Integrity Canada news . . .
July 12, 2016 - Same-Sex Marriage passes first reading at ACC General Synod!
After initially declaring the motion to amend the Marriage Canon had
failed by a single vote, Primate Fred Hiltz confirmed that an audit of
the previous day's voting revealed an error - the motion had actually
attained thenecessary 2/3 majority in all three orders. While the
motion was thought failed, the bishops of Niagara, Ottawa, and Huron
announced intentions to authorize same-sex marriage regardless, the
existing Canon not specifically prohibiting them from local
action. Several other bishops announced consideration of the
same. In another gesture of LGBTQ2 pastoral care, 78% of Synod
delegates voted to reaffirm the 2004 GS recognition of the "integrity
and sanctity of same-sex relationships" and to "call the whole church
to engage fully with This Holy Estate," the theological rationale
supporting the canonical change. As the motion was actually
passed, the issue will now be discussed by Provincial Synods and
returned to General Synod 2019 for second reading.
June 1, 2016 – New Facebook groups mobilize for General Synod.
In the months leading up to the ACC’s General Synod meeting (July
7-12), supporters for same-sex church marriage have organized on social
media to coordinate efforts. Advocates for Changing Marriage Canon provides a forum for private discussion and strategizing. Equally Anglican
is a public site for sharing stories of committed same-sex love and
commitment among LGBT Anglicans and preparing a booth to help inform
Jun.13, 2015 – Scottish Anglicans pass initial vote
on same-sex church marriage. The Scottish Episcopal Church
the process of changing its canons to allow clergy to marry gay and
lesbian couples. The church’s General Synod has indicated it
wants to consider an option to remove the section in the canon that
defines marriage and to add a conscience clause to protect clergy who
oppose. If approved by two synods, same-sex church marriages
could begin in Scotland in 2017.
Feb.3, 2015 – Episcopal Church in the US releases
Report on Marriage. The national conference of American
Anglicans will consider a resolution to amend its canons to include
same-sex marriages, among other changes, when it meets this
summer. The resolution (A036) is included in the final
report of the US church’s task force on marriage which also
addresses the history of Christian marriage and a biblical and
theological framework for thinking about marriage.
Oct.1, 2014 – “All the
Sacraments for All the Baptised.” Writing on behalf of
Integrity in Canada, Chris Ambidge has submitted a letter to the ACC’s
Commission on the Marriage Canon. Chris writes: “Over the last 39
years, ‘all the sacraments for all the baptised’ has been at the heart
of Integrity’s advocacy. Integrity is therefore strongly in favour of
amending Canon XXI to allow for the marriage of same-sex
couples.” Amen! The full letter is available here:
Sep.3, 2014 – Submissions
to the Commission on the Marriage Canon. As part of the
Church’s discernment process on proposed changes, the Commission on the
Marriage Canon is posting all submissions from interested members
online. A submission was also solicited from the ACC’s
full-communion partner, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada,
which has been blessing same-sex marriages since 2011.
Nov.18, 2013 – Commission to consult on changes to Marriage Canon. The Council of General Synod has struck a commission “to carry out a broad consultation about changing the marriage canon (church law) to allow same-sex marriage,” the Anglican Journal reports. This follows General Synod’s instruction to CoGS in July to prepare a motion by 2016 to effect such a change. The AJ also reports, at length, the comments of Primate Fred Hiltz warning that the House of Bishops is “sounding a note of caution at how quickly we go down this road and perhaps we should be considering whether we do at all.” Only four months ago a large majority of bishops voted to move the discussion in exactly this direction.
Oct.30, 2013 – Integrity friend Rev. David Bewley dies. We are saddened at the passing of our long-time friend and supporter, David Bewley. David was Integrity’s first webmaster and email list host, and he served us for many years as a ‘news aggregator,’ keeping us informed of Anglican and LGBT issues around the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bev, Bonnie, their families, and the parish of St John the Evangelist, Ottawa. “May you rest this day in peace, and your dwelling place be in the paradise of God.”
Jul.6, 2013 -- Motion requested to open the Marriage Canon to same-sex couples. General Synod has approved a resolution directing its Council to prepare a motion for its meeting in 2016 that would change church rules to open Holy Matrimony to same-sex couples while also protecting the consciences of those who disagree. The Anglican Journal reported on the debate and vote: 69% of bishops, 71% of clergy, and 79% of laity supported the decision.
Nov.4, 2012 – Quebec is 10th diocese to approve same-sex blessings. The Synod of the Diocese of Quebec, one of five dioceses in the province, has voted to support Bishop Dennis Drainville’s plan “to provide both a rite of blessing and pastoral support for persons living in committed, same-gender relationships.” Similar approval was granted in Rupert’s Land and Edmonton following diocesan synods last month. Blessings of same-sex civil marriage are now permitted (in some form) in 10 Canadian dioceses – New Westminster, Montreal, Niagara, Huron, Ottawa, British Columbia, Toronto, Edmonton, Rupert's Land, and Quebec – and in the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (BC).Jul.17, 2012 – Moratorium lifted in Vancouver. Bishop Michael Ingham has lifted the partial moratorium on same-sex blessings in the Diocese of New Westminster. The decision follows a diocesan synod vote to end the 7-year old, self-imposed limitation that allowed blessings of civilly married same-sex couples in only 8 parishes. The conscience clause protecting clergy and parishes who do not support blessings remains in place.
Nov.1, 2012 Rupert’s Land also approves blessings. Bishop Don Phillips has given his concurrence to a vote of Diocesan Synod, which met in Winnipeg Oct.19-20, approving the blessing of same-sex civil marriages. Bishop's letter here and Anglican Journal story here.
Oct.15, 2012 Edmonton Synod approves civil marriage blessings for same-sex couples. The Synod of the Diocese of Edmonton has passed a motion "requesting that clergy members be allowed to ask the bishop for permission to ... bless the unions of same-sex couples." According to the Anglican Journal, previously a gay or lesbian couple could celebrate their civil marriage with a family Eucharist under guidelines developed by the House of Bishops, but the service did not formally acknowledge their marriage. Apparently clergy will be meeting soon to decide on a text for the new Edmonton rite.See the Anglican Journal story here.
May 28, 2011 - Same-sex blessings approved by Diocese of Nova Scotia and PEI. Bishop Sue Moxley is finalizing the guidelines. The diocese is the eighth in the Anglican Church of Canada to permit the blessing of same-sex civil marriage, though none allow their clergy to perform civil marriages or use the liturgy of Holy Matrimony for same-sex couples, as they do for straight couples. Same-sex blessings are now permitted –- with often significant restriction –- in the dioceses of New Westminster, Montreal, Niagara, Huron, Ottawa, British Columbia, and Toronto, and in the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior. See the Anglican Journal story here.
April 29, 2011 - Integrity Vancouver Reorganizes as Social Network. After 30 years of ministry as a separate, registered society, Integrity Vancouver is reorganizing as a social network and returning responsibility for the pastoral care of gay and lesbian Anglicans to parishes (letter here). Friends can connect and organize through Integrity Vancouver’s facebook group and website.
April 15, 2011 - State of Bishops’ Moratoria Unclear. The Canadian House of Bishops released a statement following their Apr.11-15 meetings that did not renew their earlier endorsement of moratoria on same-sex blessings. Integrity Canada has repeatedly called on the House of Bishops to lift the moratoria they proposed in 2004, intended, the bishops said, to allow General Synod opportunity to make a timely decision on the question. Following the ambiguous outcome of General Synod 2007, the House “held the line” on moratoria. A similar response was expected by some following GS2010. The status quo therefore appears to have been set by General Synod which last year refused to deny the authority of dioceses to exercise local option and recognized that many already had, in limited ways.
June 10, 2010 - Integrity Canada hosts Eucharist for GS2010. Integrity hosted a Eucharist for the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada which met in Halifax June 3-11. Members shared their Synod experiences and pictures in a blog.
June 10, 2010 - Synod stands against GLBT “persecution and marginalization”. General Synod also passed a resolution brought by its youth members calling the Church to “deplore any legislation calling for punishments for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their supporters and encourage our partners in jurisdictions with such legislation to do the same.”
June 10, 2010 - Sexuality Discernment Statement. Seen by some as a “watershed and historical moment,” the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada chose not to make a legislative decision regarding same-sex blessings and instead approved an Affirmation of Sexuality Discernment. The statement indicates that the Synod recognizes that local option is being exercised by some dioceses but offers neither its support nor disapproval. The Anglican Journal quotes Archbishop Fred Hiltz as saying, “We’re not ready as a national church to say, ‘We’re building this into our doctrine that we approve of same-sex unions.’ ... We need to have more conversation.” The response of Integrity members to the statement has been mixed.
Sep.16, 2009 - The Moratorium Weakens. Southeast Florida has joined the growing number of Anglican jurisdictions offering a blessing rite for same-sex couples. In Canada, church authorities in seven jurisdictions (Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Niagara, Huron, APCI, and New Westminster) have indicated their unwillingness to support a moratorium on same-sex blessings as requested by the Canadian House of Bishops in 2004. Primate Fred Hiltz has commented that maintaining the moratorium places significant burdens on pastoral care and personal conscience across the Church. Integrity Canada continues its call for an end to the moratorium.
Sep.1, 2009 - "I believe that we've done our work of discernment." So said Bishop Michael Bird of Niagara when asked by the Anglican Journal why he authorized the use of the Rite of Blessing of Civil Marriage by gay and lesbian couples despite the moratorium. Niagara's discernment process included several theological essays, adding to the mountain of supportive resources created by Canadian Anglicans on the subject over the past 30 years.
Aug.28, 2009 - "Ex-gay Therapy" for Evangelical Counselors. A new report from the American Psychological Association restates the consensus opinion among mental health professionals that "efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm." But in a departure from past statements, this report goes on to advise religiously conservative counselors to help their clients reconcile their religious and sexual identities. Dr. David G. Myers, who has written extensively about faith and sexual orientation, sees increasing common ground between social scientists and religious conservatives on this issue. Dr. Myers is co-author of "What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage." Integrity Canada wrote about the dangers of "ex-gay therapy" in 2006.
Oct.25 - Counting the Cost of the Moratorium. As Canadian bishops re-evaluate their self-imposed moratorium on same-sex blessings - now in its fourth year - Primate Fred Hiltz has commented that maintaining the moratorium would place significant burdens on pastoral care and personal conscience across our Church. It was already two years ago that the House of Bishops warned that "further inaction or the perception of stalling [in resolving this issue] may result in widespread disobedience in many parts of our province." Thankfully, the bishops of Ottawa and Montreal have outlined a possible way forward.
Oct.19 - And APCI makes five! Congratulations to the assembly of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (BC) on their decision to ask their bishop for permission to bless same-sex couples! Rev. Susan Hermanson reports that the approval of the motion "allows us to accept gays and lesbians fully as part of our family." APCI joins Ottawa, Montreal, Niagara, and Huron in waiting for episcopal permission to offer blessings following affirmative synod votes.
Oct.18 - Meanwhile, in Kingston … Bishop George Bruce has ruled that the Synod of the Diocese of Ontario does not have the authority to ask him to permit same-sex blessings. His decision contradicts the views of both conservative and progressive dioceses across Canada which have already voted on the issue. The 2002 report of a General Synod's taskforce stated, "when it is unclear at what level a matter should be decided, the power to decide it should rest at the diocesan level." After decades of discussion, General Synod has yet to claim jurisdiction of the issue, leaving it to dioceses to decide for themselves … or not.
Aug.3 - Integrity at the Lambeth Conference. Several members of Integrity Canada were on the 'fringe' of the historic conference of Anglican bishops from July 18 to August 3, 2008. See Canadians at Canterbury for their report.
IC team prepares for Lambeth Witness. Five members of Integrity Canada will be travelling to Canterbury, England, in late July as part of the international witness of gay and lesbian Christians to Anglican bishops gathering for the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference. To ensure our presence is unified and effective, Integrity is working with a network of about a dozen LGBT organizations, including Integrity USA & Uganda, Changing Attitude UK & Nigeria, and Courage UK. Read more about this outreach – and how Integrity friends can support it – here.
Huron approves blessing of same-sex civil marriages! Congratulations to the Diocese of Huron which voted in May 2008 in favour of blessings for civilly married same-sex couples by a generous 72%. Bishop Howe concurred with the vote saying he would consult with other Canadian bishops before acting. He joins the bishops of Ottawa, Montreal, and Niagara who are also considering how to proceed following affirmative diocesan votes. Following the Canadian General Synod’s decision in June 2007 that same-sex blessings do not conflict with core Anglican doctrine, Integrity Canada called on Canadian bishops to lift their self-imposed moratorium on blessings. Some have suggested that the bishops are waiting until after the Lambeth Conference in July to make a decision. New Westminster (Vancouver) remains the only Canadian diocese to bless gay and lesbian relationships, although no Canadian Anglican jurisdiction allows same-sex blessings equal to Holy Matrimony.
“Abomination: Homosexuality and the Ex-Gay Movement.” The Association of Lesbian and Gay Psychiatrists has released a short film documenting the corrosive effect of fundamentalist Christian rhetoric on the faith and health of homosexual people. Like 2007’s "For the Bible Tells Me So," the documentary traces the real-life impact of so-called ‘reparative therapy’ on gay youth and adults. Integrity Canada wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury on this topic in 2006.
Integrity Canada calls on Bishops to end the moratorium. “We contend that the moratorium on same-sex blessings has served its purpose, that dioceses have exercised due diligence in discerning the movement of the Spirit in their midst, and that those whose consciences allow must now be permitted to express their convictions in accordance with the core doctrine of our Church. We ask the House of Bishops to lift the moratorium on same-sex blessings.” See Integrity’s 24 October 2007 letter to the Primate here (pdf format).
Ottawa and Montreal support Same-Sex Relationships! Congratulations to Integrity friends in the dioceses of Ottawa and Montreal! Your hard work has contributed to decisions (on 13 and 19 October, respectively) in favour of blessings for civilly married same-sex couples. We now await the assent of the bishops of Ottawa, Montreal, and Niagara, whose synod voted in favour of blessings three years ago. New Westminster (Vancouver) is currently the only Canadian diocese to allow blessings for lesbian and gay couples.
SCM stands with LGBT Anglicans and Lutherans. The national board of the Student Christian Movement of Canada expressed its support for Integrity and Lutherans Concerned following the failure of both the Anglican and Evangelical Lutheran churches in Canada to approve same-sex blessings in June. "You have struggled long and hard to be recognized, affirmed and blessed as full and equal children of God. You have endured abstract and often ignorant debates centered on you as though no sexual minorities or allies were present to speak for yourselves. But of course, you have spoken! And you have been heard." Read their 29 June 2007statement of solidarity here.
InFocus: Local Option, Blessing Same-Sex
Unions, and the Bible. In advance of General Synod (June 2007),
Integrity published two InFocus summary guides to current issues facing
the Church, plus three full-length essays, all found in the Publications section:
Gay Anglicans rebuff Bishops' proposals for 'pastoral care' and more study. Members of Integrity Canada are at turns offended, disappointed, and confused by the Canadian House of Bishops' "possible pastoral responses" and its demands for prolonged dialogue and study. Integrity's 4 May 2007 media release is here.
Integrity Canada congratulates the Rt Rev. Fred Hiltz on election as Primate. "We look forward to working with Primate-elect Hiltz as together we and the whole church move into a future where, to quote the theme of this General Synod, we "draw the circle wide, draw it wider still." Full statement here ...
Church of the Holy Trinity Called to Bless Same-Sex Marriages. The Church of the Holy Trinity, in downtown Toronto, has pledged to bless same-sex unions regardless of the outcome of the resolutions now before General Synod
Holy Trinity declared this to be a matter of love, justice and ultimately conscience, at a special meeting of the congregation. “Providing an equal pastoral response to same-sex couples who present themselves for blessing or marriage as to couples of the opposite sex is a matter of conscience and integrity for the clergy and people of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto” the statement says.
“We are sincerely hoping that General Synod will recognize the sanctity and equality of same-sex relationships. But if they do not, we must do what we are called in conscience to do. It is not our intention to leave, but to stay in our Church and have our act of conscience respected”, says Jim Love, Warden at Holy Trinity. Read more here ...
Gay Anglicans call Church to action, not further delay. Since 2005 gay and lesbian couples have been fully recognised in Canadian society by their civil marriages. Some are our friends, members of our congregations, members of our families. Integrity says it is long past time for study, and the time is now to recognise the church's ministry to all Canadians, and to begin to take concrete steps. In October the bishops agreed. Read more here ...
The Archbishop of Canterbury invites a few bishops to Lambeth Conference. Although disappointed that the Archbishop of Canterbury has decided to withhold an invitation to the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Bishops from the only openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion, members of Integrity Canada are relieved the invitations come before the June meeting of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada at which resolutions about homosexuality will be discussed. Full media release here …
Let General Synod hear YOUR voice! "I will bless you, so that you will be a blessing." - Genesis 12:2
Sign the open letter to General Synod along with other Anglicans in Canada (clergy and lay) to proclaim your support for REAL inclusive of our whole persons, in the full fellowship of the Anglican Church in Canada.
"We are working together to promote wholeness in human relationships, to abolish prejudice and oppression, and to heal the rift between sexuality and spirituality in the Church. We believe that full inclusion of all the baptized into the Body of Christ is not an issue that will split the church but is an opportunity that will help grow the church. We are circulating an open letter to members of General Synod 2007, which will meet in June in Winnipeg."
Read the Living God's Blessing letter and sign it here.
The cost of Discipleship, and obedience to conscience - UPDATE. The Reverend Shawn Sanford Beck has resigned his ministry in the Diocese of Saskatoon, returning his licence to Bishop Rodney Andrews. Shawn's belief that the church’s ban on same-sex marriages and blessings "is theologically problematic and fundamentally unjust" has brought him to the place of "counting the cost" of discipleship and conscience, both literally and figuratively. This is a place many will be brought to in the next few months.
We give thanks for Shawn's ministry, for the new forms it will now take, and for his example of faithfulness, and continue to hold him in our prayers. The Anglican Journal has this story, (and this earlier one). Bishop Andrews made this statement, with reflections on where the church is heading as we journey to synod.
Whole Message Conference update. By all accounts this conference was a resounding success. Thanks and kudos to the fine people who worked so hard for this, to our friends at St John the Evangelist, Integrity Ottawa, to the speakers and leaders, and especially, to all who participated. The conference was widely covered (along with Bishop Michael Ingham's pre-conference 'keynote' address in March) in the media, including this story in the Toronto Star. Fuller details and most of the presentationsare available ( in both text and audio) at the conference site here.
Exposing the Ex-Gay myth. Essentials Canada has sent a mailing to all members of General Synod (Anglican Journal (April) in which they include a booklet from the "ex-gay" group Zacchaeus Fellowship. This little booklet continues to perpetuate many of the myths around these so called healing ministries, myths which rely on outdated, incorrect, or just-plain-not-there science, along with a very narrow theological perspective. For a more balanced view, both theologically and scientifically, here is a good place to start, along with material at the Truth Wins Out website.
Whole Message Conference! Anglicans from
across Canada are invited to Ottawa, Friday and Saturday April 13 and
14 to discuss the Anglican Church of Canada its commitment to the via
media, the traditional broad path, to be an inclusive church. Taking
inspiration from the Book of Acts in which the angel of God frees the
apostles from prison, we wish to explore ways of proclaiming "the whole
message" in a way which engages all Canadians in this 21st century.
Former Primate Michael Peers will deliver the opening address on Friday evening, April 13. Archbishop Peers' primacy was marked by his commitment to end apartheid in South Africa, and a fundamental re-orientation of the relationship between the Anglican Church and Canada's aboriginal communities. For more infomation visit www.wholemessage.ca
The Episcopal Church's Bishops bring Good News (Cost of discipleship 2). In their regular spring meeting the bishops to the south articulate with a voice rarely heard what it means to be the Body of Christ in a particular time and place. In the words of one commentator, "sometimes bishops rock." We're sure that was meant with all due respect. "We proclaim the Gospel of what God has done and is doing in Christ, of the dignity of every human being, and of justice, compassion, and peace. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female, no slave or free. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including women, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church." The full text is here.
Bishop Michael's latest encouragements from the West Coast! Michael continues to articulate the inclusive good news for our time and place. First in Ottawa as a prelude to the Whole Message Conference (see above), then to the Episcopal Church's Executive Council, as they wrestle with the place of this good news in the world wide Anglican Communion. At the Whole Message Conference, listen, or read.
The cost of discipleship! The Anglican Journal - "Rev. Shawn Sanford Beck, an Anglican priest in the diocese of Saskatoon, will lose his licence to minister after March 31 if he does not reconsider his declaration that he intends to marry gay couples, if asked, said diocesan bishop Rodney Andrews." Is Shawn leading us out of the wildnerness? Please hold this friend in your prayers, and the Bishop and people of Saskatoon. On the diocese' website is a banner calling us to "Be the Salt of the Earth".
Lutherans Concerned launches new website! Integrity's colleagues in the Lutheran Church have launched a new website to share their affirmation of God’s love for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Of particular interest is its focus on Lutheran news and resources for parishes wishing to become Reconciling in Christ. www.lutheransconcerned.ca
Open Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The impact of so-called "ex-gay" groups and "reparative therapy" programs is far from benign. The conservative Christian approach to homosexuality not only fails to produce the promised results, but it has a destructive effect on the lives of many gay people and their families and an extremely corrosive effect on their faith in Christ. Read more …
Panel of Reference reports in on New Westminster. "The Diocese of New Westminster is part of the Anglican Communion within the Anglican Church of Canada, which is due to debate both Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference and the St Michael Report at its General Synod in June 2007. The most desirable outcome . . . is for the theological dispute to be resolved and for reconciliation to be effected within the Anglican Church of Canada." Read the whole report … (pdf file)
Out of Africa: Promises Broken. (comment) It is time for the global Anglican Communion to speak up for the basic human rights of gay and lesbian persons. It is time for the Anglican Church in Canada to remind the leadership of the Church of Nigeria of its commitments. Read more …
In May the Council of General Synod met to consider the Primates' statement. Along with others we had the opportunity to make a presentation. "We of Integrity pray that you, in your deliberations this weekend, give us and our particular community just such a sign! We have heard the declarations since 1978. We have participated, locally and nationally, in good faith, in agreed processes. We pray that you . . . give us a sign that our witness and our ministry might be upheld as a valued and integral part of our Anglican family!" Read more
The Primates met in February 2005, and we
said . . . "Integrity Canada receives the primates’ communiqué
with reserved regret. While we are cautiously optimistic that at long
last an international listening process might now begin, we note that
previous requests have gone unheeded since international bishops first
promised it in 1978, largely explaining the profound frustration of
You can read the Primates' statement here (opens in new window).
About the St Michael's report. We received a letter from Canon Paul Jennings, one of the authors of the report "It is a consensus document, not the Report that any one member of the Commission would have liked to have written. . . . I hope that we can begin to put the brakes on the rumour that the Report implies that same-sex blessings should be handled as a canonical matter." Read the whole letter ...
Our first response to the Windsor Report. "We look forward to the ongoing discernment process throughout the communion that this report envisages. Gay and lesbian Anglicans have been baptised, and continue to claim our place at God's table." Read more
General Synod: Resource Material. For General Synod 2004. Read more …