What a roller coaster we have been on. I know people have asked for a comment after the Bishops’ Statement Monday.
First of all, I want to affirm the incredible work done in the area of interfaith relations, particularly with Muslims and Jewish relations. This is wonderful and I know that people will live more fully into these relationships in the Diocese of Edmonton.
On the subject of our relationships with our LGBTQ2S+ brothers and sisters, we hurt one another and not just on the topic of marriage, but in terms of our love and acceptance of one another as beautifully and wonderfully made in the image of God.
Personally, I can say I am so truly sorry for the pain and hurt we have inflicted as a House of Bishops. As a house, we will have to work hard to earn the respect and trust of the church. We need to listen more fully to the church.
I am sure for many it does not help to hear an apology that may have come late and sounds hollow.
I am sure that for some in our diocese it has not helped for me to publicly state that I was in favour of a change in the marriage canon. If it is hurtful for you to know I am an advocate of inclusion in all sacraments for all the children of God regardless of sexuality, I am sorry to hurt you. However, please know there is no coercion for anyone to act or speak against their conscience and faith. I simply ask you to stay at the table with us.
However, the affirmations we have made, as both a General Synod and a House of Bishops, make it clear that there are indeed two equally respected and held views on marriage in the Anglican Church of Canada.
In the diocese, this gives us the ability to celebrate all marriages and provides a safe space for all people. I enclose the text of the Bishops’ statement below:
We, members of the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, see the pain and anguish inflicted on LGBTQ2S+ people, on members of the General Synod, across the Church, and in the world, as a result of the work and the vote on the matter of Canon 21, concerning marriage. We see your tears, we hear your cries, and we weep with you. We have caused deep hurt. We are profoundly sorry.
Although the bishops are not of one mind, we look with hope to the “Word to the Church” and its affirmations which General Synod 2019 overwhelmingly approved on Friday, July 12.
We are walking together in a way which leaves room for individual dioceses and jurisdictions of our church to proceed with same-sex marriage according to their contexts and convictions, sometimes described as “local option.”
Together, we affirm the inherent right of Indigenous peoples and communities to spiritual self-determination in their discernment and decisions in all matters.
Although we as bishops are not able to agree, in the name of Jesus Christ, we commit to conduct ourselves “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3).
In the meantime, I bring to you, once again, the words of Rachel Held Evans:
This is what God's kingdom is like: a bunch of outcasts and oddballs gathered at a table, not because they are rich or worthy or good, but because they are hungry, because they said yes. And there's always room for more.