Updated Friday, and again Saturday
The following statement was unanimously adopted by the Canadian House of Bishops meeting in Windsor, Ont., on April 27.
Statement of Commitment by the Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada April 27,2005
This is their response to the Windsor Report and the Dromantine communiqué.
The Archbishop of Canterbury welcomed the statement.
The statement was reported by Reuters as Canadian Anglicans Skirt Requests Over Gay Unions in a story which erroneously attributes the US decision on their ACC attendance to the American HoB rather than their Executive Council. The Canadian decision-making body on that issue is the Council of General Synod which meets May 6-8.
Further press coverage
Anglican Journal Bishops agree to hold off on blessings
Toronto Globe and Mail Anglican bishops call moratorium on same-sex blessings
Religion News Service via Beliefnet Canada’s Anglican Bishops Agree to Moratorium on Gay Unions
The Living Church Canadian Bishops Won’t Halt Blessings of Same-Sex Unions
The Times Ruth Gledhill Rebel bishops reconsider same-sex blessings
The reports are a little confusing. In fact, the situation in New Westminster, which is the only Canadian diocese where SSB are at present formally authorised, is unchanged, but will be reviewed at the diocesan synod which meets on May 13 and 14:
Attracting the most media attention will be synod’s discussion on Saturday afternoon on how to respond to the Windsor Report, a document authored by an international group of Anglicans for the Archbishop of Canterbury, which tried to define the nature of Anglicanism.
One item in the Windsor Report is a call for a moratorium on the blessing of same sex unions until the next Lambeth Conference in 2008.
A proposed response is being put together by the Revs. Richard Leggett and John Oakes. The two priests, respectively at Vancouver School of Theology and Holy Trinity, Vancouver, come from the opposite ends of the theological spectrum, but together plan to come up with a single proposal.
A pre-synod session on April 16 at which the two men presented a draft response drew more than half of synod delegates, showing high interest in the issue.
Volunteering some of their time during school spring break to help prepare packages of papers for Synod delegates were Jen Nurse of St. George’s, Fort Langley, Stephanie McGee of St. Helen’s, Surrey, and Cara Ingham of St. Mary’s Kerrisdale.
Indicating national interest in New Westminster’s decision will be the presence of Canadian Primate Andrew Hutchison. He will preach at the opening worship Friday morning, and serve as the “synod partner” for the gathering.
At the Canadian House of Bishops meeting that Archbishop Hutchison chaired on April 27, Bishop Michael Ingham along with his 40 colleagues agreed “neither to encourage nor to initiate” the blessing rite until the national Canadian General Synod in 2007.
Bishop Ingham afterwards said that the phrase “neither to encourage nor to initiate” comes from a communiqué issued by Anglican Primates in February, and has been interpreted to mean there should be no further actions beyond those already started.
“I made it explicitly clear to the Canadian House that, in view of the upcoming Synod in New Westminster, I could sign the statement issued today only on the understanding that I would be governed very much by the advice of my own Synod,” said the bishop.