The Anglican Church of Canada, full communion partner of the ELCIC, supported the meeting. The Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, addressed convention and presided at closing worship. General Synod staff supported online communications.
Human sexuality was one of the most highly anticipated and vigorously debated subjects at National Convention. Delegates first approved a social statement on human sexuality, the result of a four-year consultation and drafting process. The statement analyzes the current social situation, provides theological and ethical foundations, and applies insights from the first two sections to the contemporary situation.
Delegates then passed three motions related to the statement: an Affirmation Concerning the Unity of the Church; a policy statement allowing ministers to preside at or bless legal marriages, including those between same-sex couples, according to the laws of the province; and a policy paving the way for the ordination and installation of gay and lesbian pastors.
The ACoC and ELCiC have been in bed together – or, to use the euphemism currently in vogue, in full communion – since 2001. The two denominations share the same disbeliefs, their members are fleeing at a similar rate and both are impecunious to the extent that neither can afford to hold an independent synod.
On one front, the ECLiC is ahead of the ACoC: they have voted to bless same-sex marriages. At its last synod, the ACoC didn’t vote on this at all, preferring instead to issue a Sexuality Discernment Statement, a document of soporific insignificance that, with a nudge and a wink, tacitly gave dioceses the all clear to do whatever they want, while attempting to protect the national organisation from culpability in the resulting mayhem.
This permitted Fred Hiltz to stay out of trouble with Rowan Williams by claiming that he exercised gracious restraint – the only concept I know that is more meaningless than those contained in the Sexuality Discernment Statement – while giving him the luxury of applauding the ELCIC as it throws itself off the cliff of gender political correctness.
We can only hope that Fred and his ex-church follow suit before the shrieks of the ELCIC waft up when it meets its doom at the bottom.