Northern dioceses weigh future

Published November 1, 2008

Diocese of Yukon’s Deacon Sara Usher, left, with Archbishop Terrence Buckle, diocesan bishop.

Yukon Archbishop Terrence Buckle urged Council of the North members to look ahead to General Synod 2010 and consider how decisions regarding the blessing of same-sex unions made during that upcoming meeting might affect the council.

“We need to be prayerful and thoughtful over the next few years,” said Archbishop Buckle during the council’s fall meeting in Edmonton, Sept. 12-14.

General Synod 2007 was a turning point for the council, a grouping of financially-assisted dioceses and areas from Canada’s North. According to council chair, Bishop David Ashdown from the diocese of Keewatin, the council’s voice needs to be heard clearly and articulately leading up to the next synod which will tackle the much-debated concerns surrounding the church’s canon (law) on marriage.

“We are a central part of the Anglican Church of Canada today,” said Bishop Ashdown. “We are all engaged in ministry and  dealing with social issues.

“Canada has realized that the First Nations people will always be a part of Canadian identity. The Council of the North represents Canadian Anglicans, who in turn reflect identity and strength,” said Bishop MacDonald, national Anglican indigenous bishop. “We can stand with integrity, pride and vision and we have a place to claim central to the Canadian church no matter what happens. We will still be here.”

In an interview with the Anglican Journal, Archbishop Buckle expressed his concern for the council’s future pending the outcome of the possible revision of the marriage canon at the next General Synod. (The 2007 meeting of General Synod requested the Council of General Synod to “consider a revision of Canon XXI (on marriage) including … theological rationale to allow marriage of all legally qualified persons and to report back to General Synod 2010.”

Clarifying that he was speaking as the archbishop of the Yukon and a member of the Council of the North, Archbishop Buckle said that there will be “a very serious problem on our hands because there are many in the Anglican Church of Canada who will not tolerate such a change. A revision of this nature will undoubtedly affect Council of the North dioceses in a very negative way and rightly so in my opinion. Many of us will not tolerate such a revision of the marriage canon.”

Kelly Fowler is editor of The Messenger, the newspaper of the dioceses of Athabasca and Edmonton


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