Canadians Heartened by Visit to Brazil

Bishop Linda Nicholls | Anglican Church of Canada |

Matt Gardner reports for the Anglican Church of Canada:

Representatives of the Anglican Church of Canada deepened ties with their Brazilian counterparts this month as international guests at the 34th General Synod of the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil (IEAB), or the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil.

Bishop Linda Nicholls of the Diocese of Huron and Global Relations Director Andrea Mann travelled to Brasilia to attend the Brazilian church’s latest General Synod, which took place from May 31-June 3. Due to scheduling conflicts as a result of his presence at the Council of General Synod, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, selected Bishop Nicholls to attend as the Primate’s designate.

… Aside from the election of a new Primate, Bishop Naudal Alves Gomes, one of the most significant developments at the Brazilian General Synod was the passing of a resolution permitting same-sex marriages in the church.

The resolution has obvious parallels to the debate facing the Anglican Church of Canada as it heads into General Synod 2019 in Vancouver, where members will vote on the second reading of a similar amendment to their own marriage canon.

Bishop Nicholls noted that Brazilian Anglicans have gained an identity among the wider churches of Brazil as “a church that has claimed very strongly the principle of inclusivity and justice. … There were a number of LGBTQ people, both lay and clergy, that are part of the church, and that intense commitment to inclusivity was a strong factor in this―but not exclusively, because there certainly were rural dioceses that expressed concern over this.”

In the end, the resolution to permit same-sex marriage passed overwhelmingly, with 57 voting in favour and three against.

Despite the disparity in votes, Bishop Nicholls described a relationship among those in attendance based on a clear sense of mutual respect.

“It was a very strong vote, and I think the reason was that the people who were opposed felt that there had been space created for them by allowing it to be at the discretion of the bishop, which gave them a place where if their bishop was not in favour, they didn’t feel they would be forced into anything,” Bishop Nicholls said.

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