Please also see the update to this post here
Dear friends in Christ,
As many of you will be aware from the news reports, events are unfolding very swiftly at General Synod in Toronto. The motion to amend the Marriage Canon to allow same-sex marriage was defeated last night. It received 68% support in the House of Bishops and 72% support in the House of Laity, but only 66.23% in the House of Clergy, a single vote short of the required 2/3 majority in all three houses.
The Chancellor of Synod, Mr. David Jones, informed Synod that the present wording of the Marriage Canon, “does not contain either a definition of marriage or a specific prohibition against solemnizing same-sex marriage.” This morning, 6 Canadian Bishops have declared that they are prepared to authorize same sex marriages in their dioceses according to the Marriage Rites developed in the Episcopal Church (USA): Ottawa, Niagara, Huron, Toronto, New Westminster, British Columbia. There is speculation that more dioceses will follow suit.
Earlier today, the final day of Synod, a motion was passed to “reaffirm the 2004 General Synod statement on the integrity and sanctity of same sex relationships” and “call on the whole church to engage fully with This Holy Estate [the report of the Marriage Commission, available online here] at every level.”
The results of this Synod are heart breaking to a lot of Canadian Anglicans. Listening to the live feed from Synod yesterday evening, people spoke with passion and conviction on both sides of the issue. People on both sides of the issue spoke with love and respect for Scripture, and as disciples of Jesus Christ. Yet, as one speaker noted, this issue has become a new test of orthodoxy, for many people on both sides. Many people on both sides speak as if only those who agree with them can call themselves Christians. This issue has become a new kind of test for heretics: heretics who don’t have the correct reading of scripture; heretics who don’t have the correct understanding of love. Whatever happens next, it is my strong belief that heretic-hunting has no place in the Christian Church. Here at St. George’s I will continue to advocate for us to be a community of disciples in which we grow in faith by learning to love one another across our boundaries.
While I promised two weeks ago that this Synod wouldn’t change anything right away, that is obviously incorrect: things are changing in Canadian Anglicanism as we speak. We are awaiting a statement from our Bishop, which I will forward to the parish as soon as possible.
Please keep praying: pray for our Church; pray for our leaders; pray for the Holy Spirit; pray for those whom you do not agree with. And if you cannot pray for them, pray to God that you may grow in grace and be able, one day, to pray for them.
Your Sister in Christ,