Archbishop Fred Hiltz will travel to England’s Lambeth Palace where he will meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on Oct. 16, his first time as primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.
“There’s a custom around new primates having that opportunity to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury,” said Archbishop Hiltz, who was elected primate (national archbishop) at the meeting of General Synod meeting last June. “It will be an opportunity for me to reflect with him on the events around General Synod.” Archbishop Hiltz will also visit the Anglican Communion office and meet with Canon Gregory Cameron, deputy secretary general of the Anglican Communion.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Hiltz said the resolutions at the upcoming synods of the dioceses of Ottawa and Montreal of motions requesting their respective bishops to grant permission for clergy to bless same-sex unions reflects “what I call the urgency on the part of some dioceses for providing full pastoral care to all their members, including gays and lesbians.”
In an interview, Archbishop Hiltz noted that the upcoming meeting of the house of bishops Oct. 25-30 would include a discussion on developments in the months since General Synod’s decisions around sexuality. (Archbishop Caleb Lawrence, diocesan bishop of Moosonee and metropolitan or senior bishop of the ecclesiastical [church] province of Ontario, said bishops and chancellors of the province will meet Oct.1 in Hamilton, Ont., also to discuss the matter.)
The triennial meeting of General Synod, the Anglican Church of Canada’s national governing body, agreed in June that same-sex blessings are “not in conflict” with core church doctrine, but declined by a slim margin to affirm the authority of dioceses to offer them.
“I know that Ottawa (synod) is meeting before the house of bishops. They will move through a synodical process and debate the resolution and there will be a result. The bishop will then consider how he will handle the result of that vote,” said Archbishop Hiltz. “We need to allow the synodical process to unfold and give the bishop the opportunity to reflect on the outcome of the resolution on this matter.” Church observers and canon law authorities have opined that General Synod’s recent decisions around sexuality were so ambiguous that they could be subject to conflicting interpretations.
The diocese of Ottawa’s motion, which will be debated at the Oct.12-13 synod, reads: “Be it resolved that this synod requests that the bishop grant permission for clergy, whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where one party is baptized; and that he authorizes an appropriate rite and guidelines for its use in supportive parishes.”The wording of the motion that will come forward at Montreal’s synod, scheduled October 19-20, is nearly identical.