Anglican Church of Canada responds to the Primates’ communiqué

The motion shown below was passed unanimously by the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee (a Standing Committee of the Anglican Church of Canada) at its recent meeting. It goes now as a recommendation to the governing body of the Canadian church – the Council of General Synod – that will meet in May to determine Canada’s response to the Primates’ communiqué.

Motion FWM 03.05.#6
Moved by Patricia Bays
Seconded by Richard Leggett

That, while acknowledging the sincere concern of Anglicans throughout the world for the unity of the Communion and recognizing the pain of Anglicans of all persuasions caused by recent events, this Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee reluctantly but firmly recommends to the Council of General Synod the following resolution:

1. That the Council of General Synod confirm the membership of the Anglican Church of Canada in the Anglican Consultative Council with the expectation that the duly elected members attend and participate in the June 2005 meeting of the Council in the UK.

2. That the Council of General Synod welcome the invitation to explain at the June 2005 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council the current situation, the steps that were taken by Dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada and the General Synod and the underlying theological and biblical rationale with respect to the decision to bless committed same sex unions.

3. That the Council of General Synod, in response to the second part of Paragraph 14 of the Primates’ Statement of February 24 2005, commend the Windsor Report to the Anglican Church of Canada for study.

Explanatory Notes

Part 1 of the Motion

* The Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee is concerned that existing ecclesiological and synodical structures, in dioceses and Provinces and within the Communion, are being pre-empted in their processes, and in the appropriate exercise of the checks and balances already available to them. Authority is being extended to bodies that goes beyond that constitutionally allocated to them. One principle of the evolution of church law is that we create new mechanisms only when all existing mechanisms have been exhausted.
* In light of the above, we believe that the request to withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council is an inappropriate action at this time for the following reasons:

o The Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council states that the Anglican Church of Canada is a member of the Council, entitled to send three delegates to its meetings.

o Article 3.A of the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council clearly states that questions of membership are initiated by the Anglican Consultative Council.

o The roles of the Instruments of Unity as proposed by the Virginia and Windsor Reports have not been formally received by the Communion.

o The Primates Statement of February 24 2005 contributes to further confusion regarding the interconnection of the Instruments of Unity.

o If the request issued by the Primates (Section 14 of the Primates Statement of February 24) were to be honoured, it would set a precedent for dealing with other issues.

Part 2 of the Motion

* The Windsor Report commends dialogue and study, and representatives of the Canadian church need to be present to keep communication open. At the heart of the Anglican Communion is the principle that we meet. For this reason we believe it is important to accept the invitation to make a presentation to the Anglican Consultative Council.

* The Anglican Church of Canada is still in a process of discernment and is not at present of one mind. Its Primate’s Theological Commission is reflecting on whether same sex blessings are a matter of doctrine or not. A decision on the substantive question has been deferred to the General Synod of 2007.

Part 3 of the Motion

* We welcome the opportunity to engage in further study as requested by the Anglican Consultative Council at the time of the release of The Windsor Report. The Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee reviewed the Response to the Windsor Report from the Canadian Church, compiled at our Primate’s request. We believe that further study of both the Windsor Report and our Church’s Response to it is important for all Canadian Anglicans.

Carried unanimously

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