Delight came through the commitment of the church to bear witness to God’s love for the world through the Marks of Mission, through evangelism, and its international discipleship through the worldwide Anglican Communion. He pointed to movements to renew liturgy in the church; how the church was making a difference in the lives of the poor; by the response of the church to help those affected by massive wildfires in Western Canada in summer 2015 and spring 2016; and parishes that had worked hard to raise funds in order to support Syrian refugee families, often partnering with social agencies and members of other faiths. He highlighted the church’s emerging relationship with Indigenous peoples””marked by an abiding commitment to truth and reconciliation.
Angst, however, was also present among members of General Synod as they prepared to debate amendments to the marriage canon that would allow for the blessing of marriages among same-sex couples. The Primate outlined developments since resolution C003 passed at General Synod 2013, which included the establishment of the Commission on the Marriage Canon, and the release of their report This Holy Estate, which was received at the September 2015 meeting of the Council of General Synod. He urged members to be especially mindful in their discussion of the “lives and loves and longings” of LGBTQ individuals who are members of our families, neighbours, friends, parishes, and clergy. He reiterated the need to recognize how much is at stake in the deliberations while maintaining the unity of spirit, with members conducting themselves in a way reflective of the idea behind “You Are My Witnesses”.
Yearning, the Primate added, came from the deep longing within the hearts of members to strive to be less focused on the church’s internal life, and more on being a church in and of the world. Archbishop Hiltz said that the gospel of Christ compels the church in every age not to remain silent in the face of real life and death issues in our world, which in our time include human trafficking, gender-based violence, racially motivated violence, religiously motivated violence, child labour, child soldiers, drug wars, gun control, criminalization of people for their sexual orientation, extreme poverty, starvation unto death, refugees in the millions, and environmental degradation.
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