...In June, 2007, the General Synod received and concurred with the opinion of the St. Michael Report, prepared by the Primate’s Theological Commission, (a group of 12 theologians from diverse perspectives) that the blessing of same-sex unions is a matter of doctrine, but not creedal. In other words, while this matter relates to important questions of doctrine, it is not ranked alongside doctrines such as the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Passion and Death of Christ, the Resurrection and the Holy Spirit. The 2007 General Synod asked the Primate to request the Primate's Theological Commission to consult with dioceses and parishes and to report in advance of our next General Synod in 2010 on:Keep in mind that November Pastoral Statement from the Primate and Metropolitans of the ACC:
The theological question of whether the blessing of same-sex unions is a faithful, Spirit-led development of Christian doctrine; Scripture's witness to the integrity of every human person and the question of the sanctity of human relationships.
I have responded to this request and the Primate’s Theological Commission has begun working on these matters.
General Synod also endorsed an April 2007 statement from the Canadian House of Bishops making provision for what was described as "pastoral generosity," whereby gay and lesbian couples who have been civilly married might ask the church for prayers for their relationship. These petitions, not to be confused with a nuptial blessing, would be offered in the context of the prayers of the people within a Eucharist. Requests for this provision have been granted in a number of places.
Notwithstanding the fact that the 2007 General Synod defeated a resolution, "affirming the authority and jurisdiction of a diocesan synod with the concurrence of its bishop and in a manner respecting the conscience of the incumbent and the will of the parish to authorize the blessing of same sex unions," three dioceses -- Ottawa, Montreal and Niagara -- have since voted by strong majorities to request their bishop to consider authorizing public rites for the blessing of same-sex couples who are civilly married.
I believe these resolutions present an opportunity to test the mind of the local church and the results speak of a pastoral need that cannot be ignored. In each case the bishop has indicated that he will consult widely before making a decision.
General Synod 2007 also concurred by resolution with the opinion of the St. Michael Report that the blessing of same-sex unions should not be a communion-breaking issue. Nonetheless some people feel compelled to leave our church over this issue. Their decision is regrettable given the fact that the bishops have made adequate and appropriate provision for the pastoral care and episcopal support of all members of our church including those who find themselves in conscientious disagreement with the view of their bishop and synod. These provisions are contained in a document known as Shared Episcopal Ministry approved by the House of Bishops in November 2004 and commended in September 2006 by an international Panel of Reference appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
In light of these provisions, as well as of ancient canons of the church, statements of successive Lambeth Conferences, the Lambeth Commission on Communion (the Windsor Report), and the 2005 and 2007 communiqués from the Primates, we believe that recent interventions by another province in the internal life of our church are unnecessary and inappropriate. Our concern was voiced publicly in recent statements by the Council of General Synod (Nov. 16, 2007) and in a joint Pastoral Statement from myself and the Canadian Metropolitans (Nov. 29, 2007). I have 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...
......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.An appeal to Canterbury to stop the attempt by the Southern Cone to claim Canadian congregations has been met with silence. The Canadians watched as the Southern Cone claimed the Diocese of San Joaquin, and noted the silence from Canterbury once again. And now, encouraged by the lack of resistance to their claims, the Southern Cone has expressed their intention to claim a second Diocese of TEC; the Diocese of Fort Worth.
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...
I could be wrong, but I think the Canadians are done waiting for a response from Cantebury, and are no longer going to stand by and watch as the Southern Cone puts into play its expansionist plans. It seems to me that the Canadians are making sure everyone knows their side of the story before they act. I think we can expect to see some very concrete resistance to this illegal and immoral intervention in their affairs by another Province.
Keep your eyes to the North. Maybe we can learn some effective ways to resist this invasion.
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