Dr. Gary D. Badcock
“What is Communion, anyway?”
The Windsor Report of 2004, which set out to examine the conditions for the possibility of continuing communion amid the strains evident in global Anglicanism, raises challenging questions for the global Church. This paper will argue that these challenges are all the greater for liberal Anglicans in contemporary Canada, since the first principles of contemporary liberal Anglicanism stand in radical tension with the theology of communion as the Windsor Report (rightly) develops it. The contention will be that Canadian Anglicans must learn to think about the nature of ecclesial communion in ways that are more adequately informed by the gospel and by the structures of Christian theology, and less indebted to social theory, if a satisfactory way through the current crisis in the Church is to be found.
Dr. Gary D. Badcock studied Philosophy at Memorial University and Systematic Theology at the University of Edinburgh. He taught first at Aberdeen and mainly at Edinburgh from 1991 to 1999, and since 1999 has held the Peache Chair of Divinity at Huron University College. He is the author of Light of Truth & Fire of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit, and The Way of Life: A Theology of Christian Vocation. He has also recently completed a book on the doctrine of the Church, tentatively entitled, The House Where God Lives.
“The St Michael Report: Wrong Question, Wrong Answer”
The first part of this paper argues that the St Michael Report has introduced innovations in the church’s understanding of what is meant by ‘doctrine’ that are likely to lead to general confusion and paralysis, and that are certainly not going to be helpful in reaching a decision about the blessing of same sex relationships. The Report artificially broadens the meaning of the term ‘doctrine’ so that it includes (incredibly) even adiaphora, matters of indifference: we will be a church that counts indifferent matters among its doctrines! The upshot is that blessing same sex unions is a matter of doctrine for the reason that, basically, everything is. This unfortunate answer has come about because, essentially, the Synod put the wrong question to the Commission – at least it was the wrong question if the Synod’s intention was to seek an acceptable resolution of the debate about same sex blessings, and to seek that resolution in a timely fashion. In its second part the paper attempts to sketch a more classically Anglican resolution of the issue.
Dr. John Thorp is a member and former Chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of Western Ontario, and a member of the Graduate Faculty of Theology at Huron University College. His principal research interests are in ancient philosophy and in philosophical theology.
The Hon. Ronald C. Stevenson QC
“Unity in Diversity or Unity vs. Diversity?”
General Synod 2007 will deal with a deferred motion that would affirm the authority of dioceses to authorize blessing of committed same sex unions. The Synod will do that in a context shaped by two Reports: one says the issue is one of non-credal doctrine; the other calls for a moratorium on such rites, for continuing study of biblical and theological rationale for and against such unions, and for any Church moving toward such rites to demonstrate how they meet the criteria of scripture, tradition and reason. Two versions of such a demonstration would be required – a scholarly thesis for theologians and a plain language version for others. Most Anglicans fall between the polarized positions and need to be reminded that diversity is one of the strengths of Anglicanism. Statements of bishops in widely separated provinces of the Communion refute any false impression that all Anglicans outside North America reject diversity around sexuality issues. The St. Michael Report suggests that the Synod may have to choose between concern for the unity of the Communion and making a decision for which the Synod feels it has an urgent gospel mandate. Synod planners hope to enable the Synod to make its decisions decently and in order.
The Hon. Ronald C. Stevenson is a graduate of the University of New Brunswick (BA) and Dalhousie University (LLB) and an honourary graduate of the University of King’s College (DCnL). He practiced law in Fredericton from 1953 to 1972 and was a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench of New Brunswick from 1972 to 1994. A former member of the Diocesan Synod of Fredericton and the Synod of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada, he successively served as chancellor of those synods. He has been a member of nine General Synods and has been Chancellor of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada since 1999. Justice Stevenson participated in the Anglican Communion Legal Advisors’ Consultation at Canterbury in 2002 and in 2003 presented a paper on Anglican Understanding of Authority to the International Conversations between the Anglican Communion and the Baptist World Alliance.
The Rev’d Heather McCance
“That All Thy Church Might Be Forever One: Seeking Unity in First Clement and the Windsor Report”
The Letter of the Romans to the Corinthians (commonly known as First Clement) was written in the late first century to address a situation of conflict and division in the Corinthian church. The precipitating cause of this division is unknown. Rather than addressing the presenting cause or the rupture, the author offers theological and strategic reasoning for his emphasis on the need for unity within the church, based on scripture, the orders of the church, the history of the church and the nature of the unity of the triune God.
The Rev’d Heather McCance is incumbent of the Parish of Sharon and Holland Landing in the Diocese of Toronto and serves as Regional Dean of the Holland Deanery. She is currently completing a Masters of Theology degree at the Toronto School of Theology, with a special interest in the intersection of postmodern thought and the various liberation theologies that emerged in the latter part of the last century.
The Rev’d Edward Wagner
“Canon Is Not Enslavement: A Modern Pastoral Case for Biblical Inerrancy”
The issues addressed by the Windsor and St Michael Reports are fundamentally issues of brokenness requiring divine healing. I attempt to make a case for Biblical inerrancy in the broadest sense and argue for the pastoral necessity of a closed Canon and Biblical inerrancy, defined as “complete truthfulness and dependability of all that scripture affirms” (Barnes, 1993); but propose that inerrancy be located in the believing communities, rather than the text itself. The model suggested for this is “God speaks; humankind responds.”
The Rev’d Edward Wagner is the rector at St George’s in Owen Sound and has served in parish ministry for 40 years as a priest and precentor (minister of music), and as an oncology
and hospice chaplain, most recently as co-director of pastoral care for all eleven hospitals in
Grey and Bruce counties. He was educated at the University of Waterloo, Ontario (Hons BA, MA), Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut (MDiv), and St Joseph’s College, West Hartford, Connecticut (MA).
The Rev’d Canon Dr. Timothy Connor and The Rev’d Dr. George Sumner
“Toward an Anglican Theology in the Spirit of Windsor”
The paper will consider the logical and theological implications of dispersed authority, conciliarism, and the turn to practices for the Anglican polity.
The Rev’d Canon Dr. Timothy Connor is rector of St. George’s Anglican Church, London and adjunct lecturer in Systematic Theology at Wycliffe College, Toronto. Dr. Connor serves the Diocese of Huron as Chair of its Catechumenate Network and is a member of its Doctrine and Worship Committee. He is also a member of the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee of General Synod.
The Rev’d Dr. George Sumner is Principal of Wycliffe College, Toronto and is a former missionary in Tanzania and Navojoland. He is the author of many articles in systematic theology and most recently a book on pluralism and theology entitled The First and the Last (2006).
Dr. William H. Harrison
Custom and the National Church: The Reason Why.
At the heart of the discussion about the direction of the Anglican Communion today is the debate over how close the relationships ought to be. Instruments of unity, such as Primates’ meetings and the Lambeth Conference, are taking on an appearance of centralized authority which represents a significant shift in the Communion’s self-understanding. Little has been said about the benefits of an autonomous national church model, though the model still dominates the thinking of many in the Communion.
Richard Hooker found another wise way to structure a church. According to Hooker, only “things necessary to salvation” must be held in common; other questions are most appropriately dealt with by individual churches within their own national boundaries.
Each church is best able to decide how to incarnate the gospel in its own time and place. In our complex era of increasing globalization, Hooker’s argument still holds true.
Dr. William H. Harrison is former Vice-Principal and Professor of Theology and Anglican Studies, at The College of Emmanuel & St. Chad. He is author of a number of articles on Richard Hooker, and is currently engaged in research on Dorothy L. Sayers.
The Rev’d Gordon R. Maitland
The Parting of Friends
The central thesis of this paper is that the best way for the proponents and opponents of the blessing of same-sex unions to live together is to live apart. The starting point for this proposal is a suggestion by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, that there be a “two-track” Anglican Communion. Unlike the Archbishop’s proposal, this paper does not argue for a complete separation between those who want the Church to bless same-sex unions and those who don’t. Nor does this paper pre-judge the rightness or wrongness of either side of the issue before us. It is to suggest a way in which the two sides can continue to live in communion with each other.
The model expounded for this new ecclesial relationship would be the kind of relationship between the Latin and Eastern Rite churches in the Roman Catholic Church. Thus, the Anglican Church of Canada would have two autonomous but interrelated overlappingjurisdictions grounded in the conviction that communion cannot exist without trust and the assurance that strongly held convictions will be respected. Perhaps such structures could also allow for a future reconciliation and a deeper unity.
The Rev’d Gordon R. Maitland is a sessional lecturer at Huron University College.
The Rev’d Rae Fletcher
What is it that we do when we bless something? There has been much attention given to the unions, but very little to blessing. This paper is an attempt to begin to fill that gap.
Section I sets out two different understandings of blessing, which I call salutational and
sacralizing concepts of blessing. Very briefly, the salutational concept (lying in the Hebrew word barakh and the Greek eulogein) is one of recognizing, greeting, honouring, thanking, and well-wishing. The sacralizing concept – which comes into currency in about the 10th century – is the idea of setting apart, removing from the realm of the profane, making sacred.
Section II argues that the debate that is now raging in the Anglican Communion has been skewed by limiting itself to the sacralizing concept of blessing and failing to incorporate the salutational one. In particular, it suggests that while the blessing of such things as linens, fonts and bells nicely falls within the province of a sacralizing blessing, the blessing of marriages does not.
Finally, section III argues that the church has always understood that blessing (in its salutational sense) can be bestowed even on things that belong to the fallenness of creation: wheelchairs, battleships, hospitals, certain foods etc. It follows that even those who think that homosexuality is not part of God’s intentions for the world, but a product of the fall, should not automatically balk at the salutational blessing of same sex unions: at saluting them, welcoming them, sustaining them and wishing them well.
The Rev’d Rae Fletcher is a graduate of Trent University and Trinity College, Toronto. He has spent the majority of his ministry in Ottawa, and is currently rector of Bishop Cronyn Memorial Church, London, Ontario.
Dr. Darren C. Marks
Overcoming the New Gnosticism: Re-founding Theological Anthropology
Over the course of modernity embodiment has become a major theme of theology and as such has introduced a theological anthropology that is at variance with its origin in Christology or Christ as the pneumatic human. As a result of this morphing of theological anthropology, sexuality, as echoed in the work of Foucault, has become a dominant dialogue partner in identity let alone theological anthropology by assuming nature as antithetical to spirit. This, I argue, introduces a host of issues that are centripetal to the hope of dialogue with a Christian culture in the Global South that has not undergone this morphing of [sexuality] identity and embodiment. Instead, a re-founding of theological anthropology in Christology, and specifically in the concept that God only knows the human person as sinner (Bonhoeffer), might provide a way forward that proves acceptable to both Western and Global minds, or at least provide a place from which a theological anthropology can initiate a dialogue. Finally, and tethering to the St Michael Report, I suggest that just such a theological assumption resolves the centripetal forces in the document’s conclusions and mixed message on the nature of adiaphora and core doctrine.
Dr. Darren C. Marks is lecturer in systematic theology and religion at Huron University College and Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the University of Western Ontario. He is the author of over a dozen articles and several books in systematic theology.
Dr. Margaret Elizabeth Myers
“Quest for Balm in Gilead: Disclosure patterns of church-affiliated family members who have ‘come out’ as lesbian or gay”
The researcher conducted a study between September 2005 and March 2006 that explored the disclosure experiences of church-affiliated relatives of lesbians and gays in their mainline church communities (Anglican, Lutheran, United Church, Presbyterian and United Methodist).
The central theme that emerged is called “Quest for Balm in Gilead” with four identified processes: “Wakefulness through Mirror and Faith”; “Anticipation through Mirror and Faith”; Acceptance through Mirror and Faith”; and “Engagement through Mirror and Faith.” Participants reported a liberating and empowering experience, in which “a mirror” had been held up for them by others, as they began to recognize many beliefs, attitudes and behaviors they had previously exhibited themselves. They expressed that the process helped them to more clearly understand “who” they were as people of faith, as members of the body of Christ, and as human persons journeying alongside others, and to come to a place where they could focus on the peace and joy inherent in the Christian love and acceptance of others.
In examining the matrix for outcomes, it also became clear that participants viewed pastoral support to be inconsistent, uninformed by current research, and pastors to be less than willing to become engaged in the pastoral conversation around homosexuality.
Dr. Margaret Elizabeth Myers is Associate Professor at Athabasca University in the Masters in Health Sciences Program, a priest in the Anglican Church and Marriage and Family Counselor.