Thinking Anglicans

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.

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


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.



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


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


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

1 Comment

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


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


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.



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.”


ACNA debate continued

Audio recording of the whole debate

Text of lay Synod member Lorna Ashworth’s speech proposing her motion video coverage:

Press conference held on Tuesday

Lorna Ashworth’s opening speech

ACNA debate – Part 1

ACNA debate – Part 2

Text of speech by Archdeacon Norman Russell

Text of speech by the Bishop of Winchester

Transcript of the Tuesday lunchtime presentations to synod members (press were not admitted to this event)

Reflections on Synod vote for C of E to be in Communion with the ACNA by Bishop Henry Scriven (written before the debate)

An article by A. S. Haley criticising the paper that I edited about ACNA: A Vestry Member Returns the Favor

A criticism written by Marc Robertson (no relation) of the paper by Canon Chuck Robertson.

Colin Coward The Future of the Anglican Communion – a Big Question and After a week of Big Questions – the Communion still survives


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


More from Simple Massing Priest
SOMEBODY on the Anglican Right is lying
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.


more on the ACNA debate


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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…


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:


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


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.


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.


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…