The members of General Synod 2019 in Vancouver from this diocese are Catherine, Clara, Annalise, Lon, Alastair, Michael, Ian and Logan. We speak to you here with one voice.
Over the last few days, our hearts have been broken and words cannot fully express the disappointment, anger and hurt that we have been living through – as we know many of you are.
To each and every member of the 2SLGBTQQIA community, we say that we stand with you and we share your tears. We deeply value the person God beautifully created you to be, and your faithful witness to our church and our world.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR US?
Since 2016, parishes and clergy in our diocese have been able to offer the sacrament of marriage to the queer community. The bishop has assured you, and us, that this practice will continue within the life of our diocese—and, we believe, in a large and growing number of other places across the church. We fully expect an unstoppable wave of radical inclusion to sweep across our country. We believe God is at work in the Anglican Church of Canada, in spite of our shortcomings.
THE REAL STORY
Please know that the Anglican Church of Canada did not reject same-sex marriage this weekend. And please assure anyone you meet of this blessed reality.
With 81% of the laity, 73% of the clergy and 62% of the bishops (collectively the vast majority of this synod) supporting the changes to the marriage canon, the outcome of the vote clearly does not represent the will of the church. Our system has failed us; we need to fundamentally transform it; and there is a groundswell of support to do this.
Before the vote on the marriage canon, General Synod overwhelmingly approved and adopted a set of affirmations about marriage. You can read them here. They include an assertion that “the existing Canon does not prohibit same-sex marriage.”
The vast majority of the Anglican Church of Canada clearly supports extending the sacrament of marriage to all duly qualified parties. Even the bishops themselves (who are deeply divided on this issue) were able to agree on a message which: a) acknowledges their responsibility for the hurt that has been caused; and b) affirms the so-called “local option,” which, as noted above, our diocese has been exercising for three years already, and will continue to do.
WHAT ELSE HAS BEEN HAPPENING AT SYNOD
We have cried together, laughed together, and recommitted ourselves to the task of being the church: God’s sign and agent of reconciliation. The work here has been hard, at times contentious, painful and sometimes even downright abusive. And for that, we all have to take responsibility. There is a growing sense that we must find a new, better, more authentic and inclusive way to work and walk together, and there is hope that will bear fruit in the next triennium.
In the meantime, we have completed much important work. We have:
• moved forward substantively the self-determining status of the indigenous church
• elected a new primate, Linda Nicholls, and celebrated the primacy of Fred Hiltz
• made strong new commitments about the environment and human rights
• expanded our solidarity with other denominations and Abrahamic faiths
• approved appointing ambassadors of reconciliation in each diocese
You can read about all this at gs2019.anglican.ca
WHAT WE ASK OF YOU
Please help tell the real story. Please resist the temptation to blame the Indigenous church for things not going the way we had hoped or expected; this is unhelpful and just plain wrong. Please continue to stand with members of the 2SLGBTQQIA community who are confused, angry and devastated and let them know, in tangible ways, that they are safe and loved.
We hope and pray that all Anglicans of our diocese will find it in your hearts to continue steadfast in your faith in Christ, your discipleship in the Gospel, your adherence to the Anglican Church of Canada, and your commitment to our diocesan vision and our path of reconciliation, as we rededicate ourselves to living well together through these difficult times. Let our witness be that we are peacemakers building bridges, not walls.
Please continue to pray for all the members of General Synod; that in the days to come we might discern a way forward that upholds the dignity of every human being and boldly proclaims God’s way of radically inclusive love.
Yours in Christ,
Members of General Synod from the diocese of islands and inlets