After several hours of debate, the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada has approved an addition to a resolution approved Wednesday that specifically tells same-sex partners that they are welcome in the church and that their relationships are affirmed.
The amendment was introduced by the Rev. Canon Garth Bulmer of the Diocese of Ottawa and affirms “the integrity and sanctity of committed adult same-sex relationships”.
The debate on same-sex issues resumed Thursday morning with youth delegates being given first say. Most of the 10 young people were in favour of the motion although two moved an amendment that would have removed the words “integrity and sanctity” and replaced them with “and love those who are in committed adult same-sex relationships”. The motion was defeated.
The first young speaker said he was discouraged by General Synod’s inability to make a decision on same-sex blessings. “We have been talking about it for three generations”, he said, adding that he started out as a “conservative” and was now a “liberal”.
He said he was concerned about young gays and lesbians who, because of feelings of rejection, think of suicide or cut themselves.
The word “sanctity” caused difficulty for a number of speakers. Some wondered if it was making the motion into a “doctrinal” statement.
The Rev. Dennis Drainville of the Diocese of Montreal [sic i.e. Quebec], who seconded the original motion, said the word “sanctity” was used because “God is in the midst of that relationship between two committed partners”.
After Canon Bulmer’s motion was approved, Archbishop David Crawley, the Acting Primate, praised the young people for their contribution. “I hope and wish and pray that you will be back in the future — perhaps as clergy delegates”, he told them. He also commended all delegates for conducting themselves in a “civil and dignified manner”.
At the opening of the eight-day meeting, Archbishop Crawley pleaded with delegates to conduct the same-sex debate in a civil way. “You have done as I asked”, he said Thursday. “You have conducted yourselves in a dignified and civil manner. Some times synod rises above itself and you have done that.”
The approved motion now becomes part of an earlier resolution, approved Wednesday, which affirmed:
– That despite deeply held convictions on both side of the same-sex blessings issue, “we commit ourselves to strive for that communion into which Christ continually calls us”;
– The value of continued dialogues;
– The principle of respect for the way in which dialogue takes place in “indigenous and various other communities within our church”;
– The principle that the Anglican Church includes all baptized people and the importance of maintaining fellowship and unity “including provision of adequate Episcopal oversight and pastoral care for all”.
General Synod is the church’s highest governing and legislative body, made up of lay people, deacons, priests and bishops elected from each of the church’s 30 dioceses.
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For more information, please contact: Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Director of Communications, OR Brian Sarjeant, OR Lorie Chortyk, Media Relations, at the General Synod Media Room: 905-984-4868. Mr. Carriere’s cell phone is 416-540-3653; Mr. Sarjeant’s cell phone is 613-558-5023
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