Bisexual (COD ):  adjective. 1. sexually attracted to persons of both sexes.  2. Biological. Having characteristics of both sexes.  3 of or concerning both sexes.   Noun.  a bisexual person.

Blessings:  (From Book of Occasional Celebrations – Anglican Church of Canada, 1992, pgs. 119-120)

We bless people not to increase their spiritual dignity but to give thanks for the role they have been called to play within the reign of God and thus to release them to play their part…..For centuries the church has blessed people, places, and things apart from celebrations of the eucharist, and this is appropriate as long as the eucharistic context of the Church’s whole life is remembered. … Every prayer of blessing is thanksgiving for creation and redemption, offered in petition for the fulfilment of the divine purpose in God’s people and in all the world.  Like the eucharist itself, prayers of blessing are the return of refracted light to its source.  Blessings are always extensions and applications of the church’s central prayer.

Celibate (COD) 1. committed to abstention from sexual relations and from marriage, esp. for religious reasons.  2. abstaining from sexual relations.

Members of religious orders make vows of celibacy as part of their commitment to Christian community life, seeing it as part of their vocational calling.  Other people may live in celibacy as a social requirement prior to marriage but do not see it as a permanent vocation.  The Church expects those who are not married to be celibate.

Civil Union:   the commitment of two same-sex persons to one another as recognized by local legal standards.  A couple can be joined in a legally recognized civil union in several provinces of Canada at the present time.

Gay:  (COD)   adjective.  1a homosexual; b of or pertaining to homosexuals.  The use of gay to mean ‘homosexual’ is favoured by homosexuals, and is now well established and in widespread general use.  In many instances it is restricted in application to male homosexuals and contrasted with lesbian when discussing homosexuals as a group.

Homosexuality:   (COD):  1. a feeling of or involving sexual attraction  to persons of the same sex. 2 concerning homosexual relations or people  3 relating to the same sex.  Noun. a homosexual person

Lesbian:  (COD):  Noun: a woman who is sexually attracted to other women.  Adjective Of or pertaining to lesbians.

Lesbigay:  a frequently heard contraction of lesbian-bisexual-gay to indicate all three kinds of sexual attraction.

Marriage:      Three definitions of Marriage:

Dictionary:(COD)  noun. 1. the legal or religious union of a man and a woman in order to live together and often to have children.  2. an act or ceremony establishing this union.

Proposed Bill C-38: Gov’t of Canada: (Currently before the House of Parliament)   “Marriage for civil purposes, is the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others.”

Anglican Church of Canada:  General Synod Canon XXI:  The Anglican Church of Canada affirms,…., that mmarriage is a lifelong union in faithful love, and that marriage vows are a commitment to this union, for better or for worse, to the exclusion of all others on either side. This union is established by God’s grace when two duly qualified persons enter into a covenant of marriage in which they declare their intention of fulfilling its purposes and exchange vows to be faithful to one another until they are separated by death. The purposes of marriage are mutual fellowship, support, and comfort, and the procreation (if it may be) and nurture of children, and the creation of a relationship in which sexuality may serve personal fulfilment in a community of faithful love. This covenant is made in the sight of God and in the presence of witnesses and of an authorized minister.

Pedophilia (COD) noun. sexual desire directed towards children.

Pedophiles can be either heterosexual or homosexual.

Same-sex Blessings: There is no official definition of a same-sex union being blessed by the Church.

From the St. Michael Report (Primate’s Theological Commission, Anglican Church of Canada, May 2005):

The Commission understands the term ‘committed same-sex unions’ to mean committed, adult, monogamous, intended lifelong, same-sex relationships which include sexual intimacy.

The following are found in rites for blessing such a union as practiced in Dioceses that have already granted permission:

I) From: Diocese of New Westminster:


In order to request this Rite of Blessing each member of the couple must:

  1. be free to enter into such a covenant. That is, they must not be in an existing covenantal relationship, including marriage.
  2. enter the rite with an understanding that the relationship is to be exclusive of any other partners and have the expectation of permanence.
  3. satisfy the requirements of any previous relationship. This involves appropriate    support of dependants from any previous relationship and the appropriate dissolution and meeting of obligations that arise from the same.

II)  From:  Guidelines & Rite for Blessing, Diocese of Washington, ECUSA:

“Our intent is to provide faithful same sex couples and families in our congregations with the same affirmation and blessing we offer to opposite sex couples and their families. We hope this rite will strengthen the faithful, uphold the couples who come to us seeking God’s blessing, promote the stability of couples and families, and confirm in us the traditional values of fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, open communication and steadfast love. This rite is a covenant marked by sacred trust and commitment, witnessed and blessed in the presence of God by the community of the faithful.”

From the rite:   “Each one of us is called to live out the Covenant of Baptism in our daily life and work. For some this includes a special relationship of fidelity and mutuality with another person that becomes a sign of God’s steadfast love.”

III)  From:  Diocese of Vermont Intention Form for Same Sex Union

“We believe that the union of two partners is intended by God for their mutual joy, for the encouragement and support given one another in daily life and changing circumstances, for the deepening of faith as they experience God’s love in their love for one another, and (if it may be) the physical and spiritual nurture of children. Such relationships are nurtured and characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God.

And we do engage ourselves, so far as in us lies, to make our utmost effort to establish this relationship and to seek God’s help hereto.”

Sexual Orientation:  (COD)  noun. the fact of being attracted to people of the opposite sex, of one’s own sex, or both sexes.

There is ongoing discussion among professionals as to the origins of the sexual orientation of an individual.  Some evidence points to biological/genetic factors; other studies show the influence of social factors.  Current discussions outline a complex web of contributing factors that determine our primary sexual orientation along a continuum.

Church Terms:

Archbishop of Canterbury:  The head of the Church of England, appointed by the crown. Symbolic head of the Anglican Communion but with no legal jurisdiction in any Anglican-related Church outside of England.  He is however considered primus inter pares – ‘first among equals’ among the primates and bishops of the Anglican Communion.

Anglican Communion: 38 provinces of churches with historic links to the Church of England and adherence to the Lambeth Quadrilateral.

Anglican Consultative Council: The ACC membership includes from one to three persons from each province, including bishops, clergy and/or laity. Both the USA and Canada have three members each.  Each province pays toward the inter-Anglican budget for the ongoing work set forth by the ACC and the other instruments of unity as required.


  • To share information about developments in the provinces and to serve as an instrument of common action, often by resolutions or initiating programs.
  • To advise on inter-Anglican relationships and formations of new provinces.
  • To share resources of all kinds and support for the mission of the global church.
  • To engage in important ecumenical dialogues and interfaith work on an international level.

Authorized Rites – The diocesan bishop authorizes which rites of liturgy may be used within his/her diocese


  1. Title used by a clergy or lay person appointed as an honorary official of the cathedral of a diocese.
  2. The canon of Scripture is the list of books to be included in the Bible, agreed upon by historic councils of the Christian Church.
  3. Canon – a regulatory statute of the church.  Canon law provides the legal framework for the life and ministry of the Church.

Exegesis:  The process of careful study of a biblical passage in relation to its historical setting; its setting in the overall collection that makes up the scriptures, specific questions of language and literary form, and how it has been understood by past interpreters, in order to provide a foundation for hearing what the passage may have to say to us today.

General Synod: A triennial gathering of:

  1. All bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada
  2. Elected clergy and laity from every diocese

Governs the work of the national Anglican Church of Canada – which consists of 30 dioceses organized in 4 ecclesiastical provinces.

Instruments of Unity   (or:  ‘of Communion’) The Virginia Report (1999) identified and suggested the following as the world wide vehicles for maintaining communion.  They are: The Lambeth Conference (meets every 10 years, for bishops); the Primates’ Meeting (regular meetings for the senior archbishops and bishops of the 38 Provinces); the Anglican Consultative Council (meeting every 3 years or so, includes laity, bishops, priests, deacons); and the Archbishop of Canterbury in his international role as ‘primus inter pares’ (first among equals).

Lambeth Conference:  A gathering, every 10 years, of bishops from across the Anglican Communion at Lambeth, England, called together at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury.  It is a conference with no binding legal authority over national churches, but with the moral authority of the Anglican desire for unity.

Lambeth Quadrilateral:  It defines four things as essential for the Anglican Church. They are: the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the ecumenical creeds (Apostles’ & Nicene), the divinely ordained Sacraments (Baptism & Eucharist), and the historic episcopate. It is important to understand that these four pillars were originally conceived within the Anglican Communion as a framework to define membership. They arose in the late 19th century in response to the growth of the church throughout the world and the requests by autonomous churches in foreign parts for recognition as Anglican churches. They remain the only defining criteria for membership in the Communion.

Local Option: The possibility for local segments of the church (parish, deanery diocese) to choose a course of action not chosen by other segments.  For example:  dioceses in Africa were granted leeway to allow the practice of polygamy to coexist with the preferred teaching on monogamy while the culture was adapting to monogamous marriage; Some provinces of the Anglican Communion permit the ordination of women as priests and bishops while others do not.

Parliament of Canada – Bill C38 – Civil definition of marriage

Primate of Canada: The diocesan bishop elected by General Synod to serve as the head of the Anglican Church of Canada and General Synod.

Primates’ Meeting regular meetings for the senior archbishops and bishops of the 38 Provinces called approximately every 3 years by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

St. Michael Report: The report of the Primate’s Theological Commission (May 2005) on whether or not the issue of blessing same-sex unions is a matter of doctrine.  The report is commended to the church for study.

Synod: A gathering of bishops, clergy and laity for decisions concerning the life of a diocese, province or national Church.  Governed by ecclesiastical laws (canons); chaired by the chief bishop (Diocesan, Metropolitan or Primate).

Virginia Reportof the Inter Anglican Doctrinal Commission (1994-1998).  A report summarizing the work of the commission as it reflected on the nature of communion and how Anglicans might live together in the highest degree of communion possible while different views and practices concerning the ordination of women continued to be held within the Communion.

Windsor Report: The final report produced by the Lambeth Commission on Communion.  The Commission was mandated by the Archbishop of Canterbury to review the actions in the Episcopal Church of the USA and the Diocese of New Westminster and report specifically on the canonical understandings of communion, impaired and broken communion, and the ways in which provinces of the Anglican Communion may relate to one another in situations where the ecclesiastical authorities of one province feel unable to maintain the fullness of communion with another part of the Anglican Communion.  To include practical recommendations on maintaining the highest level of communion together.  The Commission included bishops and laity from across the provinces of the Anglican Communion.

Items noted (COD):  From The Oxford Canadian Dictionary. Copyright 1998, 2004 Oxford University Press


A Resource Guide for Discussions on Human Sexuality