Anglican Church of Canada Bishops' Statement

The Canadian House of Bishops met in Niagara Falls 23-26 February 2016 in a special session dedicated to a discussion of matters relating to the upcoming gathering of the General Synod where proposed changes to the national Marriage Canon will be considered.
While in our last meeting we considered in some detail ”˜This Holy Estate’, the report of the Commission on the Marriage Canon, we regret that there has not been much engagement with this document across the Church since that time. We felt that we needed to recommit ourselves to promoting the document for study, and especially among our synod delegates.

We spent a considerable amount of time discussing the theology of marriage and our episcopal role and responsibilities as chief pastors, and as guardians of the Church’s faith, order and unity. We concentrated on the relationship of the bishop to the Church locally, nationally and with our Anglican Communion partners, and alongside and within synods. These conversations led into considerations about the nature of our relationships within the House in light of the deep differences we have on the matter of changing the Church’s teaching on marriage.

In our exploration of these differences it became clear to us that the draft resolution to change the Marriage Canon to accommodate the marriage of same-sex partners is not likely to pass in the Order of Bishops by the canonical requirement of a 2/3rds majority in each Order. Some of us talked of being mortified and devastated by this realisation. We feel obliged to share this with the Council of General Synod as they give consideration to the process for handling this resolution at General Synod. We have grappled with this issue for three meetings of the House, and we feel a responsibility to convey our inability to come to a common mind in discerning what the Spirit is saying to the Church. We share this out of respect for the considerable work that the Church has invested in preparing to debate this motion at General Synod. We continue to wonder whether a legislative procedure is the most helpful way of dealing with these matters.
In our deliberations, we affirmed a commitment to continuing conversations and engagement with the Report of the Commission on the Marriage Canon, and to achieving the greatest pastoral generosity possible. There is a desire among us to explore other options for honouring and fully embracing committed, faithful same-sex relationships. We will also engage Indigenous and minority cultural perspectives in our Anglican family in our understanding of marriage.

Read it all and there is an article with some reaction in the Anglican Journal here


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

3 comments on “Anglican Church of Canada Bishops' Statement

  1. Katherine says:

    Is it possible that the Primates have had some effect in making the Canadian bishops realize what they were about to do?

  2. BlueOntario says:

    The phrasing is so bizarre. They are mortified and devastated that not everyone is convinced that the new thing is not marriage. We will still find ways that will “fully embrace” what is still considered not marriage.

    Are any bishops of the AoC still allowed to recognize homosexual relations as sinful behaviour?

  3. Ross Gill says:

    BlueOntario asked, [blockquote]Are any bishops of the AoC still allowed to recognize homosexual relations as sinful behaviour?[/blockquote]

    Yes and some actually do which is why I believe the motion to change the marriage canon might not have gained the required 2/3 support in the house of bishops at General Synod even if the Primates had said nothing.

    Not that the defeat of the motion will really change things all that much. The liturgies of blessing for committed same-sex relationship that I have seen are already weddings in everything but name.