St. Catharines, Ont. (June 1) -- The debate by the Anglican Church of Canada's General Synod over the blessing of same-sex unions began today with a plea for civility.
There were immediately a number of calls, especially from indigenous members, for the General Synod to delay any decision.
Acting Primate David Crawley asked for debate to be civil and temperate, reminding more than 300 members that their ranks include gays and lesbians -- "our brothers and sisters."
General Synod, the church's highest governing and legislative body, spent the morning in committee of the whole to allow for a wide-ranging discussion on a five-part motion dealing with the blessings.
It focused on parts three, four and five of the motion and was introduced by members of General Synod's Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee.
Dr. Walter Deller, who had studied the comments from an earlier session dealing with parts one and two of the motion, said he found them extremely repetitive and "all over the map."
However, there was a consensus that if this is a doctrinal issue; it should be dealt with at General Synod and not to "pass the buck" by giving the decision-making to dioceses. Whatever the decision, he said, some people are going to be hurt.
Canon Murray Still said the native people feel there is still a lot of healing and reconciliation to do following the abuse of children in church-run residential schools but these are being overshadowed by the same-sex issue. On this issue "we need to have conversations with our elders but our elders have not had a chance to get together to discuss it."
The debate will continue during a third session Wednesday evening when the motion is expected to come to a vote.
For more information, please contact Vianney (Sam) Carriere, director of Communications, or Brian Sarjeant or Lorie Chortyk, media relations,at the general Synod Media Room: 905-984-4868.