General Synod 2016 Presidential Address

Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada Fred Hiltz opened General Synod 2016 with a moving Presidential Address on Thursday.  He framed his address, recognizing the mixed feelings with which the Synod gathered, with those of delight, angst and yearning.

With you I am much heartened by the commitment of our church to have its work and witness in the world continually shaped by the Marks of Mission – preaching the good news, nurturing people for life long discipleship, tending the poor and vulnerable, building a just society, and caring for the earth. These Marks of Mission are the very template for a number of initiatives in parish renewal, the primary reference point for many diocesan strategic planning processes, and the very back-drop for the program priorities of our General Synod …

With you, I am aware that for many throughout the Church, the issue of this Synod is the proposed amendment of the Marriage Canon to make provision for the solemnizing of same-sex marriages in our church. This matter is before us as a result of deliberations on Resolution C003 at General Synod 2013, passed in our accustomed way of voting as bishops and as clergy and laity voting together; and then by request of each of the Orders voting separately – bishops, clergy, and laity. This resolution directed the Council of General Synod (COGS) to bring forward the necessary amendments to the Marriage Canon. As you will hear in some depth this evening, COGS appointed a Commission on the Marriage Canon to address the request. The commission honoured in full the amendments to the original Resolution C003, including broad consultation across our church, with the Anglican Communion and within ecumenical circles in the Church Catholic …

And now dear friends – the yearning – the deep longing within the hearts of so many, that we strive to be less and less focussed on ourselves and more and more a Church “In and for the World”. I borrow that image from the 2013 WCC Publication, “The Church: Towards a Common Vision.” We yearn to be a Church not turned in on itself, but rather turned inside out, working not so hard at turning the world upside down, but rather as Presiding Bishop Michael Curry says, “right side up.”

The Gospel of Christ compels the Church in every age to not remain silent in the face of the real life/death issues of its time. In our time these include:
– Human trafficking
– Gender-Based Violence
– Violence that is racially motivated
– Violence that is religiously motivated
– Child labour, Boy and Girl Soldiers
– Drug Wars
– Gun Control
– Criminalizing of people for their sexual orientation
– Extreme poverty
– Starvation unto death
– Refugees in the millions
– Environmental degradation

Read the full Presidential Address


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