Thinking Anglicans

Canadian update

Updated Sunday 7 pm BST

Same-sex blessings consistent with core doctrine
Winnipeg, June 24, 2007 — Members of the Anglican Church of Canada’s General Synod in Winnipeg agreed Sunday that the blessing of same-sex unions is not in conflict with the church’s core doctrine, in the sense of being credal.

Debate resumed Sunday morning after being suspended late Saturday.

The motion carried reads: “That this General Synod resolves that the blessing of same-sex unions is not in conflict with the core doctrine (in the sense of being credal) of the Anglican Church of Canada.

The motion was carried by a vote of 152 for, 97 against in the house of clergy and laity and by a vote of 21 for and 19 against in the house of bishops.

Anglican Journal on Friday had New primate keeps mum about blessings vote, and on Saturday had Debate continues on same-sex blessings. That debate should conclude on Sunday afternoon.

More detail can be found in the daily editions available as PDF files here.

The Halifax Daily News reported on the primatial election: Nova Scotia bishop to head Anglican Church of Canada.

This report filed last Friday by Stephen Bates of the Guardian never made it into the newspaper:

Canadian Anglicans last night confounded many expectations by narrowly electing a liberal male bishop as their next church leader instead of a conservative woman bishop.

In a move which may have implications for debates at the Canadian Synod in Winnipeg today (sat) on whether the church should authorise same sex blessing services for gay couples, lay and clergy representatives elected the Rt. Rev. Fred Hiltz, the bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Isle, as their next primate, instead of Bishop Victoria Matthews of Edmonton who, if she had won, would have become the first-ever woman archbishop.

Bishop Hiltz, who has spent his entire 30 year ministry on Nova Scotia, is thought to favour the Canadian church pressing ahead with officially recognising committed gay partnerships. If it does so this weekend there will be immediate demands from conservative evangelicals for the church to be thrown out of the worldwide Anglican communion.

Last night the archbishop-elect spoke cautiously about respecting whatever decision the synod takes – he will have no alternative but to do so – but offered some coded clues as he added that the Anglican communion needed to look at all dimensions of the gay issue and the “full range of interpretations of scripture in matters of pastoral care and justice.” Church conservatives say the issue does not need interpreting because the Bible is plain.

Asked about African bishops trespassing in Canadian dioceses on behalf of conservative parishes, as they have done in the US, he said bluntly: “It’s not on.”

The bishop’s election after five ballots at a church in downtown Winnipeg was greeted by young representatives with whoops of delight. Unusually they had supported Hiltz in preference to the woman bishop, Victoria Matthews, because of her perceived hostility to blessings for gays.

Canada is one of the few countries in the world which allows gays to marry and delegates today will demand that the local church should move with the times and not delay a decision any further.

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16 years ago

This is excellent news – I am pleased that Canada have made this decision, as it augers well for the US church sticking to their guns

Its good that principles can sometimes outweigh expediency

16 years ago

“the blessing of same-sex unions is not in conflict with the church’s core doctrine, in the sense of being credal.”

THANKS BE TO GOD!!! 😀 Praise Christ for his saints in the Anglican Church of Canada!

Prior Aelred
16 years ago

Well, I must say that the bishops surprised me (although it was, obviously, very close) — now I would not be surprised should the ACC join the United Church and the civil government in recognizing same sex unions (& blessing them).

Andrew Innes
Andrew Innes
16 years ago

Prior Aelred:

Sadly, your wish is not to be. It appears there were two swing voters in the HOB

Prior Aelred
16 years ago

Spoke too soon — two bishops switched sides — rumored to be Bishop Matthews of Edmundton & Kerr-Wilson of Qu’Appelle — now the question is does this prohibits dioceses from acting as they see fit (as New Westminster has been doing & as others wish to) — a resolution still to be considered is B001 which says that the passing or failure of A187 will have no effect: BE IT RESOLVED: Notwithstanding any decisions taken by this its 2007 Synod, the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada affirms that the present practice of the Synod and Bishop of… Read more »

stephen bates
stephen bates
16 years ago

Yes, but the Canadian bishops went on to scupper the motion to authorise dioceses to allow the blessing of committed same sex unions.
Voting was by houses and it needed a majority in all three to pass:
Lay: For: 78, Against, 59
Clergy: For 63, Against 53
Bishops: For 19, Against 21.
So, although the earlier motion stands, this motion falls. My early edition story is rather different from my late edition one.

Jim Pratt
Jim Pratt
16 years ago

I don’t think Greg Kerr-Wilson was one of the bishops who switched. Based on a conversation I had with him at Synod in ’04, I would place him firmly on the “no” side on both questions.

My guess it was any one of a number of moderate to liberal bishops in more moderate to conservative dioceses (like Victoria Matthews) who felt we are not quite ready for actually blessing unions.
(Claude Miller of Fredericton, Don Phillips of Ruperts Land, Caleb Lawrence of Moosonee, Rodney Andrews of Saskatoon are a few possibilities that come to mind).

Malcolm French+
16 years ago

I was briefly watching the live webcast of Synod and I believe I actually saw +Caleb Moosonee speaking out in favour of the motion. Caught me by surprise. I think the bishops and their thought processes are pretty hard to nail down. One media report describes +James British Columbia as supporting the blessing of same sex unions but voting against the second resolution. +David Keewatin had a reputation as a liberal. (He once ran as a Liberal Party candidate in a Saskatchewan provincial election – but then the Liberal Party never was particularly liberal). Despite his Liberal and liberal credentials,… Read more »

Prior Aelred
16 years ago

Well, the person who was guessing Bishop Kerr-Wilson retracted & guessed Bishop Lawrence instead — who Malcolm French+ writes actually spoke in favor — so the upshot is that two bishops out of the whole (everyone seems to think that Bishop Matthews was one) changed their votes & that it was a closer vote with the bishops than the other houses & no one really expects this to move in other other direction in the next three years except towards increasing acceptance of same sex unions — is that about right?

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