Niagara Falls, Ont.
The Anglican Church of Canada is “committed to walking together” with the rest of the Anglican Communion, two pastoral visitors commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury have declared.
The visitors were charged with listening and observing the Nov. 2 to 6 meeting of the House of Bishops to determine the state of the Canadian church arising over the issue of human sexuality. “What aptly describes you to me is that Canadians do not leave the table,” the bishop of Harare, Chad Gandiya, told members of the House. “There’s a spirit of accommodation, of wanting to create space for all.” The retired bishop of Coventry, Colin Benetts, said the working relationship among members of the House of Bishops was impressive. However, he warned a collegial workstyle can have its drawbacks, including not delving far enough into issues when disagreement creates tension. “That is a possible danger that needs to be watched out for.”
Both visitors noted how well the Anglican and Lutheran bishops, who had conducted their meeting jointly, worked and worshipped together. “No distinctions are made,” said Bishop Benetts. “All are treated equally.”
Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said he appreciated the visitors’ observation that Canadian bishops work relationally. “I think they certainly underscored the challenges that we face and that there still is tension and that we still struggle,” he said in an interview. “But I was really pleased to have a sense from their observations and private conversations with members that we’re in this together, we’re in for the long haul, and Canada is clearly committed to the Communion.”
The pastoral visitors expressed the hope that they would be invited to visit other provinces in Africa, particularly Nigeria and Uganda, which have shunned churches in North America, especially those with more liberal views on homosexuality.