Our dear friends,
For the last while many of us have been much in prayer, knowing that the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) would be convening July 10-16, 2019 in Vancouver for some very significant decisions.
Among them was the second vote potentially to confirm the decision of the 2016 General Synod to change the Marriage Canon.
Friday evening, July 12, 2019, the historic vote happened and though the overall vote was overwhelmingly for the change, because it was to be a Canonical change it required a 2/3 majority in all three houses: Laity, Clergy and Bishops.
The outcome was the motion was defeated by the narrowest of margins because, although the laity and clergy houses both had votes far exceeding the 66.6 % vote required, the House of Bishops only had just over 62% which meant the motion was defeated.
In reflecting on this outcome, while knowing that many Dioceses have already gone ahead for years and have no intention, it would seem, of changing, the ANiC House of Bishops would humbly like to share the following thoughts:
- We Commend the courage of the 59 who voted “no”—all of whom (but especially in the House of Bishops) stood for scriptural integrity in spite of intense pressure from within and the culture from without. They have resisted the temptation to confirm the motion and through their faithfulness have managed to avert, even temporarily, the tragic path their church seemed to be taking.
- We are relieved that General Synod has paused somewhat in its departure from the clear teachings of Scripture, and from the Global Anglican majority. This trajectory of departure has not just been evident in questions of sexuality, but also sanctity of life, and key areas of belief in the person and work of Christ.
- It appears to us that with such narrow margins no one has won and the Body of Christ is fractured even further.
- The vote seems to confirm that two incompatible gospels are being promoted within the Anglican Church of Canada, tearing the fabric of the Communion at its deepest level.
- We pray that even now a transformation can take place in the church that so many of us loved and served for so many years, and for that we will continue to pray.
- We call on The Anglican Church of Canada to return to the common Christian witness that Christ is Lord of all, that he lays claim to every human heart, and that he summons the world to holiness and truth.
- We express solidarity with many within present Anglican Church of Canada structures who tirelessly upheld and advanced these beliefs over so many years of endless controversy and decline.
- We rejoice that a realignment is underway in Anglicanism around the globe through the Global Anglican (GAFCON) Movement. We seek ecumenical unity with partners in other Christian traditions upholding strong biblical beliefs. We rejoice that in just 10 years The Anglican Church in North America has launched over 1200 churches throughout the continent who share in these aims.
- We believe that the Lord wants a great and eternal future for every follower, and for every Church that honours His sovereignty.
Whatever the ultimate outcome, we are very thankful for those who have stood so faithfully in these days and assure them of our prayer for them and for us all in the days ahead, and desire to stand with them in any way that they might find helpful.
We believe our faithful friends have indeed contended “for the faith once for all delivered to the saints”(Jude 1:3) and with them we rejoice in the Lord:
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
The House of Bishops of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC)