Deliberations of the proposed changes to Canon XXI on marriage were spirited and difficult. Being a change in worship, doctrine or procedure, a two-thirds majority in the three "houses" of Synod at two consecutive Synods is required. The question, when called, was carried in both the House of the Laity and the House of the Clergy and defeated in the House of Bishops. Two statements were subsequently delivered to the Synod: one from the House of Bishops and one from the Prolecutor and Deputy Prolecutor (those elected to leadership of General Synod with the Primate).
Statement of the Bishops
We, members of the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, see the pain and anguish inflicted on LGBTQ2S+ people, on members of the General Synod, across the Church, and in the world, as a result of the work and the vote on the matter of Canon 21, concerning marriage. We see your tears, we hear your cries, and we weep with you. We have caused deep hurt. We are profoundly sorry.
Although the bishops are not of one mind, we look with hope to the “Word to the Church” and its affirmations which General Synod 2019 overwhelmingly approved on Friday, July 12.
We are walking together in a way which leaves room for individual dioceses and jurisdictions of our church to proceed with same-sex marriage according to their contexts and convictions, sometimes described as “local option.”
Together, we affirm the inherent right of Indigenous peoples and communities to spiritual self-determination in their discernment and decisions in all matters.
Although we as bishops are not able to agree, in the name of Jesus Christ, we commit to conduct ourselves “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3).
15 July 2019
Statement of the Prolecutor and Deputy Prolectutor
As Prolocutor and Deputy Prolocutor we address this Synod.
On behalf of the orders of laity and clergy, we express our appreciation to the order of bishops for their message to us.
We have heard and felt and acknowledge the pain, hurt and anguish of many people in this General Synod and beyond, particularly in the LGBTQ2S+ community, their families and friends.
We celebrate the strong support of the affirmations that we adopted at this Synod, affirmations which commit this Church to inclusivity and mutual respect. We recall that the affirmations are entitled:
Indigenous Spiritual Self-determination; Diverse Understandings of the Existing Canon; Diverse Understandings and Teachings; Our Commitment to Presume Good Faith; Our Commitment to Stand Together.
We also strongly endorse the proposed actions of this Synod calling for work, in the next triennium, on our governance structures, size and composition of Synod, and planning for the future. We acknowledge that it is not only ‘what’ we do at Synod but, equally important, ‘how’ we do our work, and we confess and lament that some of the ways in which we deliberated in this session of Synod caused alienation and hurt. We look forward, therefore, to reviewing these matters before our 43rd General Synod.
We pray for God’s grace and the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit as we move forward, as we work toward living fully into these commitments.
15 July 2019
Find more detail, including video highlights at General Synod 2019