My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
It is early morning in Vancouver and like many of you I have not slept well, despite being spiritually and emotionally drained by yesterday’s synod meetings. I want to assure you all of my love and prayers and to tell you of my deep sadness with the defeat in the House of Bishops of the amendment to the marriage canon.
I had thought the affirmations from the Word to the Church, and the overwhelming support across the synod for these affirmations, heralded a new and gracious space for us to walk together, and to allow room for our LGTQ2+ brothers and sisters to receive the sacrament of marriage – an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace; an outward and visible sign to the world of equality and love and inclusion in the ceremonies of the church; an outward and visible sign that they were created equally and loved equally by God and by God’s church. I had thought that the morning session of synod, when we affirmed a self-determining indigenous church, showed a gracious willingness to listen to what the Spirit was saying in this time and space. I had thought that acknowledging our different views indicated we believed God was still speaking on this issue.
And, yet, I believe as a church we have let down our brothers and sisters because we would not, or could not, live with ambiguity. I believe there was room for all in the amendment. The need for healing is great, as is the need to find a way to walk forward together. We, as a Church, have a huge task ahead to show ourselves to be a place of love and belonging for all. The tears and cries of many of our people, especially youth, last night were shattering. Their hopes had been raised by our affirmations only to be crushed. Wherever you personally stand on this issue, please pray for healing and for all to feel God’s love and presence this day.
So today, let me say that I do not believe that God has finished with us on this issue. Seventy-six per cent of the entire synod voted in favour of a change – that is huge. We will be addressing this matter again during the synod. There is still room to breathe life into our affirmations in concrete and Godly ways.
Please brothers and sisters reach out to one another today; practice gracious and extravagant love. I promise to do the same. Please pray for all who are hurt and confused by the seemingly mixed message of the synod: “we love you but…”
Stand firm in the love of Christ, our Lord, and remember:
Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30)
With all my love