Release from the Primate's Theological Commission

The Primate’s Theological Commission of the Anglican Church of Canada met Jan. 14-17, in Oakville, Ont., to address a question put to it by the General Synod of the church in 2004.

The General Synod had voted to defer a clause of a resolution calling the church to “affirm the authority and jurisdiction of any diocesan synod, with the concurrence of its bishop, to authorize the blessing of committed same sex unions.” In deferring the resolution it requested the Primate’s Theological Commission “to review, consider and report to the Council of General Synod, by its spring 2006 meeting, whether the blessing of committed same sex unions is a matter of doctrine.”

The commission met in a setting of prayer; members worshipped daily with the Sisters of the Church at St. Michael’s House, conducted Bible study on portions of Ephesians and Ecclesiastes, and worshipped in local parishes on Sunday morning. The meeting was characterized by eager study and respectful listening. The commission discussed the Windsor Report and papers from various dioceses engaged in studies of these matters; considered papers that members had prepared on the question of doctrine in liturgy, constitutional history, scripture, tradition, Anglican history and theology and doctrine in the context of a variety of cultures.

The commission made good progress and has committed itself to having a report for the Council of General Synod in May, 2005. According to General Synod, the council is to distribute the commission’s report to each province, diocese and the House of Bishops for consideration. The commission will meet again April 15-18 to finalize its report and to prepare further resources to assist the church’s reflection to assist the study process.

Members of the Commission include:

The Rt. Rev’d Victoria Matthews, Bishop of Edmonton (Chair);
Rev’d Dr. Stephen Andrews, Provost of Thorneloe University in Sudbury;
the Rt. Rev’d Ben Arreak, Suffragan Bishop of The Arctic, Kuujjuaq;
Dr. Walter Deller, Principal of the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad in Saskatoon;
Rev’d Dr. Wendy Fletcher, Dean of Theology at the Vancouver School of Theology, Vancouver;
the Rev’d Jamie Howison of St. Benedict’s Table in Winnipeg;
the Rev’d Paul Jennings of the Montreal Diocesan College, Montreal;
the Rev’d Joanne Mercer of Queen’s College, St. John’s Newfoundland;
Dr. Bobby Moore of Ottawa,
the Rev’d Gary Thorne from St. George’s Anglican Church in Halifax,
the Rev’d Maddie Urion of Wycliffe College, Toronto, and
the Rev’d Lisa Wang of Trinity College, Toronto.

Staff support for the Commission is provided by Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, director of Faith, Worship and Ministry, (80 Hayden St., Toronto, ON M4Y 3G2; 416-924-9199 ext. 281)

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