Monday, 29 September 2014

Submissions to The Anglican Church of Canada's Commission on the Marriage Canon Concerning the Marriage of Same Sex Couples

At the moment, there is a new and detailed portrait of thinking across the Anglican Church of Canada on same sex marriage on the national church's website. It exists because near the close of General Synod in Halifax, June 2013, there was a bit of an end run and flurry resulting in the following:
Be it resolved that this General Synod
direct the Council of General Synod to prepare and present a motion at General Synod 2016 to change Canon XXI on Marriage to allow the marriage of same sex couples in the same way as opposite sex couples, and that this motion should include a conscience clause so that no member of the clergy, bishop, congregation or diocese should be constrained to participate in or authorize such marriages against the dictates of their conscience.
This motion will also include supporting documentation that:
a) demonstrates broad consultation in its preparation;
b) explains how this motion does not contravene the Solemn Declaration;
c) confirms immunity under civil law and the Human Rights Code for those bishops, dioceses and priests who refuse to participate in or authorize the marriage of same-sex couples on the basis of conscience; and
d) provides a biblical and theological rationale for this change in teaching on the nature of Christian marriage.
The full details of the resolution can be found here.

As a result The Commission on the Marriage Canon was appointed with the following mandate:
General Synod 2013 enacted Resolution C003 that directs the Council of the General Synod to bring to the floor of General Synod 2016 a Motion that would amend Canon XXI (On Marriage in the Church) so as to enable same-sex marriage in our Church. This Resolution further directs that there be a broad consultation within our Church about the preparation of the Motion, and consideration of particular matters specified in the Resolution.
The terms of reference for that body (found here) state that
In seeking to fulfil its mandate to demonstrate a “broad consultation,” the Commission on the Marriage Canon has invited submissions from members of the Anglican Church of Canada. The commission’s terms of reference also specifically state: “In order to ensure the credibility of the commission and the transparency of its work, all submissions to the commission will be posted on the national church’s website.” As submissions are received and reviewed, they will be posted below in the order in which they were received. 
The submissions (one of which is mine) are to be found here. Submissions will be accepted until September 30th.

According to the Commission's mandate, that there will be a motion calling for an amendment to the marriage Canon is not in question. Unless there is a change of heart across the church, I fear the motion will pass separating us from the historic Christian faith as revealed and most other Anglicans and Christians in the world. It will be momentous, divisive and very sad.