Fred Hiltz aims for “good disagreement” on same-sex marriage

Does anyone remember Rowan Williams’ attempt to solve the same-sex marriage mess in the Anglican Communion using The Covenant? It was still alive and kicking – well, twitching at least – as little as five years ago, yet now it’s deader than the dandruff falling from Rowan’s eyebrows.

Justin Welby ignored The Covenant and, instead, imposed “consequences” on provinces that defied the ban on same-sex marriages. No one, least of all Welby, took them seriously.

Having now jettisoned both The Covenant and Consequences, Welby has settled on the idea of “good disagreement”, an ecclesiastical version of the cold war with ersatz pieties injected into it for appearances’ sake.

Fred Hiltz has jumped on the good disagreement bandwagon and is applying it to the Anglican Church of Canada. Sorry, he is embracing it.

The question is, if same-sex marriage were to remain forbidden in the ACoC, would anyone be proposing good disagreement as the solution for calming bruised liberals? Of course not: the battle would continue and all we would hear about would be prophetic voices, inclusion, justice and equality, laced with frequent references to a rubber stamping holy spirit.   Good disagreement is just another smoke screen designed to cloud the judgement of conservatives in order to keep them in the fold, so as to continue to collect their offerings.

From here:

My own read is that many in our church are coming to accept and declare that we will never agree on this matter. There will always be those who favour same-sex marriage and those who oppose it, each from the ground of their own wrestling with the Scriptures and the long-held teaching of
the church on the nature of marriage. The challenge is, how do we live with such deep-seated differences of conviction?

At the heart of this challenge are two things—the acknowledging of our fears and the embracing of good disagreement.

Of the fear, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby addressed his own church at a General Synod in 2014, saying, “There is great fear among some, here and round the world, that that will lead to the betrayal of our traditions, to the denial of the authority of Scripture, to apostasy, not to use too strong a word. And there is also a great fear that our decisions will lead us to the rejection of LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] people, to irrelevance in a changing society, to behaviour that may seem akin to racism. Both those fears are alive and well in this room today.”

Of the nature of good disagreement, 
the dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, David Ison, wrote in 2015: “There is no expectation of achieving any consensus—in either direction—in the foreseeable future. But there is a task to be done of encouraging those within the church who are at odds on this issue to express their concerns in a safe environment, listen carefully to those with whom they disagree profoundly, find something of Christ in each other and consider together what the practical consequence of disagreement might be. From New Testament times the church of Christ has had to face disagreement. Fashioning our life as a church includes finding ways to ‘disagree Christianly’.”

I believe that in our church there is both a commitment and a capacity to do just that—to disagree in a manner that does not demean one another, but honours our calling in Christ. In good disagreement, no one is made to feel their position is of no value. No one feels belittled, walked over or pushed out. In good disagreement, there is, in truth, a continuing place for everyone in our church.

Comparing Anglican reaction to Barcelona vs Charlottesville

Fred Hiltz’s response to what happened in Barcelona and Charlottesville is reasonably representative of the reaction of other Western Anglican leaders.

For Barcelona he concentrates mostly on praying, in particular for our enemies:

So long as we pray for them, let us be bold in praying for those who with such malicious intent inflict such horrific suffering on others. Let us pray that they be turned from their malice, their hearts be moved and their plans thwarted.

He goes on to denounce terrorism without being at all specific about the particular brand of terrorism – they could have been marauding Mennonites, after all.

With people of all faith traditions who condemn the terrorism that stalks our world, we gather in our churches, mosques, synagogues and temples, in our homes and in our public squares, turning with one voice and one heart to God.

When it comes to Charlottesville, things are quite different. No prayers are offered for those being violent, nor does Hiltz shrink from identifying them as white supremacists; instead, he denounces them – quite rightly – and demands secular leaders denounce them.

Could the fact that Hiltz fails to denounced Islamic Jihadists and their sympathisers along with calling for imams to do the same mean that he and his fellow clergy are shamelessly biased? Does Hiltz think white supremacists are not worth praying for because they are beyond redemption? It is tempting to think so.

In the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, many governors, senators and mayors across the United States have called on the President to be unequivocally clear in denouncing the principles and activities of white supremacy. Many world leaders have also called him to exercise strong leadership in this regard.

Fred Hiltz invites prayer for the USA

Actually, as is so often the case, Hiltz offers his political opinions to God – who must have been waiting to hear them with bated breath – and us in this statement, thinly disguised as an invitation to prayer:

Next week, the eyes and ears of all Americans and indeed many other people around the world will be turned toward Capitol Hill in Washington as Donald Trump takes the Oath of Office as the 45th President of the United States.

Many of course will be rejoicing in his inauguration and eagerly anticipating his administration.  Many others are anxious.  Given some of the rhetoric in his campaign for election, they are wondering how tolerant he will be of the multi-racial, -cultural and -religious textures with which the fabric of the United States of America is woven.

In the face of an ever-growing gulf between Americans who are rich and Americans who are poor, there is considerable angst as to how the Trump administration will address this concern.  Many eagerly await initiatives that will be in the form of laying firm foundations ensuring equality of access to health care, education, and employment opportunities for all Americans.

Mexicans wonder about the nature of future relationships with the United States and so too do many Canadians.  World leaders will be watching to see how he takes his place in the gatherings where they take counsel together for peace and security of the world, and for the care of the earth itself.

It’s instructive to compare the scolding tone of the above with the gushing sycophancy on display in this letter to Justin Trudeau after he was elected Prime Minister:

On behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), we extend our heartfelt congratulations to you as our new Prime Minister.

You have set a bold vision for our country. The times in which we live call for visionary leadership in Canada and in the world so that we may build a truly just, healthy and peaceful world.

We welcome your approach to governance and your commitment to work closely with all levels of government on issues such as homelessness, lifting children and seniors out of poverty, improving our welcome of refugees, and refocusing development assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable. Anglicans and Lutherans from coast to coast to coast share a deep concern and profound hope for justice, peace and the well-being of creation. Your invitation to Provincial Premiers and to representatives of other political parties to participate in the Climate Change Conference in Paris is an important sign of the kind of partnership needed to address critical issues.

We support your commitment to implementing the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. We share the goal to build and strengthen relationships across Canada—with Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians—grounded in right relationships, compassion and justice.

We assure you that week by week, members of our churches are praying for you, for all Members of Parliament, and for the Government of Canada. May your service to this country be a blessing to many, and may God guide us in the better future we intend to foster together.

Yours in Christ,

The Most Rev. Fred J. Hiltz

Primate Fred Hiltz to preach at Queer Eucharist

Every month the Diocese of Toronto’s St. John’s West Anglican Church holds something it calls a Queer Eucharist where everyone, we are assured, will be welcome, although not necessarily comfortable.

September’s festivities will include Fred Hiltz explaining what happened during the same-sex marriage vote at general synod, including, apparently, “the call to holy manners” or how to dismember a church, desecrate the faith once delivered and pollute the Eucharist with concentrated folly distilled from the zeitgeist – politely.

This has been self-evident for so long it is scarcely worth pointing out. Nevertheless, here it is: the leader of the Anglican Church of Canada has thrown himself heart mind and soul into the ecclesiastical crusade to sanctify homosexual sex. He has no intention of turning back, repenting – a derisory notion no matter how fondly cherished by naïve conservatives – or relenting in leading the church’s ruinous mission to enshrine sexual anarchy in the catalogue of its canons.

There will be no turning back; the days of the Anglican Church of Canada being a Christian church are over.

HiltzQE

Fred Hiltz is tired of talking about sex

Hard to believe, I know.

From here:

“I long for a time in our church when there is as much attention and conviction and passion and voice and action from the rooftops about sexual exploitation, about gender-based violence, human trafficking for the sex trade, missing and murdered Indigenous women, pornography, religiously-based violence around the world, our violence against creation itself, and the greed and the reckless consumption that drives it,” said Archbishop Fred Hiltz.

The irony in all this is that Hiltz wants to direct the passions of the Anglican Church of Canada towards things over which it has absolutely no influence or control and in which it has no expertise, while at the same time being unable to come to a decision on whether to change its own marriage canon – something that has been a church speciality for 2000 years.

A fitting parable of ecclesiastical impotence.

Fred Hiltz personally agrees with same-sex marriage

The following article is a summary of what transpired during a question and answer session following the recent Queer Eucharist that Hiltz presided at.

The whole thing is worth a read because it illustrates well the morally chaotic universe the Anglican Church of Canada inhabits. A universe where a Primate’s personal view of same-sex marriage is at odds with the religion he is supposed to represent, where telling someone homosexual activity is wrong amounts to abuse, where the main purpose of the church appears to be not only to affirm whatever its members do no matter what but to provide them a safe space in which to do it.

From the attendees at the session, it is once again apparent that ACoC clergy promote gay marriage so strenuously because so many of them are, themselves, married to a person of the same sex.

I do see a bright future ahead for the Anglican Church of Canada, though: not so much as a church but as a gay dating agency for unattached clergy.

“All of us belong to God,” said Canon Douglas Graydon to Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, at a gathering held to discuss same-sex marriage in the Canadian church. “The question is whether we belong to the church.”

It was a question many LGBTQ Anglicans brought forward in a question and answer session that took place after a talk Hiltz gave following the “queer Eucharist” service hosted monthly at the Anglican Church of St. John’s West Toronto.

Passions ran high in the hour-long conversation, moderated by Graydon, an associate priest at St. John’s who is in a same-sex marriage. The event saw about 150 people—including several LGBTQ clergy from the diocese of Toronto—come forward to share stories of pain and discrimination, and to call on the church to honour their struggle and their equality.

“What I want from our bishops, and from our primate, is the kind of language that restores hope, that will allow a 17-year-old thinking that suicide is maybe better, to say, ‘No—no, there is hope,’” said the Rev. Alison Kemper (deacon), a professor at Ryerson University. “We are who we are, and if the Anglican church chooses to deny us, we will get married, and we will have careers and we will have churches. What you need to do is claim your authenticity as our leader.”

Her thoughts were seconded by her wife, the Rev. Joyce Barnett, incumbent at St. Matthias, Bellwoods, who stressed the importance of publicly calling out homophobia and exclusion.

[….]

The most pointed question, however, came at the end of the evening, when a young woman named Jessica Davis-Sydor asked Hiltz about his personal views on the issue.

“I never actually heard you come out and say that you supported, that you support what is going on, that you are fighting to try and get same-sex marriage in the church,” she said. “Do you fully support it, deep down, what is happening?”

Hiltz responded by saying that while he personally supports same-sex marriage in the Anglican church, his position as president of General Synod places limitations on what he can or cannot say as a representative of the Canadian church.

 

Fred Hiltz meets with “LGBTQ community”

From here:

Yesterday, Archbishop Fred Hiltz met with more than 120 members and friends of the LGBTQ community in Toronto at celebration of the Holy Eucharist at St. John’s, West in Toronto.
[….]
Yesterday’s pastoral gathering was an opportunity for the Primate to be in dialogue with a local LGBTQ community about their lives and experiences within the Church and about the resolution that will go before the General Synod in July. Archbishop Hiltz remains deeply committed to hearing the diversity of perspectives in our church about this matter as reflected in his ongoing conversations with the Bishops of our Church, Canadian participants at the Anglican Consultative Council, Canadian and African bishops in dialogue, from theological students and faculty, and from members of the Council of the General Synod among others.

“I left the gathering more convinced than ever the need for the Church to take opportunity to hear first-hand the experiences and longings of LGBTQ persons,” Hiltz said. “So often we speak about instead of with the LGBTQ community. We all need to be creating these kinds of opportunities to have pastoral conversations.”

The group of people that Hiltz has no interest whatsoever in speaking to are Anglicans who experience same-sex attractions yet resist the temptation to act upon them. North American Anglicanism is, after all, predominantly interested in justifying acting on one’s urges not in denying them – other than giving up carbon lust during Lent, of course.

Fred Hiltz on the Primates’ gathering

Fred Hiltz tells us what he thinks about the 2016 Primates’ gathering, here.

It seems that Hiltz has taken some heat for not standing “in solidarity with The Episcopal Church. Hiltz assures us that he feels empathy for Michael Curry but not quite enough empathy to accept the “consequences for our own Church”

To make up for this lack of spine, Hiltz apologises profusely to the ACoC homosexual contingent. Over and over.

In case anyone is labouring under the misapprehension that the issue at stake is one of Biblical truth or the definition and meaning of marriage, Hiltz sets us straight: it’s really all about “the very diverse political, cultural, social and missional contexts in which we live”. Or, to put it more plainly: “We are enlightened, they are not.”

The rest of the missive – which is not copied below – is about the usual temporal matters that are so dear to the heart of the Primate of Canada’s Christianity-Lite Anglicans: global warming, and so on.

Throughout the meeting of the Primates last week, I thought much about St. Paul’s teaching about the Church being the Body of Christ in the world.  It is the image at the very heart of Anglican ecclesiology.  It informs the manner of our relationships in the Church local, national and global.  In 165 countries we are 85 million people proclaiming the Gospel of Christ in more than 1000 languages.  We are a family of autonomous Churches that understand ourselves to be “Formed by Scripture, Shaped by Worship, Ordered for Communion, and Directed by God’s Mission”.  We are bound together by the long held principle of “Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence in the Body of Christ” articulated at the great Anglican Congress of 1963 in Toronto.

While for the most part this principle inspires our common work and witness, there are times when our capacity to abide by it is deeply challenging given the very diverse political, cultural, social and missional contexts in which we live. While being ordered for communion, we recognize that in the face of deep difference of theological conviction over certain matters of faith and doctrine the bonds of affection between us can be strained, sometimes sadly so, to the point of people speaking of a state of impaired communion.

This meeting of the Primates was particularly challenging with respect to the tending of our relationships in light of the developments in The Episcopal Church regarding the change in its Canon on Marriage making provision for the blessing of same sex marriages.  I, of course, was deeply mindful of a call from General Synod 2013 for the enacting of a similar change in our own Canon, the first reading of which is scheduled for our General Synod this summer.

Since returning home, I am especially mindful of the pain the LGBTQ community within our Church is feeling.  I am very sorry.  I acknowledge their frustration and that of their supporters in being made to feel like the sacrificial offering on the altar of the Church’s unity.  I recognize that many are angry and deeply disillusioned with the very Church in which they endeavour to live out their lives as disciples of Jesus.  I know that for some it is in fact very difficult to remain within its fellowship, and that it will take a great resolve of will and courage to do so.

I apologize for the manner in which the Church has often regarded the LGBTQ community and condemned their lives with very harsh language. I call on our Church to re-affirm its commitment to rejecting anywhere in the world criminal sanctions against lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer or questioning people. I call on our Church to renew its resolve in listening to the voices and the stories of its LGBTQ members as we wrestle through conversations regarding the pastoral care we are called to provide for all people. I ask the prayers of the whole Church for the LGBTQ people in the midst of the hurt they are bearing and the hope to which they cling for the recognition and sacramental blessing of their relationships.

I am aware of sharp criticism over what some regard to have been a failure on my part to stand in solidarity with The Episcopal Church in openly rejecting the relational consequences it bears as a result of The Primates’ Meeting, or in accepting similar consequences for our own Church.  Allow me to comment on each of these matters.

First, in relation to The Episcopal Church, I empathize with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry as he faces a firestorm of reaction in the United States. I recognize a need for a space of time in which that Church will respond through its National Executive Council. Notwithstanding the call of a majority of the Primates for the “consequences” named in the Communiqué, I recognize that there could well be a response from the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council.  I know The Episcopal Church to be very committed to the work and witness of the Communion as a whole, and I recognize the frustration they will feel in not serving in a representative way on our Ecumenical Dialogues for example. I recognize that if The Episcopal Church is not allowed to vote on a matter of doctrine or polity that the life of the Communion is diminished. I am grateful however, that they will still have a voice in the discussions of such matters.

I have covenanted with Bishop Curry to uphold him and The Episcopal Church in my prayers, and I would ask the same of our whole Church. I was deeply impressed by the grace with which he spoke at The Primates’ Meeting. While declaring in no uncertain terms the pain he was feeling for the Church he leads, he was absolutely convinced that in good faith the General Convention acted.  He recognized the strain that places on relationships throughout the Communion, and he declared his unwavering commitment – in spite of the said consequences – to walk together in the hope of “healing a legacy of hurt, rebuilding mutual trust, and restoring relationships”. He was a stellar example of leadership under pressure, of courage with grace.

Secondly in relation to our own Church. For me to have entertained any thought of accepting consequences for our own Church would have been an overstepping of my authority. To do so would have been a betrayal of my office as President of The General Synod. I was not and am not prepared to take any action that would pre-empt the outcome of our deliberations at General Synod in July. As the report “This Holy Estate” declares, “It is for the General Synod to decide the matter” in accord with the jurisdiction given it regarding “the definition of doctrine in harmony with the Solemn Declaration”. (The Declaration of Principles, 6. Jurisdiction of The General Synod [j]). I believe in the synodical process and by the ministry entrusted to me, I am obliged to uphold it.

In this entire matter our Church has faithfully honoured the call within the Resolution (C003) of General Synod 2013 for broad consultation across our Church, throughout the Communion and with our ecumenical partners.  Alongside all the counsel received and noted in “This Holy Estate”, including that of the Inter Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) one could indeed regard the outcome of The Primates’ Meeting as another piece of information.

I ask your prayers for the members of the Council of General Synod in the task mandated to them to bring forward a resolution to the General Synod to affect a change in the Marriage Canon. I ask your prayers for the General Synod Planning Committee in the care they will take in designing a process for our consideration of this matter. I ask your prayers for all the members of General Synod that they will enter into their work well prepared and with a commitment to speak and listen respectfully and in openness to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

While the meeting of the Primates was particularly challenging with respect to relationships throughout the Communion, there was about midway through a declared unanimous continue walking together and not apart. This meeting could have been marked by calls for exclusion of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and me. It was not. It could have been marked by walk-outs as some had anticipated. It was not. It could have been marked by ranting and raving.  It was not. Instead it was marked by perseverance to remain in dialogue that was frank but respectful. It was marked by a generosity of grace and patience, with one another. It was marked too, by renewed commitments in the consideration of matters of doctrine that could be of a controversial nature, to consult broadly in the seeking of advice and counsel.

We were reminded once again of the principle named by the Windsor Continuation Group that “when the Primates speak collectively, or in a united or unanimous manner, their advice – while it is no more than advice – nevertheless needs to be received with a readiness to undertake reflection and accommodation”. While there have been calls through the years for “an enhanced authority” on the part of The Primates’ Meeting, there has been – and rightly so – a resistance to the meeting becoming a Curia for the Communion. We recognize that we are but one of The Instruments of Communion which is the only body with a Constitution outlining its objects and powers, all of which are focussed in one way or another on our relationships in the service of God’s mission in the world.

Fred Hiltz asks for prayer and hopes for openness at the Primates’ gathering

The gathering of Anglican Primates in Canterbury is due to begin on Monday. While the GAFCON primates have been clear that they expect TEC and the ACoC to repent of their blessing and marrying of same-sex couples, Canada’s Primate, Fred Hiltz, sees a need for “mutual openness” and a

need to confess any and all ‘uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbours and for our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us,’” quoting from the Book of Alternative Services’ Litany of Penitence for Ash Wednesday.

We can only hope Hiltz takes his own advice since ACNA’s Foley Beach will be present, as will ANiC’s Moderator, Charlie Masters; the first day could easily be filled with nothing but Hiltz confessing uncharitable thoughts.

Let us, as Hiltz suggests, pray: that attempts to bamboozle or divide the GAFCON Primates would be thwarted; that truth will take precedence over phony unity; that loyalty to Jesus will be set above loyalty to an institution; that something will finally be settled, even if it’s merely a formal recognition that we now have two denominations with two gospels, worshipping two different gods.