Council settles wording on doctrine question

By on December 1, 2006

Mississauga, Ont.
Delegates to General Synod 2007 will face this resolution in six months: “That General Synod accept the conclusions of the Primate’s Theological Commis-sion that the blessing of same-sex unions is doctrine but is not core doctrine in the sense of being creedal.”

The phrasing of the resolution, which will be among several others that are likely to be presented to General Synod when the issue of sexuality is debated, was approved by the Council of General Synod (CoGS) at its fall meeting here.

The question of whether the blessing of same-sex unions is a matter of doctrine was raised during the debate at General Synod 2004 on a resolution that sought to allow dioceses to offer blessing ceremonies to gay couples. The resolution, which would have provided the so-called “local option,” was deferred until General Synod 2007. General Synod members subsequently asked the Primate’s Theological Commission, headed by Bishop Victoria Matthews of the diocese of Edmonton, to give its opinion on the question. The commission released its conclusion, called the St. Michael Report, in spring 2005.

CoGS deferred action until its spring meeting on what resolution ought to come after members vote on the conclusion of the St. Michael Report. They were given two options: “A resolution declaring that matters of non-core doctrine (in the sense of being non-creedal) may be addressed by resolutions of the Synod,” and “A resolution declaring that the question is sufficiently important that it needs to be addressed by a two-thirds majority in each order, over two synods.”

The Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee also recommended to CoGS the order in which the sexuality question would be considered by General Synod, which will meet in Winnipeg June 19 to 25: The St. Michael Report would be presented first, then the deferred motion, and then the Windsor Report.

Meanwhile, CoGS asked the Windsor Report Response Group to revise its report on the  Anglican Church of Canada’s response to the Windsor Report, published by the Lambeth Commission on Communion. The Commission, created to arrest schism within the Anglican Communion over the issue of sexuality, had made several recommendations on how to deal with the issue and achieve reconciliation between opposing churches. A summary of the draft report will be posted at the Anglican Church of Canada’s Web site.

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