With the Archdeacons’ Council of the Diocese of Keewatin, I as the ninth
Bishop of Keewatin, issue the following statement.
Greetings in the Name of the Risen Christ!
To the Anglican Communion in General and the Anglican Church of Canada in
The primary operating principle of the Diocese of Keewatin is that we are
self-determining but we walk together for strength. We commend this
principle to the rest of the Communion. There will always be tensions
within the communion because our circumstances of witness and ministry vary
dramatically. Each diocese must determine the specific ways in which God is
calling it to witness to the Gospel within its own context. We believe that
God is still calling us to walk together and therefore that which we have
in common is still greater than that which divides us. We take seriously
the scriptural directive:
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion,
kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if
anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord
has forgiven you, so also you must forgive. Above all else, clothe
yourselves with love which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called
in the one body
— Colossians 3:12-15
Therefore, we call upon the whole Anglican Communion in general and the
Anglican Church of Canada in particular to continue our walk together in
mutual respect, love, and concern, while all of us continue to seek the
direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit as we enter the 21st Century with
all of its challenges and opportunities.
To the Bishop and People of New Westminster
While we are concerned about the effects of your unilateral action, we
acknowledge your right to be self-determining. We accept and respect your
decision. We are aware that you have not acted lightly or wantonly but as a
result of much prayerful deliberation and extensive consultation. We know
that you are following where you believe the Holy Spirit is calling you.
We ask in turn that you accept and respect our determination that the Holy
Spirit is not calling us to follow in your footsteps and that at this
in the Diocese of Keewatin for many reasons are not prepared to authorize a
liturgy for the blessing of same sex unions.
We do not believe that these differences impede our communion with each
other. We believe we can continue to walk together side by side. We ask
your prayers for us and we assure you of ours for you, as together we
journey on the way to the Kingdom.
To the Diocese of Keewatin
We believe that marriage is a gift from the Creator and a means of his
grace. We believe that marriage is a covenant based on love which is also a
gift from the Creator We believe that marriage is a life-long union of
man and woman in heart, body and mind and is intended for their mutual
and fulfillment, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We believe that a
sound marriage is the best environment for the procreation, care and
upbringing of children. We believe that healthy Christian marriages are
essential for healthy Christian communities. Therefore, we continue to
uphold the institution of marriage as we understand it and we commit
ourselves to providing consistent teaching as well as support for
pre-marriage preparation, marriage and family support and counseling for
reconciliation when marriages encounter difficulties.
At the same time, we recognize that there are many who for one reason or
another are unable to receive and enjoy the gift of marriage. These
individuals are entitled to the respect due all those made in the image of
God. They are worthy of inclusion in the fellowship of the church and they
are welcome at worship and are entitled to a full sacramental and pastoral
ministry. We also recognize that many of these individuals live in
relationships in which they find mutual love, support and encouragement. We
rejoice with them, for this too is a gift from God.
While we cannot endorse the blessing of any sexual relationships outside
of marriage, we commit ourselves to ongoing prayer, study and dialogue to
determine under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, how we can be as
as possible while remaining true to the principles of scripture as we
understand them. We ask all members of the Diocese of Keewatin to enter
into this process of discernment in a spirit of mutual respect, compassion,
and gentleness as befits the disciples of Christ.
July 12, 2002
The Right Reverend David N. Ashdown, Bishop of
The Venerable Douglas Greig, Archdeacon of Southern Region
The Venerable Alex Fox, Archdeacon of Northern Ontario Region
The Venerable Gordon Swanson, Archdeacon of Northern Manitoba Region
The Venerable Larry Beardy, Archdeacon of Keewatin
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