INTEGRATOR, the newsletter of Integrity/Toronto
copyright 2005 Integrity/Toronto.
The hard-copy version of this newsletter carries the ISSN 0843-574X
Integrity/Toronto Box 873 Stn F Toronto ON Canada M4Y 2N9
OUT OF THE COUNCIL, UP ON THE CARPET
North American churches asked to withdraw from Anglican Consultative Council.
Steve Schuh and Chris Ambidge report
THE BISHOP OF NEW WESTMINSTER COMMENTS ON NEWRY
A REFLECTION ON THE WINDSOR REPORT
by the Rt Rev Ann Tottenham
SAME-SEX CIVIL MARRIAGE
in parliament in Ottawa, and the Ontario provincial legislature
... AND THEN THERE WERE FIVE!
a fifth Toronto parish seeks to bless same-sex unions
BROKEN PROMISES -- BROKEN CHURCH
the Rev Michael Hopkins on the Windsor Report
GIVE REST, O CHRIST, TO YOUR SERVANT WITH YOUR SAINTS
obituary for Bev Moffatt-Schaffner, by Chris Ambidge
JEAN ROUTLEDGE - A FRIEND GONE ON TO GLORY
obituary by Mayne Ellis
INTEGRITY STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW
Primates of the international Anglican Communion have called on the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church of the United States to withdraw voluntarily from the Anglican Consultative Council because the two national churches have expressed their support for committed same-sex relationships and, in the case of the US church, the consecration of a gay bishop living in a committed relationship. The primates also called on the Anglican Consultative Council to initiate a "listening and study process" and expressed support for a moratorium on blessing rites for same-sex unions.
The primates meet regularly behind closed doors, this time in Newry, Northern Ireland. While they did discuss other items of pastoral concern to the whole church, the agenda was far and away dominated by differences on how gays and lesbians are treated by churches in North America and elsewhere.
By all accounts, it was a very difficult meeting. Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, Primate of Canada, said "we were right on the edge of a break-up of the communion".
The primates used the Windsor Report, issued last October [see Integrator 2004-4-6, and articles in this issue] as the basis of their discussions. While acknowledging that ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada had acted constitutionally - no rules were broken - they nonetheless suggested that the two "voluntarily withdraw" from the Consultative Council until at least 2008, their return premised on their willingness to adhere to Lambeth 98's resolution I.10 which describes homosexual practice as "incompatible with Scripture".
The Anglican Consultative Council, which is composed of a bishop, priest and lay person from each province of the Communion, meets every three years and allows churches around the world to consult on policy issues. It is one of the four "instruments of unity" of the Anglican communion (the others being the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates Meeting, and the Lambeth Conference). It is the only one of the four whose membership includes more than bishops.
The next meeting of the Consultative Council is scheduled for this June, in Nottingham, England. Its agenda will include discussions on sexuality, and the primates have asked it to take steps to initiate the study and listening process mandated by three successive Lambeth conferences. They want the meeting to include a "hearing" for the Canadian and US churches to set out their thinking on the issues.
The primates also:
Whether the Canadian delegation to the Consultative Council is withdrawn or not is undecided at the present. That will be decided in the spring by the Council of General Synod.
Integrity Canada receives the primates' communiqué with reserved regret. While we are cautiously optimistic that at long last an international listening process might now begin, we note that previous requests have gone unheeded since bishops at Lambeth first promised it in 1978, largely explaining the profound frustration of many gay-supportive Anglicans in the world-wide church.
In fact many of the primates attending this week's meeting are themselves responsible for oppressing lesbian and gay people in their home countries, barring gay Christians from communion, even sacking and cutting off the pensions of clergy who disagree with the traditional view. The caring rhetoric of this communiqué notwithstanding, there is little evidence that many provinces in the world-wide church are capable of insuring a safe space for gay and lesbian people and their supporters to be heard. Their claims of continuing support for lesbians and gays do not ring true, given their very active opposition to pastoral moves in North America and their persecution of gays and lesbians at home.
The possibility of a safe and balanced listening process is further eroded by the primates' request that the Canadian and US churches voluntarily withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council. Even as they call on the Council to initiate a dialogue about homosexuality, the primates ask those churches most welcoming of gay and lesbian people to leave the Council. This makes no sense to us. It seems that they can only talk about us when we're not there to speak for ourselves
Chris Ambidge, Convener of Integrity Toronto, asks: "If North American churches choose to withdraw, to whom will the Council be listening in this discussion? It is vital that the Canadian and US churches remain engaged in international church structures. We have done nothing shameful, and we cannot abandon our care and concern for the world-wide church. Some people may find our presence discomforting, but without us the conclusion of any dialogue is preordained."
Integrity hopes that the Canadian delegation will continue to attend meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council. To withdraw from meetings is tantamount to saying "we made a mistake in authorising blessings", which would send entirely the wrong message to lesbian and gay people, Anglicans and otherwise, in Canada or abroad.
While acknowledging that many Anglicans in the world-wide Communion disagree with us, Integrity Canada reaffirms, unequivocally, our belief that God is leading the Canadian church to embrace its gay and lesbian members and support committed same-sex relationships. The Anglican Church of Canada formally affirmed "the integrity and sanctity of committed, adult, same-sex relationships" just last year.
Steve Schuh, president of Integrity Vancouver, explains: "In asking gay Anglicans to accept a voluntary moratorium on same-sex blessings, the primates are asking us to violate our conscience. But now that we're out of the ecclesiastical closet, we won't deny the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives again. It would be impossible for us to stop thanking God for blessing our relationships."
Excerpt from a statement made by the Rt Rev Michael Ingham
"The Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council makes no provision for member churches to be "uninvited." Nor has the Archbishop of Canterbury given any indication of an intention to provoke schism in the Communion by uninviting bishops to the Lambeth Conference. The Primates' call for the Canadian and American churches "to consider voluntary withdrawal" from the next three meetings from the ACC is carefully worded, and intended to appease the angriest voices in the Communion, but it should be firmly resisted by both churches. ACC is the one place where the provinces are fully represented and where the broadest consultations can and should occur.
"To place the Canadian and American delegations in the position of explaining to the ACC why homosexual Christians should receive equal treatment in the church is invidious and unsatisfactory. It continues the Primates' policy of ignoring homosexual persons themselves, and places North Americans in the position of speaking for Anglicans in all parts of the world, from whom they have no mandate. "
By the Rt Rev Ann Tottenham
The Windsor Report on the nature of the relationships among the different national church provinces of the worldwide Anglican Communion makes interesting reading. I commend it to your interest and attention and suggest that there are parts of the report, particularly in the sections A and B, which would lend themselves well to parish Lenten study groups.
Having said that, I also need to say that there are a number of controversial parts of the report that are likely to be the matter of much discussion in the months ahead. There is also one section that caught my attention and which is not likely to be the subject of much further discussion. It deals with an issue that is important to me and to many other clergy of our Church and diocese.
Section A deals with background material and sets the scene for the principles and recommendations which follow. One of the topics, "Recent mutual discernment within the Communion" is presented to show that the Anglican Communion has dealt successfully in the past with controversial issues. Its thesis is that existing Anglican Communion "Instruments of Unity"- the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Primates' Meeting - provide the structure for dealing with major changes in the Anglican tradition.
"The story of the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate provides us with a recent example of mutual discernment and decision-making within the Anglican Communion." (WR A.12) In fact, this section is a breath-taking re-writing of Anglican history that few women would recognize as either helpful or appropriate.
The story begins with the ordination of Florence Li Tim Oi in Hong Kong in 1944. The Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War II meant that Anglican priests were prevented from crossing to the unoccupied colony of Macao to bring the sacraments to the people there. Faced with this pastoral crisis Bishop Hall decided to ordain Tim Oi who was already serving as a deacon in Macao.
It should be noted that Bishop Hall was in no position to consult any of the "Instruments of Unity" before making this decision and, in fact, was later roundly condemned by them. After the war, despite censure and pressure from the 1948 Lambeth Conference and two successive Archbishops of Canterbury, Bishop Hall did not require Tim Oi to renounce her ordination. She surrendered her licence to practise as a priest and continued her faithful service to the church in China as far as she could through terrible years of suffering during the Cultural Revolution.
Finally, in 1971 the newly formed Anglican Consultative Council, which included lay people as well as priests and bishops, met in Kenya and voted by a narrow margin to allow the diocese of Hong Kong to ordain women. Tim Oi now in her 70's was able to resume her priestly ministry and we were honoured to have her spend her final years in Canada. In light of her lonely suffering and rejection by the Anglican Communion, the use of Tim Oi's experience as an example of the effective working of the various "Instruments of Unity" shows, to say the least, disrespect for a courageous woman.
The real lesson which Anglicans can learn from the on-going struggle over the ordination of women is not the one cited in the Windsor Report (A.21) which says that "decision-making in the Communion on serious and contentious issues has been, and can be, carried out without division, despite a measure of impairment" .The real lesson derived from the story of the ordination of women is that when unity and fellowship become the first priority for the Church the result is the endless postponement of decision-making and the inequitable treatment of those most closely involved with the issue.
Later in the Windsor Report (D.126) the statement is made that a common mind about the ordination of women bishops has been reached and that the "Instruments of Unity" have decided that the current degree of impairment is one "which the Communion could bear". The "impairment" referred to is that various national churches, including the Church of England, do not recognize either women bishops ordained elsewhere in the Communion or the priests of either gender that these women have ordained. This, to my mind, is not an acceptable level of impairment for a body which refers to itself as a "communion" whose unique source of unity is our common identity in Christ.
In fact, the ordination of women to the priesthood and to the episcopacy became possible only because individual provinces, like Canada, exercised their autonomy in the face of the various "Instruments of Unity" which exhorted them to delay, to exercise caution, to do nothing that might offend any other province in the communion.
As I reach the end of almost twenty-five years in active ordained ministry as both priest and bishop, I realize that without the actions of courageous individuals and autonomous provinces this ministry would not have been possible in my lifetime.
Bishop Ann will be leading Integrity/Toronto's 2005 retreat at St John's Convent over the Victoria Day weekend.
Same-Sex Civil Marriage is in the news lately. Bill C-38, the Civil Marriage Act, is being debated in the House of Commons at the moment. If passed, it will set into legislation the definition of marriage as being between any two (unrelated) persons, not the older one-man-one-woman understanding. This definition is the one in use in seven provinces and one territory now, after a series of court decisions. Those jurisdictions contain 85% of Canada's population. The federal legislation also recognises that any religious group may refuse to participate in same-sex marriages if it is against their religious principles.
Because solemnisation of matrimony is a provincial matter in Canada, there's more needs doing. On Thursday 24 February (the same day the Primates issued their communiqué in Newry), the Ontario legislature passed legislation recognising same-sex marriages in the province, and tidying up "spousal" language in several provincial Acts. At the same time, the Ontario legislation now embeds religious freedom to perform same sex marriages, or to refuse to be party to them.
January and February is the season of annual Parish Vestry Meetings. With those meetings came news that another Toronto parish actively wants to become a venue for same-sex blessings. The Church of St Simon-the-Apostle, on Bloor St East near Sherbourne, resoundingly passed this motion earlier this month:
We move that the Church of St. Simon-the-Apostle, at such time as the Diocese of Toronto affirms the blessing of same-sex unions, will seek immediate permission to be designated a parish that offers this ministry to the community.
St Simon's joins Holy Trinity downtown, Redeemer, St John's West Toronto and Holy Trinity Guildwood in standing ready to become a local-option parish for same-sex blessings, bringing the total to five in the city of Toronto. Even though it's Lent, we say "Alleluia".
The Rev Michael Hopkins writes in response to the 2004 Windsor Report of the Lambeth Commission
While we reaffirm heterosexuality as the scriptural norm, we recognise the need for deep and dispassionate study of the question of homosexuality, which would take seriously both the teaching of Scripture and the results of scientific and medical research. The Church, recognising the need for pastoral concern for those who are homosexual, encourages dialogue with them. (We note with satisfaction that such studies are now proceeding in some member Churches of the Anglican Communion.)
-- From Resolution 10 of the 1978 Lambeth Conference
This Conference: 1. Reaffirms the statement of the Lambeth Conference of 1978 on homosexuality, recognising the continuing need in the next decade for "deep and dispassionate study of the question of homosexuality, which would take seriously both the teaching of Scripture and the results of scientific and medical research." 2. Urges such study and reflection to take account of biological, genetic and psychological research being undertaken by other agencies, and the socio-cultural factors that lead to the different attitudes in the provinces of our Communion. 3. Calls each province to reassess, in the light of such study and because of our concern for human rights, its care for and attitude towards persons of homosexual orientation.
-- Resolution 64 of the 1988 Lambeth Conference
Anglicans worldwide-particularly those in leadership-are acutely aware of the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10 which stated, first that it
recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God's transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ;and, second that it
cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.
Six years later the Anglican Communion found itself in continued crisis surrounding this issue, primarily because in significant portions of the Communion neither request has been followed. Dialogue as described in the first portion of the resolution has not occurred on a Communion-wide level, and, in those Provinces ready to proceed, ordinations and blessings have continued (it should be noted that the 1978 Lambeth Resolution was partly a reaction to the ordination of a self-affirming lesbian by the then-Bishop of New York).
It is, of course, the continuation of blessings and ordinations that have been widely seen to have precipitated the current stage of the crisis. No one has suggested that the lack of dialogue has done so. And no one has pointed out that this dialogue was promised not in 1998, but in 1978, a promise reiterated in 1988. The Windsor Report itself mentions the 1978 and 1988 Lambeth resolutions in passing, and includes them in an appendix. There is, however, no analysis of how the near total ignoring of those resolutions outside of the United States and Canada has contributed to the crisis. Indeed, having mentioned these resolutions, the Report goes on to lay the blame on the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of New Westminster in Canada for not "consulting" the Communion. Yet it was the Communion leadership itself that promised to have the conversation for twenty-five years, a promise that remains broken. It should be no surprise to anyone that twenty years of broken promises have produced broken communion.
It would be one thing if these broken promises were broken solely by passive inaction. Unfortunately that is not the case. Having endured twenty years of passive inaction, gay and lesbian Anglicans went to the 1998 Lambeth Conference hoping for actual conversation. At first this seemed possible with the cooperation of both the chair of Section One and the chair of the subcommittee dealing with human sexuality. But this dialogue was refused by the membership of the subcommittee.
Is it any wonder that gay and lesbian people in the United States and Canada lost patience long ago with the Communion's promises of dialogue? What choice have we had other than to go about our own faithful lives in our own parts of the world? And yet the extent to which we have remained loyal members of the Communion has been astounding. Even now, when we might be seen by many rightly to lead a charge of our Provinces out of the Communion, we do not do so.
And yet we do not know how, effectively, to carry on a conversation when others refuse to listen to us. We do not know how to proceed productively. If gay and lesbian response to the Windsor Report has been relatively muted, this is why. How do you get passionate about assisting a process out of which you have been closed out? Yet the Windsor Report chides the US and Canada for not doing its theological homework. That is simply not the truth. We have bookshelves worth of work to prove otherwise. But no one has been listening and when given the chance, the very people charged with listening have refused to do so.
The first step in an honest and potentially productive process of repairing the Communion has to be the honest recognition of where the Communion itself, and, in particular, the "Instruments of Unity" have failed. There is nothing of the sort in the Windsor Report and it is a glaring omission. And this honest recognition must also include the larger admission that, yes, Communion is broken.
We, as a communion, must take the risk of such honesty. We must take the risk of declaring to the world that as an Anglican family that is broken, we are entering a period of discernment as to whether or not we can continue to live together. We want to, and we believe God wants us to, but there are obvious things in the way. And having said that we would have a powerful evangelical opportunity to show the world how mature relationship in Christ works. We can meet together (and this must take place at all levels of our existence, not solely with the "Instruments of Unity," and certainly not solely with bishops. We need a period of getting to know one another again, of talking together about the deep things of the gospel
Our Communion has been broken because we have broken promises about listening to each other. The only way to heal the brokenness is by listening, by holy conversation. It is not by strengthening authority, as the Windsor Report suggests.
obituary by Chris Ambidge
Bev Moffatt-Schaffner, long time quiet supporter of Integrity/Toronto, lost her battle with cancer recently, dying on 15 February 2005. It had been a rough journey since diagnosis in spring 2004.
Bev first came to know Integrity people in the autumn of 1992, at a series of parish education evenings Bridge Building at St Andrew's. She attended the series with several friends from her parish, St Dunstan's. Then in December, some of them came to Integrity/Toronto's Christmas-New Year party, and it was at that party she met Sam Moffatt, the woman who would become her partner for the next dozen years.
Integrator reported on the St Andrew's series in March 1993, and Bev wrote a short article on her own reactions. That was about as loud as she ever got - she was much more likely to be in the background, being quietly supportive and doing things that needed to be done. Her biblical role model was Martha, without the complaints. If you ever came to an Integrity event, be that retreat or big worship service, you've probably eaten Bev's cooking, because she and Sam usually catered them.
Her greatest support (and supporter) in the last few years was of course Sam -- while Sam was in seminary, and Convener of Integrity, Bev was there with her on the journey. Unable to get an Anglican cleric who would be allowed to bless their union, the two exchanged vows of betrothal, in a church, by themselves, in October 1993 [see Integrator 93-7-1].
Bev has daughters, and was a single mother for most of the time she was raising them. More recently, she (and Sam) became grandmothers, and this widening family meant much to them. In the past year, since Bev's diagnosis, her traditional role was reversed, and her daughters and wife supported her.
All came together this past month in St Dunstan's, where parish family, blood family and family-of-choice came to bid farewell to wife, mother, grandma, and friend. Bev Moffatt-Schaffner brought delight to many, and now sings in heaven.
Obituary by MAYNE ELLIS
A long-time friend and ally of Integrity and all lesbian and gay folks died on February 4, 2005 after some years of failing health. Jean was born November 9, 1916 to Isaac and Beth Routledge on a farm near Lawson, Saskatchewan. She showed an early talent and love for music that lasted all her life. She played the piano for local dances and was for many years her churches' organist.
An independent career woman, Jean worked first as a bookkeeper and office manager in Regina, Saskatchewan, then in Brooks, Alberta, for local municipal offices and the local hospital. Her strong commitment to community led her into local politics in Bassano, Alberta, first as the town secretary and then in 1979 as Mayor. After the death of her long-time companion, Bill Marquardt, in 1985, Jean retired and moved to Playfair Lodge in 1988.
Jean was generous with her time, her money, her wisdom, her compassion, and her love. Many people have had cause to bless Jean and thank God for her support in their time of trouble. When Jean discovered in the early 1980s that a beloved family member was homosexual, she set out on a journey of loving support and self-education. Surprised at the lack of understanding in her church, Jean's quest brought her to Integrity. She became a life member who daily prayed for us; she gently challenged those around her to rethink their positions; she befriended individual members. Kelly Montfort, a long-time Integrity/Vancouver board member, said, "The idea that we had a ally in Alberta who supported us and more - liked us - was a comfort and encouragement for many years. Her financial support in a time when it was not 'the thing to do' often made a huge difference in how we could direct our ministry."
Jean was a woman of great faith. In her youth, she joined the Anglican church and was unwaveringly loyal to her God and her church. Betty Baxter, Jean's niece, said that Jean shared her knowledge of God's love with everyone she met in her unassuming manner: "She was forever solid in her belief and in the comfort provided to her by Jesus."
In bidding goodbye, Jean's many relatives and friends also rejoice that she has gone on to be even more perfectly with her Lord and beloved Saviour. Let her example be a light to us all.
Jean's family suggests that friends who wish may donate to St Alban's Anglican Church in Brooks or the charity of their choice.
Yet more Integrity chapters are springing up across Canada - we're now into double digits. Just in the beginning months of 2005, three new chapters have begun to form -- in Kootenay, Regina and London.
Integrity chapters are listed on the Integrity Canada webpage:
Please check there for the best means of getting in touch with YOUR local Integrity presence.
Integrity Toronto was founded in 1975, and so we're 30 years old in 2005
Our 30th Anniversary will be marked with a special thanksgiving Eucharist on Monday 17 October 2005.
The Most Rev Andrew Hutchison, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, will preside.
Mark your datebooks now! More news as we get closer to the birthday celebrations
Integrity in Canada has an email list, where news is distributed and discussion happens, with a much faster turn-around than is possible for a paper newsletter. If you would like to join, please send email to: