General Synod 2016If ever there was time when Anglicans needed the manifestations of the Spirit given to each of us for the common good (1 Cor 12.7), it is now. That a two thirds majority of General Synod (GS) of the church we serve made the first step towards amending our Marriage Canon to open the way for The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage to include people of the same sex is a momentous and divisive move. We will need the full complement of Gifts (1 Cor 12.8-11) and Fruits (Gal 5.22-23) of the Holy Spirit in action as we worship, pray and act through the years to come.
ARM Canada was there in Toronto for GS 2106. Board members Jane Jones, Roger Spack and I took turns hosting our display table (although Roger did the lion's share as well as coordinating with Alison Stortz, ARM Canada's most excellent Administrator and Editor of this publication, to pick up and drop off our attractive and informative display board as he passed through the railway station in Ottawa). We also helped the Anglican Communion Alliance team. ARM Canada Board Members, the Ven Perry Cooper, and new ARM Family Ministries coordinator, the Rev John VanStone, were also present as members of Synod.
Personally, I found the GS decision very disappointing although I was not surprised. It would be easy to be discouraged, but then I remind myself that Jesus promised not to leave us orphaned and to send a Helper (no less than the mighty Holy Spirit we ARM Canada people are always banging on about) to be with us forever, "even the Spirit of truth" (John 14.16-18). I take hope in that.
So we at ARM Canada will continue to to offer times of refreshing so God’s people may be empowered by the Holy Spirit through teaching, equipping and fellowship in the love of Jesus. (Acts 3:19-21) as we pray for God’s truth to prevail in the Anglican Church of Canada.
Fruitfulness FollowingI am also encouraged to hear what the Lord is doing among our Lutheran brothers and sisters. The ARM Canada board connected with Oasis Canada (formerly Lutheran Renewal Canada) during our prayer retreat last January. Medicine Hat Pastor and Oasis Canada Director, Jim Bredeson, has recently returned from renewal meetings in Sweden where the Oasis Movement “seeks to promote healthy spiritual renewal rooted in the Word as well as being balanced and sensitive to the Holy Spirit with fruitfulness following.” I was delighted to see that there was an Anglican connection there, too. Andrew Watson, the Bishop of Guildford in England, was one of the key speakers at the conference.
ARM Canada promotes healthy spiritual renewal rooted in the Word, too. We look forward to praying and working with our Lutheran friends to bring it about in Canada. I hope you will find Pastor Jim’s recap on the Swedish meeting as encouraging as I did.