Thinking Anglicans

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.


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.

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Eileen Scully
Eileen Scully
13 years ago

It has been an amazing day. Best to read the statement in the context of the video – go to to check out video (both live and archived) from the floor of General Synod. We kinda value our transparency here in Canada!

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
13 years ago
Simon Sarmiento
13 years ago

Rod Gillis posted the following comment in a thread that wasn’t Canadian, so I am showing it below. “I think one could differ sharply with Eileen Scully about the state of transparency in Canada. Many of us value synodical government. Some of us among that number evaluate the outcome of General Synod, and the process utilized to achieve that outcome, as a step backwards. One characteristic of what has taken place at Canada’s General Synod is that it was based on the premise that open debate was not to be trusted, was not subject to finesse and management, and juxtaposed… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
13 years ago

Chris Ambidge at Integrity Canada has a moving take on this. He seems to think it’s a good deal.

13 years ago

It’s a non legislative decision to affirm local discernment and will be interpreted differently in different dioceses. Some bishops are saying this effectively non-legislatively affirms their ability to move forward with blessing of same sex civilly married couples; others also affirm this and say they’re pleased that it does not endorse such as the General Synod teaching to which they would be bound. Others, further will want maintenance of moratorium. The transparency is in continuing to hold together with respect that there is and is going to be continued disagreement. Only time is going to tell what the actions of… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
13 years ago

Eileen, from all reports the meeting of General Synod was subject to a close management of debate from before the get-go, and now post GS spin doctoring. I hear it was a love-in, as we used to say. There has been lots of talk about a statement that does not have “winners and losers”, but in fact one of the winners is the Canadian House of bishops as a group. They emerged from the previous synod in 2007 as the spoilers who effectively vetoed a decision by lay and clergy delegates to allow dioceses a local option. Now,of course, the… Read more »

Ann Marie Nicklin
13 years ago

Rod, When I first heard the statement read out I was very upset. I felt it did not go far enough (I still don’t think it does.) And originally I did not believe that it did reflect the discussion of my group. But after a short bit of sleep that night I sat down and took another look at it. I remembered a fair amount of the discussion in my group being around the idea that we did not want local option coming in as legislation. And yes, this is not fair to our GLBT brothers and sisters. But, to… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
13 years ago

Thanks Anne Marie (Nicklin) for your post. It’s reflective and irenic. I’m grateful for your comments. It’s interesting to read the comments coming forward from GS delegates in the wake of Synod. Posts on several sites indicate that the Statement is tacit permission for continuing the local option. However I’m not on side with what GS has done. GS does not exist to make life more comfortable for bishops, or even delegates. The process used has a strong streak of paternalism in it. “There, there, let me guide you through this conversation so you are not wounded by the subject… Read more »

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