On a happy note the Bishop Of Huron, Linda NIcholls, was elected as the 14th Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. She will replace our current Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, who will retire after General Synod. Bishop Linda is the first women elected to head the Canadian Anglican Church. She is a former Area bishop of the Diocese of Toronto. We all need to pray for our new Primate. The challenges of leading a national church are many.
On a sadder note for those of us who want to welcome and affirm all people and provide them with all of the sacraments of the church as they desire or need them, the defeat of the amendment to the Marriage Canon on second reading was heartbreaking.
Our Gay friends need to understand that an antiquated legislative process that requires us to have the patience of Job in no way diminishes our welcome or our hospitality in the Parish of Huntley. We join the vast majority of Canadian Anglicans in offering you a loving inclusive church.
The Bishop of Ottawa, John Chapman, has written a very clear letter to all people in our Diocese explaining that our Diocese remains committing to walking in solidarity with our Gay friends and providing them with the same pastoral and sacramental care as others. We remain deeply grateful to Bishop Chapman for his exemplary leadership. Bishop Chapman’s complete letter is posted below.
I am certain that this vote will not be the last word on the issue of inclusivity. In many ways it compels us to examine again structure and authority in our church. How can a Synod where seventy five percent of the people vote for a motion still see that motion defeated? Is our current church structure reflect our understanding that baptism is the conduit to ministry?
Here is Bishop John’s letter:
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
You will be pleased to know that our delegates are representing the
interests of our diocese ably and well. On behalf of our diocese, may I
thank The Right Rev. Michael Bird, The Venerable David Selzer, The Rev.
Canon Beth Bretzlaff, Kim Chadsey, The Rev. Mark Whittall, The Rev.
Monique Stone, John McBride, Lizzy Jones and Ann Chaplin.
While the work of General Synod continues, including the election of a new
Primate, I think it is safe to say that many of you have followed with
interest the conversations, debate and vote concerning the proposed change
to the Marriage Canon to allow same sex couples to be married in the
church. What follows outlines my pastoral response to this long-standing
struggle among the people of God and to the result of the vote on the
Yesterday the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada voted on the
proposal to amend the Marriage Canon XXI in our church. In order to be
approved, this motion required a 2/3 majority in all three Orders ¬
Bishops, Clergy, Laity. The proposal did not receive the necessary
majorities required in all three Orders to approve the proposed amendment.
As many of you know, this decision will weigh very heavy upon many of our
hearts and certainly mine as a bishop of the church and as bishop of the
Diocese of Ottawa. Many of us are sharing a deep sense of disappointment
today. Like many people, I have been engaged in seeking the full inclusion
of ALL people seeking the sacraments and ministries of the church these
last four decades. Many in the church and certainly in the Diocese of
Ottawa have been seeking the same.
However, while the changes to Canon XXI did not achieve the required
supermajority, a very significant step forward has been taken by our
church which I celebrate. The General Synod adopted a document, with 85%
support, called A Word to the Church. This document effectively allows
dioceses (and bishops) to offer marriage to same sex couples. This is no
small achievement. Previously, dioceses were obligated to function on
their own in this matter. Now, the whole church affirms the right of each
diocese to function, regarding same sex marriage, in a manner that best
suits their theological understanding, practice, and tradition.
It is my intention, with the affirming support of the whole church with
the passing of Motion A101-R1, A Word to the Church, to continue the
practice of allowing same sex marriages in our diocese with the bishop¹s
permission and following our normal protocols.
My sisters and brothers, I continue to pray for our church and for our
diocese as we strive to respond faithfully to the great work that we are
called to do in the name of Jesus in these changing and challenging times.
Yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. John H Chapman
Bishop of Ottawa