Much of our gathering as a House was spent describing and reflecting on the different journeys different ecclesiastical provinces and dioceses have travelled since General Synod. We heard reports from several bishops who spoke of the effects of General Synod’s resolutions on same-sex blessings and these reflections ranged from parts of the country where this issue is paramount in the life of the church to others areas where it is only a very small part of the church’s life or scarcely considered at all. We heard from the bishops of Ottawa and Montreal about the adoption of motions by their respective synods that call upon them to authorize the blessing of civil same-sex marriages, and both bishops described the debate around these motions as courteous and respectful of divergent views. We had a discussion about the April 2007 Statement from the House of Bishops to Members of General Synod and heard from several bishops about how the Statement is being understood. It was agreed that the statement continues to have the same status as it did originally.
We were reminded by our Primate that contrary to impressions created by much of the Canadian media that covered General Synod, the gathering was anything but a one-issue synod. Motions adopted in support of ministry in the North, conversations around issues of governance and the primacy, support for the Companion Dioceses program, support for the Millennium Development Goals, the day spent with our Lutheran brothers and sisters, the success of the publication of the Anglican Journal Daily, were all evidence of things that bring us together and manifestations of the General Synod theme Draw the Circle Wide ”“ Draw it wider still, Archbishop Hiltz reminded us. “It’s time,” the Primate said, “for this church of ours to celebrate the things that are holding us together and that continue to hold the Communion together.”