture.

We rejoice in our fellowship as Churches in communion with the Risen Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Linked together by the apostolic ministry, our communion is expressed by the fellowship and mutual commitment of local churches, congregations faithful to the apostolic tradition, led by faithful clergy, and gathered around their bishop, however expressed, for example on a geographic or non-geographic basis.

With you we are committed to faithful biblical orthodoxy. This orthodoxy is defined by and centred on the classic formularies (foundational principles) of the Anglican tradition. Anglican doctrine is grounded in the supremacy of the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments, the catholic creeds and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as agree with the Holy Scriptures. In particular, it has confessed this faith in the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (our Anglican standard for worship) and the 1662 Ordinal, including its preface (our Anglican standard for the making of bishops, priests and deacons). This commitment does not mean we are perfect: we need constantly to reform our lives in accord with the scripture to learn and grow with the help of the Spirit and one another.

With you we are committed to maintaining and propagating the unchanging gospel of Jesus Christ to make and grow disciples who will themselves make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ and plant churches. Proclaiming the biblical gospel of the Kingdom of God transforms and renews us and the whole creation. It produces life-giving and life-transforming mission, holiness of life and unity in the Holy Spirit to the end that people are drawn into a personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ, and become members of the Body of Christ engaged with the challenges of their time and agents of transforming their communities and creation.

Although we regret that it has become necessary, we have been encouraged by the action of Presiding Bishop Greg Venables and the Province of the Southern Cone in offering oversight to some orthodox Anglican Dioceses in the United States. This interim provision is a sensible way forward. Extension of this oversight to Bishop Don Harvey in Canada with parishes and people gathered around him is a welcome expression of the proper duty of orthodox Anglicans to secure the provision of godly leadership and oversight.

We hope that this recognition given to your network will further benefit the recognition of those who have been given similar oversight in the United States and Latin America.

We share with you the goal Jesus himself gave us of making all nations disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. We share with you, in obedience to Christ, his call to teach them to observe all that he has commanded. We share with you, and with the exalted Lord who now sits at the right hand of the Father, the call to pray for the world which he created and the people for whose salvation he died and rose again.

“To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever.” (Ephesians 3.21)

for signatures see above

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more from Greg Venables on Canada

Gregory Venables has written his opinions (scroll down the page) on specific points raised by the November 29th Pastoral Statement of the Primate and Metropolitans of the Anglican Church of Canada.

For Immediate Release: November 30, 2007

1. Regarding extending a place in the Anglican Communion for those who in all conscience cannot remain in their Province, Archbishop Venables quoted scripture:

“Jesus said, ‘Which of you if your son or ox fall into the well won’t immediately pull him out on the Sabbath?’

Are we keeping the law or the spirit of the law?”

2. Regarding the provision for pastoral care and episcopal support being adequate and appropriate:

“Surely this would require agreement from the recipients as well as those in power.”

3. Regarding the contravening of agreements by interventions:

“In the Dar es Salaam communiqué we said, “Furthermore, those Primates who have undertaken interventions do not feel that it is right to end those interventions until it becomes clear that sufficient provision has been made for the life of those persons.”

On the other hand the bishop of New Westminster within the ACOC a few hours after the appearance of the Primates’ letter from Brazil in 2003 went ahead with the very action the letter had pleaded should not be taken. It also went against the Bible and the consensus of 2000 years of Christianity.

The implication of this violation and the resulting crisis was ignored.

Since then there have been egregious examples in clear rejection of Lambeth 1 10, Windsor and the requests of the Communion leadership. Once again nothing has been said even though this has meant the tearing apart of the Anglican Communion and an exodus from the church.

Now suddenly those who seek to take care of those who side with historic, biblical Christianity and the Anglican Communion are accused of the very lapse that has produced the crisis.

Is it possible in the real world to use the very agreements that one is contravening to protect oneself”.

4. Regarding Bishop Donald Harvey’s response to the Pastoral Statement (Nov. 30, 2007):

Bishop Don Harvey’s response is an accurate assessment of the cause of the current crisis and interpretation of the Primates’ statements. I am grateful to my brothers and sisters in Christ who wrote letters in support of for these actions and in support of ANiC and the ministry of biblically faithful Communion committed Canadian Anglicans. Thanks be to God.

The Anglican Journal has an interview: South American archbishop sees ‘denial’ and ‘hypocrisy’ in Canadian leaders’ statement

and there is a sidebar, Quick facts: The Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America.

The Anglican Network in Canada itself had this to say about the Pastoral Letter.

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Friday, 30 November 2007

Canadian response to Draft Covenant

At its recent meeting, the Council of General Synod approved the following initial response to the draft Anglican Communion Covenant and asked that it be forwarded to the Communion offices.

Read it all at A Preliminary Response to the Draft Covenant by the Anglican Church of Canada.

Reference is made in that to the 2007 Canadian response to the Windsor Report.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 30 November 2007 at 11:38am GMT | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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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

Links:

Download this document in PDF format
St. Michael Report
Shared Episcopal Ministry

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 5:59pm GMT | Comments (19) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Southern Cone reaches for the Arctic

Reports from Canada about the Southern Cone are piling up:

Conservative Anglicans shun Canada for S. America Reuters

Bishop gives Anglicans new option National Post

The Anglican Network in Canada is organising a conference shortly

And the Anglican Journal reports that Bishop protests unauthorized ordinations.

Update
Michael Valpy has ‘Full-blown schism’ in church, Anglican bishop says in the Toronto Globe and Mail

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 11:31pm GMT | Comments (71) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 18 November 2007

Niagara votes on SSBs

The Diocese of Niagara has joined the growing ranks of Canadian dioceses that have voted in favour of same-sex blessings.

The Anglican Journal has the full story in Niagara diocese approves blessings for gay couples; bishop assents.

The southern Ontario diocese of Niagara, meeting at its annual synod, on Nov. 17 voted to allow civilly-married gay couples, “where at least one party is baptized,” to receive a church blessing.

Bishop Ralph Spence, who had refused to implement a similar vote three years ago, this time gave his assent, making Niagara the third diocese since the June General Synod convention to accept same-sex blessings.

Of the 294 clergy and lay delegates, 239 voted yes, 53 said no and two abstained. In 2003, out of 319 delegates, 213 voted yes and 106 said no.

“The question has been asked, ‘Where do we go from here?’ Much consultation will take place … When and how this will be implemented will be dealt with in the days that lie ahead. We are aware of the vote’s ramifications,” said Bishop Spence, who also said he has been in consultation in the past week with Lambeth Palace (residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury), the Canadian primate (Archbishop Fred Hiltz) and his successor, Bishop Michael Bird, who takes office on March 1. Bishop Spence declined to say whom he had spoken with at Lambeth Palace.

The dioceses of Ottawa and Montreal recently passed similar motions and their bishops have said they will consult widely before deciding whether to implement the decisions. (The Vancouver-based diocese of New Westminster has offered blessings since 2002.) Civil marriage has been legal for homosexual couples since 2003…

The bishops issued this pastoral letter following the synod.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 18 November 2007 at 8:30am GMT | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 17 November 2007

Canadians respond to Bishop Harvey's departure

The Canadian Council of General Synod is meeting this weekend. It has issued this statement:

A Statement to the Church From the Council of General Synod

November 16, 2007

The Council of General Synod, meeting in Mississauga, Ontario, from November 16th - 18th 2007, has received with concern the news that Bishop Donald Harvey has voluntarily relinquished, effective immediately, the exercise of ordained ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada, and intends to be received into the Province of the Southern Cone (in South America). Bishop Harvey, retired bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, has been a valued member of our church, and his decision is a source of sadness.

The Anglican Church of Canada welcomes and respects freedom of individual conscience and the theological convictions of its diverse membership. Our General Synods have consistently sought to honour every voice as we work patiently through contentious and difficult issues before our church. Our bishops have made adequate and appropriate provision for the pastoral care and episcopal support of all Canadian Anglicans. We value and respect the diversity of the worldwide Anglican Communion and have expressed our commitment to its ongoing life, even as we also ask for respect and understanding of our own.

To this end we wish to make clear that interventions in the life of our church, such as ordinations or other episcopal acts by any other jurisdictions, are inappropriate and unwelcome. In particular, we cannot recognize the legitimacy of recent actions by the Province of the Southern Cone in purporting to extend its jurisdiction beyond its own borders. We call upon the Archbishop of Canterbury to make clear that such actions are not a valid expression of Anglicanism and are in contravention of the ancient and continuing traditions of the Church. They aggravate the current tensions in the Anglican Communion.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news for the world, and our primary task as Christians is to make this Gospel known through action and word. We strongly support our Primate’s view that the Church in Canada and throughout the world should make Christ and His mission its central focus. We therefore call upon all our members, lay and ordained, to commit themselves to this priority, and to respect the structures and authority of the Church.

We ask your prayers for our continued fellowship in the Spirit and our unity in the bond of peace.

The Anglican Journal has a report, Bishop leaves Canadian church for South American province:

The retired bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, Don Harvey, has left the Anglican Church of Canada to become a bishop in the South American province of the Southern Cone, a decision that the primate of the Canadian church acknowledged would pose “complications” for the already fragile unity within the local church and the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Bishop Harvey, who has been outspoken in his opposition to what he considers the Canadian Anglican church’s liberal stance on homosexuality, particularly the blessing of same-gender unions, announced his departure more than a week before he was to lead a meeting in Burlington, Ont. to discuss the future of conservative Anglicans in the church…

The Anglican Network in Canada had this description of the event: Anglican Network in Canada bishop received into Southern Cone.

The Anglican Journal has a further report, Council expresses sadness over bishop’s departure.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 12:46pm GMT | Comments (46) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Canadian bishops continue SSB moratorium

A further report from Canada: in the Anglican Journal Solange de Santis writes that Bishops continue moratorium on same-gender blessings .

…Meanwhile, there was a general consensus that the bishops’ pastoral statement, issued last April, was useful, said Bishop Spence. Some liberals find it attractive as it permits them to celebrate a church service with a civilly-married gay couple; some conservatives appreciate the fact that it does not allow same-sex weddings or blessings and, in essence, continues a moratorium on blessing ceremonies first imposed by the bishops in 2005. (New Westminster responded to the moratorium by limiting blessings to eight parishes that had requested permission earlier.)

Integrity, a support group for gay Anglicans, wrote to Archbishop Hiltz asking that the house of bishops lift the moratorium. He said after the closed session that his response to Integrity will be that “the position of the house as outlined in the pastoral statement remains.” The bishops did not “entertain any changes” in it, he said…

That pastoral statement can be found in this page.

She reports in detail on how various dioceses feel about such blessings:

In terms of consultation, bishops Barry Clarke of Montreal and John Chapman of Ottawa each said they have not yet reached a decision on how they will act upon the votes of their synods. “It was useful to have a conversation with dioceses in the same position,” said Bishop Chapman, who added he wanted to see the decisions of the diocese of Niagara, whose Nov. 16-17 synod was scheduled to vote on the blessings issue. “I don’t want to act alone, but I don’t think I’ll need to. There is movement in the church (toward further acceptance of gay people); there is no going back.”

In open session, bishops discussed the reactions in several dioceses to the General Synod votes last June that said same-sex blessings do not contravene core church doctrine but declined to affirm dioceses’ authority to offer them. Reaction was fairly quiet in Western Newfoundland, Brandon (Manitoba) and Calgary, said their respective bishops, Percy Coffin, Jim Njegovan and Derek Hoskin.

Bishop Jim Cowan said seven priests in his diocese of British Columbia, angered that they may not offer same-sex blessings, signed a petition asking to have their permission to officiate at weddings withdrawn from the diocese and will make other provisions for marriages to take place at their churches.

Bishop Spence said the reaction in Hamilton, Ont.-based diocese of Niagara was a “firestorm” after General Synod. “There is frustration that Niagara, which has held the line, is not allowed to go forward (with same-sex blessings),” he said. If the matter arises again at synod, “my expectation is that I will not be able not to give my assent,” he said. (Niagara’s 2004 synod voted in favor of blessings, but Bishop Spence withheld his consent in favour of church unity.) On the other hand, the diocese contains clergy who lead the conservative Anglican Essentials group and was to be the location of a major meeting of that group in late November, after the synod. “If we are faced with parishes that decide to leave the diocese, we will need legal responses to that,” said Bishop Spence.

Read the whole article for what the bishops thought about the New Orleans meeting and JSC report thereon, and also on their concerns for the activities of a Canadian retired bishop who has participated in irregular consecrations of bishops who intend to minister to conservatives in the U.S.

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Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Canadian news roundup

The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada recently met, and issued this Letter to the Church.

Earlier the new primate Archbishop Fred Hiltz had visited Lambeth Palace and the Anglican Communion Office. See this report:

…Throughout these visits, Archbishop Hiltz heard encouraging feedback about how the Anglican Church of Canada is dealing with the issue of same-sex blessings.

“It’s always nice to hear someone like the Archbishop of Canterbury or from the Anglican Communion Office say you’re handling this coherently, cautiously, judiciously, and you’ve got some things I would hold up as a model for others to consider as they grapple with the issue,” said Archbishop Hiltz. “Of course that’s very encouraging and I’m looking forward to sharing those kinds of reflections at the Council of General Synod and the House of Bishops. Because we need to hear that.”

Two dioceses have recently voted on the matter of same-sex blessings, see Anglican Journal reports:

Ottawa votes yes to same-sex blessings

Ottawa synod followed process, says primate

Montreal diocese becomes second to urge same-sex blessings

“Progressive” Anglicans urge bishops to allow gay marriage

Ontario priest disciplined for marrying same-sex couple

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 31 October 2007 at 10:59pm GMT | Comments (24) | TrackBack
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