On Wednesday 2010 06 09, the dialogue groups met again for 90min, and responded to the feedback read out on the previous evening – that feedback being a collation of the dialogue sessions on Monday. The discussions were again summarised by rapporteurs, and the pooled discussion data was used to produce the statement reproduced below. This Sexuality Discernment statement was read to Synod by the Prolocutor. This entire discussion/ discernment process is one agreed to by Council of General Synod months ago.
There was no discussion on the floor of synod on the evening of Wednesday, but rather General Synod members were given hard copy to read and reflect on overnight. It will be discussed (probably in some motion form) on Thursday. It’s reproduced immediately below, errors in transcription are mine. Further comments by Chris in a subsequent blog post.
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[transcribed by Chris Ambidge 2010 06 09 – electronic version not yet available on the church website]
General Synod 2010
Sexuality Discernment 9 June 2010
The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada met in Halifax, Nova Scotia in June of 2010. Together we entered into intentional conversations in order to hear where our Church is at this time in its life in relation to the matter of blessing of same-gender unions. Our conversations were marked by grace, honesty and generosity of spirit towards one another. There was robust participation in the conversations. In dialogue we shared our passion for the mission of God in the worlds and our thoughts, feelings and convictions. We were attentive to each others’ perspectives, experiences and stories and we shared a commitment to continued theological reflection and scriptural study as a foundation to our ongoing dialogue and discernment.
We engaged these conversations within the particularity of our Canadian context – a country that is diverse and many-cultured. Canadians have been learning how to dialogue across their diversities over the course of our national life. We do so with deeply held commitments to transparency and openness, an approach that is not without risk and that we affirm as a great gift. Often, in process of discernment, the task is to see our way through a paradox.
Our conversations affirmed the full inclusion of gay and lesbian members in our churches, aboriginal voices in our midst, and the wide range of perspectives on the issue of same gender blessings across all dioceses. Our dialogue has been a positive and helpful step in our discernment. At this time, however, we are not prepared to make a legislative decision. Above, in and through all of this, and despite all our differences, we are passionately committed to walking together, protecting our common life.
We acknowledge diverse pastoral practices as dioceses respond to their own missional contexts. We accept the continuing commitment to develop generous pastoral responses. We recognise that these different approaches raise difficulties and challenges. When one acts, there are implications for all. There can be no imposition of a decision or action for endorsement, but rather we are challenged to live together sharing in the mission of Christ entrusted to us, accepting that different local contexts call at times for different local discernment, decision, and action.
We are in a time of ongoing discernment which requires mutual accountability through continuing dialogue, diocese to diocese and across the wider church. It also requires continued theological and scriptural study and dialogue on the wide range of matters relating to human sexuality.
For many members of General Synod there is deep sadness that, at this time, there is no common mind. We acknowledge the pain that our diversity in this matter causes. We are deeply aware of the cost to people whose lives are implicated in the consequences of an ongoing discernment process. This is not just an “issue” but is about peoples’ daily lives and deeply held faith commitments. For some, even this statement represents a risk. For some the statement does not go nearly far enough.
In the transparency and openness we have experienced with one another, we have risked vulnerability but it is in such places that we grow closer in the body of Christ and behold each other as gift. Abiding with each other, and with God we are sustained through struggle, patient listening, and speaking from the mind and heart together. We have experienced these conversations as a gift for us here at synod and hope that they will be a further gift to the Anglican Church of Canada and to the wider Church.
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