volume 2009-1

Issue date 2009 08 16

INTEGRATOR, the newsletter of Integrity in Canada
copyright 2009 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

== Contents ==

by Ron Chaplin

COMING HOME WITH HOPE: An Insider's Reflection on ACC-14
by Suzanne Lawson

by Colin Coward

by Ron Chaplin

by Michelle Crawford-Bewley

by Steve Schuh

by William Danaher

GETTING RESPECT IN FREDERICTON :Integrity New Brunswick at Synod
by David Watts

by David Watts

by Peter Tovell

by Colin Coward

by Steve Schuh

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by Ron Chaplin

Bishop Michael Bird of the Diocese of Niagara announced in early July that he had approved a new rite of blessing for couples who have been civilly married, regardless of the gender of the couples. For same-sex couples, clergy can seek the authorization of the Bishop, on a case-by-case basis, effective 1 September 2009.

This has been a long time coming. In November 2004, by a two-thirds majority, members of Niagara Synod voted to request the Bishop to approve such a rite for same-sex couples who had been married in accordance with civil law. At that time, then Bishop Ralph Spence withheld assent.

In November 2007, Niagara Synod voted once again. Over 80% approved a motion requesting the bishop to authorize such a rite. The text of that motion was identical to motions approved by the synods of the Dioceses of Ottawa and Montreal (and since then by synods in Huron and the Central Interior of British Columbia). And at last fall's meeting of the House of Bishops, the bishops of these three dioceses indicated their intention to follow through on these motions, on an experiential basis.

The actions taken by these dioceses ensures that the question of same-sex marriage will be discussed at next year's meeting of General Synod. At its May meeting, Council of General Synod decided not to recommend any change to the marriage canon at this time; but also recommended that dioceses which had proceeded with blessing of civil marriages be given the opportunity to speak about their experience.

The rite developed in Niagara is innovative, drawing on resources from the dioceses of New Westminster, Los Angeles, and the Church of New Zealand, among others. The committee which drafted the rite has also offered five theological reflections explaining the rationale for the diocese's actions. Both the rite and the theological reflections can be viewed at the diocesan webpage:

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The Anglican Consultative Council, which has representatives from all 38 provinces of the Communion, and representatives from all estates - bishops, clergy and laity - meets every few years. The fourteenth session met in Kingston, Jamaica in May 2009. Integrator has two reports: one from inside - by Suzanne Lawson, the lay representative from the Anglican Church of Canada; and one from outside - by the Rev Colin Coward, of Changing Attitude UK.

Coming Home with Hope: An Insider's Reflections on ACC-14

by Suzanne Lawson

The Beginning
We met in an atmosphere of tension. The previous Anglican Consultative Council meeting, ACC-13, in Nottingham, had left Canadian and American members sitting on the side as observers at the request of the Primates, and vitriol abounded. With the leftover bad taste in the mouth of all who came, we began.

While the opening service of about 8000 gave Jamaican joy a real run, the opening address by the Archbishop of Canterbury set the stage for the vital decision-making. Tension increased among the three Canadian representatives (Bishop Sue Moxley, bishop-elect Stephen Andrews, and me) and all the others gathered at the circular tables.

And then we began to study the Gospel of Mark in small groups after daily Eucharists, and meet in slightly larger Discernment Groups to talk, and more important, to listen, to each other outside the constraints of parliamentary procedure. Draft resolutions were floated; suggestions for compromise and improvement emerged from what was becoming a more and more intimate and spiritually-focussed conversation.

Interestingly enough, we did not focus on the topic of homosexuality at all. But the topic was in the corridors, and often around the edges of conversations in the Discernment Groups. My take is that we knew we were not going to "solve" our disagreements on how to respond to homosexual partnerships in the church, or even on the presence of homosexuals. That had been tried over several meetings and ended in what another called "the disaster that was Nottingham".

Instead, I would say that the focus of ACC-14 was two-fold:

I actually think that those were the correct areas on which to focus. We set about to see whether there was enough left to value in our togetherness, and whether we could even stand to be in the same room. The modeling of relationships growing across theological and cultural boundaries in our Bible Studies and in our Discernment Groups gave us hope and practice in seeing how the strength of such relationships could be shared, taken home, tried again and again. And the relationships built allowed for the capacity to consider the larger mission we might both need and want to share in.

The Big Decisions
The Anglican Communion Covenant, proposed as a method of maintaining unity in the face of strong differences, had a rocky road in the formal discussions. The first three sections of the Covenant caused little concern, but the fourth, "Our Covenanted Life Together" , with a dispute resolution process, had had less consultation (written and rewritten after objections to previous drafts, and received only three weeks earlier) and, of course, was already the one with most potential for disagreement. Several Provinces said they need some more time to consider and consult about the Section 4, and that signing on to a Covenant with this in it as it was would severely hamper their Province's capacity to eventually sign such a Covenant. At the end, in a clearly divided vote, but one that seemed to be respected, the sending out of the Covenant will await a short Communion-wide consultation time (probably less than 6 months) on Section 4, to be then combined with the rest of the document and sent to Provinces for their decisions. That document will be the official Anglican Communion Covenant, one which each Province will, over the next five or so years, be "considered, accepted and adopted" -- or not.

I personally expect little change in Section 4, but there may be some slight wording changes that would make the Section more palatable to more Provinces. A major wording change would risk losing the delicate balance across the Communion's widely diverse views. Eileen Scully of our national church's staff, a person who has been very involved in the previous Covenant Design Group, is part of a four-person committee subsequently formed to consider the input received and propose the final wording to the new Standing Committee (what we would call an Executive Committee, and now officially a combination of the Primates' Standing Committee and the ACC Standing Committee, so a vehicle bringing three Instruments of Communion together).

The Windsor Continuation Group had prepared several recommendations for the ACC to consider. These included:

These recommendations were affirmed, along with a call to the "Communion to pray for repentance, conversion and renewal; leading to deeper communion".

The moratorium section of this resolution also produced a sharply divided decision, passing by only one vote, but again, I would say, that the decision was accepted as a decision, not a saw-off.

Other Important Decisions and Actions: ACC-14

Implications for the Anglican Church of Canada
As the Canadian Province, we will soon be called upon to digest the Anglican Communion Covenant and determine if we can embrace its statement of shared belief and its dispute resolution methodology, not an insignificant piece of work, work that may take a good 3-5 years if we do it well. We are called to "gracious restraint" in holding to the moratoria on the cross-border incursions (not at the moment, something that we do, but rather what is being done to us), the election of a partnered gay or lesbian bishop, and the authorization of rites for same-sex blessings. We have the opportunity as individuals to engage in a variety of ACC networks that would bring together people of similar ministry for support and shared action (eg youth, women, environment, health, migration, international development).

We will not find answers to our specific concerns around same-sex blessings from this body, but will need to continue to follow the model of Lambeth 2008, the last Primates' Meeting, and ACC-14, of careful Christ-like listening to those with whom we disagree, and find ways of creative collaborative mission and ministry in what our own Primate, Fred Hiltz, calls "our beloved Church".

Nothing done at ACC-14 is binding on our Church, but much of it is compelling. The way forward will be a challenge, but, as partners in the Anglican Communion, we are called to listen to others, to be faithful to Christ, and to find ways of holding Christ's loving and reconciling mission at the centre of our faith. We in Canada need to make our future decisions for ourselves, discern what God is calling us to do, and also somehow be mindful of the international body to whom we belong, aware that there may be "relational consequences" to our actions if they are too different from what the Instruments of Communion believe to be aligned with the Covenant. Similarly, we will have access to the mediation processes once they are established to raise concerns about the incursions of other bishops in Canadian territory.

Implications for Integrity Members
Some early thoughts: I would suggest that we not look to the Communion for a decision welcoming homosexual persons to full engagement in the ministry of the Church, but that we focus our work and action in the Anglican Church of Canada. It is here in Canada that we have to work towards continuing incremental gains for recognition and a sense of full inclusion. I personally think there is much further work for all of us to do in the Listening do relationships get built between LBGT individuals and heterosexual people in parish churches across our country? I've come back realizing that relationship-building trumps debate every time....when people know your story and you know theirs, there is much more capacity for understanding and subsequent action than if it is a parliamentary process debate on the floor of any Synod.

I would also urge you to engage in the Anglican Communion Networks in whatever ministry appeals to you (environment, women, family, health, indigenous peoples, urban ministries, church growth and evangelism etc.), so that in the shared mission of the Communion, you become known as individuals with several agendas, not just one. Again, a focus on venues for relationship-building.

And keep on top of what is happening internationally through reading the wonderful IntegrityCanada email list (most information coming from David Bewley)...the best source I know of for truth and news on how the Communion and our own church are addressing issues we believe to be important.

Integrity members, as many of us who feel we can at this time (many cannot, I know), need to listen too, to eagerly join in the Listening Process whenever there are opportunities provided...and try to understand others, while at the same time being strong and clear voices for full inclusion, a generous and faithful reading of Scripture, and a welcoming stance. Not an easy task, but one that I think is necessary to try to do.

Bishop John Patterson, retiring Chair of the ACC, said that "the bonds of affection are back in place". The Archbishop of Canterbury said that we have demonstrated that, no matter what shape the future Communion takes, we have now demonstrated that we both want and need to do some aspects of our mission together, a sobering but perhaps most realistic reflection. My Discernment Group said "We go home with hope". We now have to keep that hope alive! And give it substance.

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Suzanne Lawson has been a member of General Synods many times.
She lives in Cobourg ON

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Anglican Consultative Council 14

by Colin Coward

I wasn't sure whether to go to ACC14, fearing the homophobic violence for which Jamaica is notorious. I needn't have worried. Those I came out to all proved to be open and friendly, but they also warned me to be very discreet on the streets.

ACC14 was good for the Communion, building on the work done at Lambeth 2008 and the Primates' meeting in Egypt. There were moments of drama for me; and the Changing Attitude blog had a big impact, breaking stories and presenting an LGBT perspective on the meeting.

In his Presidential Address the Archbishop of Canterbury asked, Who bears the deepest cost in our conflicts in the Communion? Some say Christian credibility is shattered by the sense of rejection and scape-goating which many lesbian and gay brothers and sisters experience. Others think the credibility of the church is at stake because their witness is undermined by those seeking to include LGBT people. The imperative is to deal with it in a Christian way working out how to bring the two groups together for at least some recognition to be shared.

I wrote about gay Primates, and was taken to task by David Virtue and Chris Sugden. They thought that if I claim there are gay Primates (and they can't believe there could be more than one), people would assume they are sexually active and therefore living in disobedience to church rules and teaching. They demanded that I post a correction and explanation.

Why would they imagine that all gay men are sexually active? I was left struggling to respond to their bizarre logic.

I proposed that we organise a conference where speakers from different perspectives could explore in a public forum ideas about identity and theology. Better to meet in secret under Chatham House rules [which forbid reporting who-said-what in the meeting], they said, "so that we can protect people." I asked, Who needs protecting? They said, Those who argue for reparative therapy and against the full and equal inclusion of LGBT people in the Communion.

It's so hard for conservatives to imagine that there are LGBT people at every level of Communion life. It shocks them when they become conscious of gay people in places they never expected to find us.

The most dramatic moment at ACC14 happened just after breakfast on the second Monday. Leading conservatives were grouped by the swimming pool in what looked like plotting mode. Canon Chris Sugden, Bishop Nwosu and Dr Okorie from Nigeria, Stanley Isaacs from South East Asia plus two non-ACC members - Philip Ashey and Julian Dobbs - were huddled in earnest conversation. I took a photograph and returned to the press room.

Bishop Nwosu and Dr Okorie suddenly burst into the room. The bishop demanded that I gave him my camera, seething with anger. I had no right to take his photograph without his permission, he said. He was very intimidating. I asked if he was angry because I am a gay man. Yes, he said. Finally he asked me more calmly to let him have my camera please. I responded firmly and calmly, no. You will see the consequences, he said as he gave up and left the room. The photo and story made waves on the CA blog.

I met Bishop Nwosu again in the Departure Lounge at the Airport. I told him that I would like to visit Nigeria and meet him. His response was a very positive yes. He was a very different person from the angry man who had confronted me three days earlier. Changing Attitude is willing to support a visit, especially if we can set up a safe meeting between local LGBT Anglicans and the bishop.

James Tengatenga, Bishop of Central Malawi in the Church of the Province of Central Africa, was elected as the new Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council. He voted for resolution 1.10 at Lambeth 1998 but recognises that it is internally contradictory. Bishop James acknowledges the place of gay and lesbian people in the Communion, and will be a bridge-builder between his more extreme African colleagues and western pro-gay Provinces.

Of the four people elected to the Standing Committee, two are liberal and two conservative. The Revd Ian Douglas of The Episcopal Church and Dr Tony Fitchett of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia will both argue the liberal corner strongly.

In his final sermon John Patterson commented that the Primates' meeting cannot make decisions for the Communion. Primates can offer wise guidance and theological insights, but not make binding decisions from which the rest of the Church is excluded.

Almost everyone agreed this was a good ACC meeting. It will help to strengthen bonds of affection between LGBT people across the Communion as we continue to endure resistance to our full inclusion and the restrictions on our freedom imposed by Provinces committed the moratoria.

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THE REV COLIN COWARD is a priest in the Church of England.
He is a founder of, and is now director of, Changing Attitude in the UK

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As the Episcopal Church moves,

by Ron Chaplin

The Episcopal Church of the United States has stayed the course, affirming the role of all the baptized, including its gay, lesbian and transgendered members.

At its General Convention (the equivalent of our General Synod) meeting in July in Anaheim California, three motions were passed of particular interest to Integrator readers.

Resolution D032 outlawed gender discrimination in lay employment in the Episcopal Church, affirming the role of the trangendered. Resolution 056 called on the Executive to develop a rite for the blessing of same-sex relationships, to be debated at the next meeting of General Convention in 2012.

Doubtless the most significant action was Resolution D025, which both affirmed the American church's bonds of affection with the Anglican Communion, and made clear that gay, lesbian or transgendered candidates would be considered on their merits for any ordained ministry, including the episcopate.

As if to prove this point, the dioceses of Minnesota and Los Angeles shortly thereafter released the names of candidates for election to the episcopate. Both lists included gay and lesbian candidates.

The reaction of the Archbishop of Canterbury was swift. In an open letter released on July 27, condemned this action as contrary to church teaching: "A blessing for a same-sex union cannot have the authority of the Church Catholic, or even of the Communion as a whole. And if this is the case, a person living in such a union is in the same case as a heterosexual person living in a sexual relationship outside the marriage bond; whatever the human respect and pastoral sensitivity such persons must be given, their chosen lifestyle is not one that the Church's teaching sanctions, and thus it is hard to see how they can act in the necessarily representative role that the ordained ministry, especially the episcopate, requires."

The Archbishop continued: "In other words, the question is not a simple one of human rights or human dignity. It is that a certain choice of lifestyle has certain consequences. So long as the Church Catholic, or even the Communion as a whole does not bless same-sex unions, a person living in such a union cannot without serious incongruity have a representative function in a Church whose public teaching is at odds with their lifestyle."

The Archbishop's words have serious consequences, not only for the American Church, but for the entire Communion. His words threaten the security of gay and lesbian clergy everywhere, and are at odds with the Canadian Church's policies on "Dignity, Inclusion and Fair Treatment".

The Archbishop closes his statement by musing about the possibility of a "two-tier" Communion, comprising provinces which sign on to an Anglican Covenant on one tier, and those which do not on another. To muddy the waters even further, the Archbishop suggests that it might be possible for elements within a province to approve a Covenant, even if the province as a whole does not. This must give comfort to those clergy and parishes which have recently split from the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

What is unclear in the Archbishop's musings is how all of this might affect the Church of England itself. It is not at all clear that the English Church could sign on to a Covenant, because English law prohibits it from being under foreign authority. Would the Church of England itself split into "Tier 1" and "Tier 2" provinces?

The Archbishop makes eminently clear the need for a sound theological basis for any change to traditional teachings on same-sex relationships. He writes that reform of this teaching cannot stand simply on the basis of human rights, but "would have to be based on the most painstaking biblical exegesis and on a wide acceptance of the results within the Communion."

A great deal of this work has been done in the Canadian Church, and is ongoing. Moving toward General Synod, there are opportunities to make such a case. As a start, perhaps everyone should check out the webpages of the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee of General Synod at:

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by Michelle Crawford-Bewley

Integrity and Proud Anglicans have been a presence in Toronto's Gay Pride Parade for years. In the past, Integrity has marched with signs, banners and a flying bishop, alone, with other Christians and more recently under the Proud Anglicans with other queer Anglicans and our friends. We've had trucks and floats but for the first time, this year, Proud Anglicans hung their banners from an authentic, London double decker bus.

Though it rained for most of the time we decorated the bus as soon as the music started to indicate the parade was ready to roll the rain stopped. With more Proud Anglicans marching in front of the bus with banners, signs and smiles the bus started up the hill to Bloor Street. As the bus rolled past the beginnings of the crowd on Church Street a cheer went up and beads and frozen treats came flying.

Seeing the rest of the marchers waiting to join us from above was truly inspiring. The wonderful diversity of the marchers and colours of the banners and signs reminded me of how far we've come as gays, lesbians, queers and Anglicans. Turning onto Bloor Street I was struck by the enormity of the crowd watching the parade. The cheering and music was omnipresent, it was almost impossible to hear the people beside me on the upper deck of the bus.

As we waved from the top of the bus I was struck by the response we were getting from the crowd. People waved and called greetings to us, exclaiming with delight and maybe some surprise that we were Anglicans and proud! Being down on the street is a sensory extravaganza but being above the action was a wonderful chance to see the people at the back of the sidewalk and in the second floor windows of the shops and condos on Yonge Street. It was truly primary evangelism. The marchers in the parade made contact with people at the front of the crowd and invited everyone who wanted to, to attend a welcoming Anglican church. I thought that riding on the top of the bus might have made us feel separated from the crowd and set apart from people but in reality that I felt like I made more connections with the parade spectators than I had years when I walked on the street in the parade.

By the end of the parade route my arms were tired from waving, my voice was hoarse from cheering and I felt wonderfully connected to my friends, my community and to my fellow Anglicans.

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Michelle Crawford-Bewley first marched with Integrity in the 1990 Pride Parade

More Toronto Pride 2009 photos!

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"Walk with Integrity" in Vancouver

by Steve Schuh

A record number of Anglicans marched before an estimated crowd of 600,000 in Vancouver's 2009 Pride Parade on 2 August. About 80 people from a dozen parishes - including clergy in collars and families with children - walked behind the Integrity Vancouver banner with parish and rainbow flags waving.

Many marchers carried handmade signs announcing the full inclusion of GLBT people in their home parishes. "Pride is all about visibility," said Lindsay Sutton, Integrity Vancouver vice president and one of the organizers of Integrity's Pride events.

"As a Christian I think it is our mandate to be out there as supporters of people on the margins," Lindsay added, "letting them know that there is a safe space for them, and they can come and worship God with us, and they're one of the family when they're here."

Pride Day started early for many Anglican parade goers who attended a special Pride Eucharist at Christ Church Cathedral downtown and a breakfast hosted by the Parish Council. Many of the regular Integrity marchers credited the success of this year's Anglican presence in the parade to the passionate support of the Cathedral parish and leadership.

For the first time Integrity Vancouver also used Facebook to invite Anglicans from across the diocese to join them in the parade. Pictures and videos of the Pride events are now posted on their facebook group site (search "Integrity Vancouver" from

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Steve Schuh is proud to be president of Integrity Vancouver

More Vancouver Pride 2009 photos!

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Why I March

by William Danaher

Traditionally, I am not someone who marches in parades. Even though I am an extrovert, marching in a parade for me is like dancing in public - something that I normally do only under duress.

But now I look forward to marching, and marching in the Toronto Pride Parade 2009 stands out as one of the most joyous things I have done as a new Canadian. This change of heart occurred as the result of a recent experience. In 2006, I was living and working in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It was Palm Sunday, and I preached and celebrated in a local church. Still wearing my clericals, I went to treat myself to a cup of coffee from my favorite café. As I stood on the back patio, a tall drag queen wearing an elaborate ensemble of gold and blue walked by. Intrigued, I was curious to see where she was heading and saw a large gathering of about one hundred and fifty people in the town park. I walked down and learned it was the "Strides of March," a parade raising awareness about HIV/AIDS. The crowd began to move, and one of the organizers asked me if I would be marching.

Coming from New England, I figured there would be several clergy there, and I decided that it would be a good opportunity for me to network with my more liberally minded colleagues. So I started to walk with the group. Then the news outlets covering the parade began taking my picture. More importantly, a steady stream of men and women came and shook my hand. These actions surprised me, because I decided to march almost because it seemed like the "normal" thing to do - given the rates of infection in Tennessee, which were significant, who would not support a cause like HIV/AIDS? Finally, I found myself marching in part because I was taken in by the joy of the people marching - a joy that seemed resilient and powerful, even though it was expressed in the context of HIV/AIDS and an inhospitable culture.

After the parade, it slowly dawned on me that marching in it was an unusual, if not courageous, act. Aside from the MCC minister, there were few other clergy present and no others wearing clericals. Over the course of the next few months, as I would visit and preach in churches around Tennessee, I would meet the men and women who shook my hand that day. If not closeted, within the church most of them were relatively quiet about their sexual orientation. However, in conversations they told me that the fact that I had marched was significant to them - an act of solidarity and recognition of their own status as Christians.

From this experience, I have drawn three reasons for why I march. One is that the struggle for inclusion is still far from over. It is tempting for those who live in more progressive contexts to lose sight of the political implications of pride parades. But this is certainly not the case in many other places, as I learned that day. When we march, we often do it not only for ourselves but for others, many of whom cannot express their sexuality without compromising their safety. Another reason is to make that connection again between the members of the church and the members of the gay community. In each moment of greeting both at the parade and later in the churches I visited, it became clear that the struggle for inclusion is not about "outsiders" trying to enter the church, but "insiders" who asserting their right to be recognized. This is particularly important for us to keep in mind as we continue to make our way as Anglicans. Finally, by first marching at a parade aimed at raising awareness of HIV/AIDS, I became aware of the liberation that comes to those who are willing to celebrate life in the midst of disease and death. This sense of liberation was evident not only then but at every pride celebration, no matter what presenting threat to the gay and lesbian community is identified. I march, then, because when I do so I am reminded of the power of life over death connected to the resurrection, of Christ's defeat of the power of sin and death, of the very hope that represents for me the heart and soul of the Christian life.

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The Rev Bill Danaher is the Dean of Theology at Huron University College in London ON

More Toronto Pride 2009 photos!

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Getting Respect in Fredericton:
Integrity New Brunswick at Synod

by David Watts

In the past twelve months, Integrity New Brunswick has achieved great strides toward recognition and respect in the Diocese of Fredericton. This has been the result of hard work by the chapter executive on behalf of LGBT Anglicans and supporters, and by following the guidance of the Spirit.

Integrity NB put on its public face at the synod of 2007, and not surprisingly, was met with a harsh and volatile rebuke from much of the diocese; the palpable negativity against LGBT persons in the church was very disappointing. But it was a beginning and the chapter could no longer be ignored. Still, efforts to secure an invitation from any Anglican congregation to worship in their sanctuary were unsuccessful. A diocesan study of human sexuality and the church never materialized. Integrity NB had to be more proactive if progress were to follow.

While LGBT people in the church have a very long way to go in the diocese to gain respect and recognition, progress is being made. By the synod of 2009, there was a much improved relationship between Integrity and the diocese. In the fall of 2008, an Integrity symposium on sexuality was a successful first step {{David: insert crosslink to article 2009-1-09 here}}. Also the increasing numbers in attendance at the monthly Eucharists, held in the Unitarian worship space, has not gone unnoticed.

At the latest synod, Integrity was a known commodity, one which did not pose the perceived threat of the past. An exhibit space was provided inside the main synod hall (arranged by a supporter on the organizing committee). Many more people than in 2007 visited the display, including the Primate. Simply put, the times are changing; the spirit will not be denied.

Public statements of a hateful nature are now met with discomfort from many other Anglicans ... but they are still said. An offer from a parish to worship in their church was warmly received ... but many more parishes are still antagonistic. A synod motion to recognize Integrity's ministry to LGBT Anglicans was amended to include the 'work' of the 'Zaccheus Ministries' as well. So it is clear that while forward movement has been made, the struggle continues.

In some quarters there is a sense that the need for Integrity is on the wane as the acceptance of LGBT persons in the church rises. That is not yet the case in the Diocese of Fredericton. To that end, Integrity New Brunswick has more work to do, and asks for your prayers for the strength and wisdom to carry on.

Integrity New Brunswick participated in the Toronto Pride Parade 2009!

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DAVID WATTS has been active with Integrity New Brunswick for five years,
from the days when the chapter was known as Integrity Fredericton.

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Integrity NB Symposium

by David Watts

In the fall of 2008, Integrity New Brunswick held a symposium titled Human Sexuality and the Church as the chapter's initial effort towards a diocesan study. It was called the 'first annual symposium' and plans are now underway for the next event.

About seventy persons gathered on the Fredericton campus of the University of New Brunswick to listen to a varied list of speakers. They were Bishop Claude Miller (Diocese of Fredericton), the Rev Andrew Asbil, Canon Ron Stevenson, Dr Sandra Byers and the Rev Keith Howlett.

Bishop Miller thanked Integrity NB for initiating the dialogue of the day and said he considered this conference part of the overall diocesan dialogue. He was followed by Canon Ron Stevenson, prolecutor of General Synod, and a prominent New Brunswick Anglican. In describing the history of the struggle for recognition and rights in the Canadian church, he admitted, "I was a long time coming to acceptance of same sex relationships as a church matter. When we started talking about same sex marriage I didn't think it was right to extend the term marriage to same sex couples. I changed my mind when I read the constitution of South Africa - they know more about discrimination than any place in world. It is a magnificent piece of work."

Andrew Asbil, rector of the Church of the Redeemer in Toronto, explained how we read the Bible and what is says about sexuality. He noted, "As Anglicans we must sit together and ask 'is God revealing something new today?' That is our tradition, we like to avoid it, but we can't. We must do it, whether it is life-giving or uncomfortable for us."

Dr Sandra Byers is the head of the psychology department at UNB Fredericton. She addressed sexual diversity and what it means to be a sexual minority, and challenged us that, "it is not my job to talk about the Anglican Church. It is your job is to take what I say and see how it fits in your church."

The last presenter was a parish priest from the Fredericton diocese. The Rev Keith Howlett, one of the founding members of Integrity NB spoke about sexuality and pastoral care. "So now we have Integrity and everybody thinks it is just a gay thing but it is really just people who are gay or straight and comfortable being with one another. It is an inclusive group. This is our vision for our church."

The symposium was a great success. There was a large number of participants, and it marked Integrity's debut as a voice in the diocese with something of value the rest of the church needs to hear.

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Toronto Synod Discusses Same-Sex Blessings

by Peter Tovell

Members of the Diocese of Toronto's spring 2009 Synod discussed the Bishops' Proposed Pastoral Response to Same Sex Blessings.

The response is an Episcopal action, not a motion for the synod to debate or vote on; but the bishops decided to let Synod discuss the proposal in small "Indaba" groups. Indaba is a Zulu word meaning "a one agenda meeting" or gathering for purposeful discussion. Groups of 35 to 40 synod members discussed the question, and everyone was given a chance to speak. Each indaba group was led by an animateur, and a reporter kept notes of the discussion without identifying the authors. They then reported the discussions in their group back to the bishops. It's notable that out of the twenty indaba groups, clear partisanship was allowed to hold sway in only two.

Diocesan staff assigned people to their indaba groups before Synod began. Each group was a deliberate mix of rural and urban, large and small parishes, clergy and laity, liberal, conservative and those in the middle, and only one person from each parish in any one group. I came to the indaba process first as member of Synod representing my home parish, secondly as a member of Diocesan Council, and thirdly as someone who is in a same sex marriage and had a blessing - so, needless to say, I had something to share with my group. I felt the indaba groups worked well.

Some observations from my group:

I felt that, by the end of the process, we had come together as group, respectful of each other and in some cases with a deeper understanding of each other and those who spoke honestly and openly. I can't venture to predict where the discussion goes next but from this experience, I'm encouraged that we, as a Diocese will move forward - perhaps a little faster than the bishops. Blessings will happen this year.

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Peter Tovell attends the Church of the Redeemer with his husband, Mark.
Peter is also a member of the Toronto Diocesan Council as well as a member of Synod.

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Angry Anglicans

by Colin Coward

The last four weeks have witnessed a dramatic change in the dynamic of the conflicts in the Anglican Communion. The Reflections on General Convention by the Archbishop of Canterbury and their elucidation by the Bishop of Durham have provoked a passionate reaction among Anglicans committed to truth, justice and inclusion. People are angry.

I am angry. Angry because of the language used. The Archbishop referred to 'chosen lifestyle' and Durham to 'non-celibate homosexuals', 'homosexual instincts' and 'certain habits and styles of life', language which I find provocative and offensive. Trying to be charitable, I can only assume the Archbishop's paper was drafted by a member of staff whose natural instinct is to ally with conservative elements in the communion, and the Archbishop let the phrase stand.

I'm angry because of the disgraceful dishonesty which infects the Church of England. It is almost tedious to remind the church, bishops and archbishops included, that every diocese includes LGBT parishioners and priests, something they know (or should know) perfectly well. How dare they write as if LGBT people don't exist here and are only present (problematically) in the North American Churches?

We are no longer invisible and neither are our partners. We LGBT Anglicans are present in General Synod, the House of Bishops and bishop's staff meetings. Bishops lay hands on us and give us communion, appoint us, counsel us, take advice from us, anoint, heal and forgive us. How dare they write as if we don't exist and are not fully present throughout the Church? We are a gift from God to the Church.

I'm angry because some of the conservative evangelical and anglo-catholic groups drip division/distrust into the Church all the time, or at least, their followers who post comments do. They poison the Church, infecting individual souls and the corporate body of the Church. They infect the Instruments of Communion - Primates, ACC meetings and Lambeth conferences with their own divisive views. I have witnessed the conservative lobby at work.

I am angry because some bishops in my Church, the Church of England, have bought into the lie about The Episcopal Church. They believe the lie that it has chosen to walk apart, torn the fabric of the Communion, and is alone responsible for the mess we are in. They remain committed to the Communion whereas in reality it is the conservatives who tear at the fabric.

I am angry because English bishops prevaricate and hold the party line in public whilst partying with their LGBT brothers and sisters in private. Many of them offer wonderful, generous friendship and pastoral support and then, at critical moments, fail the test - deny couples a blessing in church, offer compromised support at times of sickness and distress, turn a blind eye and allow partnered LGBT lay people to preach and lead worship but refuse to grant licences.

I'm angry at the way the church's attitude to LGBT people undermines mission and evangelism. We are mired in controversy about something which no longer troubles British society. We are unfit for purpose as the Body of Christ at a time when society sees the church as less relevant than ever. I'm tired of the church wasting time, money and energy on something that can't be resolved at present. The Church has to accept the diversity present within God's people.

I'm angry because the small but significant LGBT Anglican minority is being asked to forgo progress towards full inclusion now. There are LGBT people in every Province, for goodness sake, some being persecuted, attacked and imprisoned because of their sexuality. It isn't only LGBT people in the UK and North America who are paying the price.

We are not campaigning for schism or exclusion but for the Gospel of Jesus Christ which we live and proclaim and the God we love and worship. We have been too patient, too tolerant, too generous and understanding towards those who judge us unfairly. This month, the tipping point was reached. Our campaign for equality will become more vigorous and our defence of classic, Anglican, Christian values more assertive. Changing Attitude with our partner groups in the Rainbow Alliance are standing firm in the mainstream of Anglicanism.

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The Rev Colin Coward is a priest in the Church of England.
He is a founder of, and is now director of, Changing Attitude in the UK.
This article first appeared on the Changing Attitude blog.

Table of Contents


A Primer on Anglican Church Structure and "Local Option"

by Steve Schuh

Those looking for a concise and reasoned perspective on legal issues related to "local option" in the Canadian Anglican church will find it in statements offered earlier this summer before the BC Supreme Court.

The case in question was brought against the Diocese of New Westminster and its bishop by leaders of parishes that voted to break-away from the Anglican Church of Canada in 2008 over the diocese's support for same-sex blessings. The four parishes now want the Court to declare their ownership of parish properties. A decision in the case, which is widely anticipated to be precedent setting for Canadian courts, is expected in the fall.

The opening remarks of the defense in the case (the Diocese) came on the fifth day of oral arguments and function as a primer on the legal structure of the Church. The statement reviewed the plaintiff's argument, relevant legal principles, the structure of the Anglican Communion and the Canadian Church, issues of ecclesial jurisdiction, and a history of the events that led to the blessing of same-sex unions in New Westminster and the dispute with dissident parishes.

The full statement is available online on the diocesan website under Trial, Day 5, or check here.

End of volume 2009-1 of Integrator, the newsletter of Integrity in Canada
Copyright © 2009 Integrity/Toronto
comments please to Chris Ambidge, Editor OR
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