Members of the Council of General Synod (CoGS) pondered how the Canadian church should be represented at this month’s meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Nottingham, England. After a lengthy debate, CoGS instructed its representatives to "attend but not participate fully " in the meeting.
From practical considerations (where to sit) to strategic (who should go), Council of General Synod (CoGS) members pondered how the Anglican Church of Canada could put its best foot forward when it appears before the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Nottingham this month.
The Canadian church, along with the Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA), has been invited to a “consultation” with the ACC, as recommended by primates of the Anglican Communion, to explain their provinces’ views and actions on the thorny issue of sexuality.
CoGS asked the primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, to consult with the officers of General Synod to draft a list of presenters. It also voted that the church’s regular representatives attend the meeting but not “participate fully.” They will not speak unless spoken to on the floor and will not vote. But the parameters are not clear, admitted Archbishop Hutchison, who added that Canon Kenneth Kearon, the general secretary of the Anglican Communion, is “feeling nervous” about the “attend but not participate” position the church has taken.
The suggestions from the floor about the presentation were plenty.
Archbishop Terence Finlay (ret.) stressed the importance of setting out “how we witness to the diversity that we have and the faithfulness of that diversity.”
Canon John Steele of the diocese of British Columbia suggested that the primate be part of the presentation but Rev. Nigel Packwood of Brandon countered that opinion, saying the ACC, “is the only the venue that lay people have and it’s important for (them) to be there to represent us.”
Dorothy Davies-Flindall of Ontario said a member of the gay and lesbian community should be included, while Don Thompson of British Columbia wondered if someone expressing a more “conservative” stance on sexuality should also go.
Judy Darling of Ottawa urged that an aboriginal Anglican be included, while Archdeacon Larry Beardy of Keewatin suggested that the position of his diocese – which is opposed to same-sex blessings— be cited.