Bishop Robert Hardwick, diocese of Qu’Appelle
It was all-encompassing, it was a wonderful address, very sensitive to the issues facing our church today, not just the marriage canon proposal, but all the major challenges that are facing the world and how important it is for the church itself to make a stand and to speak for Christ and for Christ’s church in the world especially.
Archdeacon Alan T. Perry, diocese of Edmonton
What I really appreciated about the primate’s address was the number of things he spoke about with passion-about what the church is doing so well, that it’s truly doing its best to make a difference. He talked about the fires in Saskatchewan, in Alberta. He talked about engagement in homelessness and poverty-which is happening in my own diocese-and welcoming those whose lives were uprooted in Fort McMurray. So I appreciated that, along with a number of other issues, including human trafficking…
He invited us to look beyond the details of our own governance and who we think we are and to become who we’re called to be, which is to be the presence of God in the world…He was honest that we don’t agree on everything and there are things that are challenging within the Anglican Church of Canada and the Anglican Communion, but I think he also invited us into conversations in a graceful way.
Asher Worley, youth delegate, diocese of Caledonia
For me, basically, he clearly had an agenda, and in my view, the chairperson-the chairman of a meeting like this-simply needs to be more neutral, so I felt that he was being inappropriate in that way. He had his opinion, and it wasn’t veiled. I guess that it wasn’t veiled is a good thing, but that he had an opinion in the first place, and that he expressed it, was, I believe, inappropriate.
What he said was not unexpected, but it wasn’t-let’s put it this way: I don’t agree. I’m trying to think of a way to put this so that I’m not being rude or discourteous. I was looking for a more neutral, this is what we’re doing, but we have to still be in God’s Word, and we have to be searching the Scriptures, because as a church, our main objective is to preach God’s Word-so it was just not what I was looking for in my primate.
Archbishop John Privett, Bishop, Diocese of Kootenay
I think that it was one of his finest addresses. He named our angst, but also our yearnings, and for me, that was the high point. He delivered it exceptionally well. It was the content, but it was also how he gave it.
The Rev. Barbara Shoomski, Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples
I liked that he included all groups in what he had to say-he tried to make us realize that we are really one, that we’re not the separate groups we sometimes believe we are, and we should try to harness that and try to work together.
Bishop Peter Mason (ret.), former bishop of the diocese of Ontario; interim principal of Wycliffe College
I think the primate has been around the Anglican church long enough to have acquired the real breadth of the history of the church. He’s a student, it seems to me-in an informal sense-of Anglican history, and that was demonstrated today.
The other thing about the primate is that he’s deeply passionate, and his passion comes through, particularly around issues of human rights, the dignity of people.
He does his very best, I think, to see and to articulate complex issues from more than one perspective, and I certainly admire and respect him for that.
I thought it was a fine address, and I think it was an attempt to set a tone for synod which would allow people to be free to express their own thoughts and convictions, and yet to do that in an atmosphere of mutual respect and acceptance. He didn’t shy away from the issue of same-gender relationships, and that’s inevitably a complex and difficult issue for the synod, and it has been for the last 20 years. Whether this is the end, or the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end, I’m not sure, but it will certainly change the future of our church in a variety of ways, some positively and some not so positively.
-With files from Marites N. Sison
Editor’s Note: An earlier version incorrectly identified Bishop Robert Hardwick as diocesan bishop of Saskatchewan. He is the bishop of Qu’Appelle.