CANADA: ACoC Synod Votes to Uphold Marriage Canon – Oh No actually not!! UPDATED

CANADA: ACoC Synod Votes to Uphold Marriage Canon
Four dioceses plan to defy church ruling. Two other dioceses consider options

By David W. Virtue DD
July 12, 2016

Within hours of the defeat of a motion to amend the marriage canon of the Anglican Church of Canada, at least four dioceses said they would defy the vote and go ahead with same-sex marriages anyway.

The dioceses of Niagara, Ottawa, Toronto and Huron now say they will offer same-sex marriages. Two other dioceses, Edmonton and New Westminster say they are working out the next steps towards same sex marriage.

This begs the question, why did the Church even bother with a Synod or a vote if this defiance was planned especially when the Bishop of Niagara Michael Bird in a prepared statement cited General Synod chancellor Canon (lay) David Jones, who announced in synod on Monday that the marriage canon in its present form does not explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage.

The motion to change the marriage canon to allow the marriage of same-sex couples had to have a 2/3 majority for laity, clergy and bishops. It was very close with the bishops obtaining the necessary majority. It was the clergy that prevented the motion passing.

The numbers were:

Bishops Yes: 68.2%
Clergy Yes: 66.23%
Laity Yes: 72.2%

Niagara Bishop Michael Bird says Anglican conventions allow a diocesan bishop to “exercise episcopal authority” to permit liturgies that “respond to pastoral needs within their dioceses.”

“I am sick at heart, because an opportunity to discuss the Canon and engage with the Report of the Marriage Commission for the next three years was not endorsed by the Synod,” wrote Jane Alexander Bishop of Edmonton, whose sentiment seemed to sum up how rebellious dioceses felt after the vote was lost.

David Jones, the chancellor of General Synod, in a statement said the canon “does not contain either a definition of marriage or a specific prohibition against solemnizing same-sex marriage.” It’s also clear, it continued, that Anglican conventions allow bishops to authorize “liturgies to respond to pastoral needs within their dioceses, in the absence of any actions by this General Synod to address these realities.

“Accordingly, and in concert with several other bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, it is my intention to immediately exercise this authority to respond to the sacramental needs of the LGBTQ2 community in the Diocese of Niagara,” said Bird.

There being currently no approved liturgy for this in Canada, the statement said, “I am authorizing The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage and The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2 for use in our diocese,” liturgy recently created by The Episcopal Church intended for the marriage of “any duly qualified couples.”

General Synod’s vote against changing the marriage canon, the statement said, is “deeply regrettable and inconsistent with the ever more inclusive witness of our Church that has inspired this synod’s theme: ‘You are my witnesses’ (Isaiah 43).

“My sincere hope is that God’s grace will inspire all Canadian Anglicans to continue to break bread together in the days ahead,” the statement continued. “I want to say, as a bishop charged with guarding the faith, unity and discipline of the Church, that I solemnly pledge to do my part to ensure that this is indeed the case.”

A similar statement was issued by Bishop John Chapman, of the diocese of Ottawa.

This begs the question if “guarding the faith” means to defy a Synod vote on sodomite marriage what does “guarding the faith” mean when it comes to say the Doctrine of God or the Trinity, if a number of bishops suddenly say they no longer believe in the Trinity!

“It is my intention, in consultation with and in partnership with a number of other diocesan bishops to proceed with same-sex marriages immediately within the Diocese of Ottawa,” he said. “While no clergy will be required to officiate at a same sex marriage, those willing may do so with my permission.

“This is a pastoral decision that is necessary at this time in our history as a diocese and as a church.”

In a videotaped statement, Archbishop Colin Johnson, of the Diocese of Toronto, went on to suggest the canon does not in fact forbid same-sex marriages!

“The integrity and sanctity of same-sex relationships was affirmed by our church in 2004,” Johnson said. “I know there will be some among you who will disagree with me, but I do believe that the logical next step would be to permit same-sex marriages in the Church at the pastoral discretion of the Bishop and with the agreement of local clergy. This is an option I will be considering in the coming weeks.

So if the vote had gone the other way and the handful of orthodox bishops said they could not support same-sex marriage what sort of reception do you think they would have received? They would have been accused of homophobia (at a very minimum) lacking inclusion and diversity and possibly a court trial for not obeying the canons of the Church (which apparently speak for God) and quite possibly get thrown out of the Church.

GAFCON archbishops should be aware of what happened in Canada and notch it up as one more disobedient act by a revisionist Anglican province. We await word from the Archbishop of Canterbury on this historic vote.


TORONTO: Anglicans discover mistake in same-sex vote; resolution passes

July 12, 2016 06:26 AM

TORONTO – Questions about the integrity of the voting process in which Anglicans narrowly rejected a resolution to allow same-sex marriage emerged Tuesday, leading to a stunning reversal of the result that had caused anguish among many members.

A few delegates to the six-day General Synod stood up just a couple of hours before the session was to close to say their votes had not been recorded during voting late Monday — when passage of the resolution failed by a single vote.

“That is an issue of concern,” Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the church, responded. “We cannot leave this synod with this kind of confusion.”

To pass, the resolution required two-thirds approval by each of three orders — lay, clergy and bishops. The clergy failed to reach that threshold by one vote, which was apparently not counted because it was wrongly attributed to a lay member.

The error was only discovered after delegates requested a detailed hard copy of the electronic voting records.

“That is our reality,” Hiltz told stunned delegates. “That the motion is in fact carried in all three orders.”

He then declared the resolution in favour of same-sex marriage passed.

“Same Sex marriage. In the church. In my lifetime,” Lauren Bryant-Monk of Halifax said in a Twitter message. “I’m so proud to be Anglican today.”

However, the resolution to change the church’s marriage canon still needs to be affirmed by the next General Synod in 2019 before it becomes law.

The apparent failure of the motion on Monday night — which followed a bitter and divisive debate — stunned those on hand into silence. Some wept openly, others embraced.

On Tuesday, several bishops said they planned to go ahead with same-sex marriages regardless. They leaned on a statement from the chancellor of the General Synod, who said the current marriage canon does not specifically ban solemnizing same-sex marriages.

Bishop John Chapman of Ottawa said he would proceed immediately with such unions in his diocese — although no one would be forced to officiate at such a ceremony.

“It is time my friends,” Chapman said. “It is past time.”

“Take heart,” said Rev. Melissa Skelton, bishop of New Westminster, B.C. “This is not over.”

It was indeed not over as the questions arose Tuesday about the vote itself.

“This is the best news I have heard in a long time!” tweeted Marlene Wells from Nova Scotia. “My weepy day has ended; let’s celebrate.”

“I’m flabbergasted, honestly,” said Eliot Waddingham, 24, a transgender person from Ottawa, who had earlier spoken of being broken-hearted by what had happened. “I can’t believe this.”

Not everyone, however, was pleased.

Northern representatives complained about feeling bullied, while Larry Robertson, Yukon bishop, left the floor earlier Tuesday in protest, saying he was angered at what he called the adversarial process.

Hiltz acknowledged the “deep differences” that exist around the issue.

“We sometimes find ourselves very much being pulled apart,” Hiltz told delegates on Tuesday. “Our work on this matter is not done. It’s not sufficient for us to simply say we dealt with the resolution.”

He promised a pastoral letter in response by Thursday.

While some fretted the issue would cause a rupture and spark an exodus of members, others said they believed the church would hold together despite the bruising nature of the debate in which some used terms such as “abomination” in reference to the LGBT community.

“It was painful process, it was a difficult process, but at the end of the day, we’ve ended up moving forward,” British Columbia Bishop Logan McMenamie said.

Toronto Archbishop Colin Johnson called same-sex marriages — at the discretion of the bishop and with agreement of local clergy — a logical step in the evolution of the church.

“I am confident it would be supported by the majority — even if not all — of our bishops, clergy, laity and the wider community.”

About 1.6 million Canadians identify themselves as Anglican, according to Statistics Canada, and church figures indicate more than 500,000 of them are part of about 2,800 congregations across the country.


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