How does a vision of a thick civic culture relate first to the policy of allowing for religious tax exemption, and then to the question of whether churches ought to allow their clergy to sign marriage licenses?
Whatever happens in one part of the Anglican Communion, will have an impact on the whole Communion. The preservation of the historic teaching on an important doctrine and the defiant response to it will no doubt send a confusing message to the Communion. The Canadian Church has yet to find a way of preserving that teaching in an ordered way and still extending a pastoral heart to those who struggle. Such is the reality of God’s mission in the world.
It could be argued that if we had all gone home after voting on these affirmations, much of the pain that resulted from General Synod’s other decisions could have been avoided and we may have been the better for it. But as it happened, we proceeded to the debate and vote on the marriage canon amendment, the failure of which unleashed an avalanche of protest, accusation, and ill will that in many ways will form the lasting characterization of General Synod 2019 for many of those who were present.
I would like conservative Christians reading this to better understand the larger picture from the perspective of people who have been harmed, and to consider for themselves personally and in their own churches how they may have been complicit in that harm, so that we can have more authentic and loving relationships with our neighbors.
I am set apart from most of the contributors here by the fact that I was and continue to be supportive of queer sexualities and have never tried to hide this fact. I want to explain here why I was so troubled by the General Synod of 2016 and its aftermath when I was supportive of same-sex marriage, and why it troubled me to the point that I seriously considered leaving the Anglican Church entirely. All of these problems have, most regrettably, only gotten worse, and I write this letter in deep ambivalence, pain, and desperation.
In the run up to the Anglican Church of Canada's 2019 General Synod, Covenant published a series of articles dealing with the proposed changes to the marriage canon from a conservative perspective. These articles generated considerable response. Two of our authors have penned responses to their critics.
All of us face a situation where things may not turn out the way we hope they will. And regardless of the outcome, our calling as disciples of Jesus Christ bids us to the following perspectives, demeanors, and behaviors.