A Word to the Church on Questions of Human Sexuality from the Council of General Synod May 2009

“At the May 2009 Council of General Synod (COGS) meeting, members heard updates from several church committees on how they are working on General Synod 2007’s resolutions around human sexuality. This is COGS’s response to these updates.”

  1. The Council of General Synod considered the work that has been done in fulfillment of the resolutions of General Synod 2007 regarding sexuality and reached consensus that this is not the time to ask General Synod to amend the marriage canon to allow for the marriage of same-sex couples.
  2. In light of ‘The Galilee Report’ of the Primate’s Theological Commission
    http://www.anglican.ca/primate/ptc/galilee/ , which reflects the diversity of opinion and lack of consensus in the Anglican Church of Canada about whether ‘the blessing of same-sex unions is a faithful, Spirit-led development of Christian doctrine’, the Council believes that further work needs to be done on outstanding questions which include:

    • any distinction between a blessing and a nuptial blessing
    • any distinctions among marriage, the blessing of a civil marriage, and the blessing of a union
    • the theological significance of blessing the civil marriage of a same-sex couple.
  3. The Council
    • commends ‘The Galilee Report’ and its accompanying materials to the church for study
    • thanks the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee for ‘The Rothesay Report’ and requests the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee to expand it to include a broader spectrum of theological thought on the question of the marriage of same-sex couples.
  4. The Council
    • celebrates the work that Faith Worship and Ministry staff have done to establish conversations on sexuality between dioceses in Canada and dioceses in Africa, and urges all Canadian dioceses, especially those in companion relationships, to enter into these conversations as a contribution to the Communion Listening Process
    • encourages Canadian dioceses to engage in similar conversations with each other
    • commends the work of the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee in developing the national focus group process and ‘a flexible framework’ for the study of human sexualityhttp://www.anglican.ca/faith/focus/hs/
  5. The Council directs the General Synod Planning Committee to build a listening process into the agenda for General Synod 2010 regarding sexuality, which would include, among other things:
    • the presentation of all the work done in response to the General Synod 2007 resolutions on sexuality
    • dioceses having an opportunity to share their experience of addressing questions of sexuality in their mission context.
  6. The Council proposes to develop a resolution to go to General Synod that would:
    • affirm the House of Bishops 2007 Guidelines on Pastoral Generosity (as a pastoral response within the context of local mission)
    • ask for continued study, discussion and discernment within the church of what God is saying to us about publicly authorized rites for the blessing of unions, the blessing of civil marriages, and marriage in the church, of same-sex couples.