By Diana Mavunduse
The Anglican Church of Canada “remains an important part of the Anglican Communion,” Bishop John Paterson, of Auckland, N.Z., the chair of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), told members of the Council of General Synod (CoGs).
“The Communion needs Canada and I believe Canada needs the Communion,” he said, adding that he hopes that the “listening process” that has been put in place, will allow churches throughout the communion to appreciate each others’ differences.
Bishop Paterson addressed CoGS during a two-day visit as the council gathered in Mississauga, Ont., Nov. 17-20.
The ACC chair apologised to the Canadian church for the treatment it received at the Consultative Council’s meeting in Nottingham, Eng., last summer.
Bishop Paterson heard presentations to CoGS by Canadians who attended that meeting, and later told the council that those presentations “made me revisit the daily nightmares I had to face as chair of the ACC. — I did not enjoy the last meeting.”
He said that if the “listening process” is going to happen, it must happen at several levels. “We have to talk to ourselves and to others.”
The listening and study process is meant to monitor the work done on the subject of human sexuality in the worldwide Anglican Communion as defined by the 1998 Lambeth Conference.
Bishop Paterson noted that while a lot of attention is placed on Communion-wide divisions, not enough attention is placed on work done at the regional level.
“We need to revisit links like partners in mission and companion dioceses that allowed us to talk to each other,” he said.
He commended both the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA) and the Anglican Church of Canada as “exemplary” in the attention they have given the Windsor Report and for meeting all the requests that are contained in the report.
Canadian Anglicans attended the last meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in response to a request by Anglican Primates that the church make a presentation on actions the church has taken in the area of same-sex blessings.
As well as four presenters, the Primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison and three elected representatives of the Canadian Church to the consultative council attended the meeting, although the members of the council were instructed by CoGs not to participate in the proceedings.
CoGS heard reports from several of the people who had attended the meeting.
Bishop Sue Moxley, one of the Canadian members, told CoGs that the decision to send members but not to allow them to participate was improperly understood by some. She said that while it was important for the Canadians to be in Nottingham, “we should never again allow ourselves to be bullied.”
Canon Robert Falby, a presenter, noted with regret that after the Canadian and U.S. presentations, a scheduled sessions allowing members of the ACC to respond was cancelled. “I found that to be a very bad thing,” he said.
Canon Falby also noted with concern that there was “a complete misrepresentation of what the position of the Anglican Church of Canada is on the issue of same-sex blessings. Our message was that we are still a church in discussion and that message was deliberately ignored,” he noted.
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