Canadian primate offers initial thoughts about Canterbury meeting

Posted Jan 15, 2016

[Anglican Church of Canada] Anglican Church of Canada Archbishop Fred Hiltz, one of the 38 primates who gathered Jan. 11-15 in Canterbury, England, has released the following statement about the Primates Meeting.

An Initial Statement from the Primate concerning the Primates Meeting in Canterbury

Having met this week in Canterbury, England, the Primates of the Anglican Communion committed–even in the face of deep differences of theological conviction concerning same sex marriage–to walk together and not apart. Our conversations reflected the truth that, while the Anglican Communion is a family of autonomous churches in communion with the see of Canterbury, we live by the long-held principle of ‘mutual responsibility and inter dependence in the Body of Christ’. While our relationships are most often characterized by mutual support and encouragement, there are times when we experience stress and strain and we know our need for the grace of God to be patient with each other. Such was the experience of the primates this week.

We struggled with the fragility of our relations in response to the actions taken by the General Convention of The Episcopal Church in changing its canon on marriage, making provision for the blessing of same sex marriages. We talked, prayed and wrestled with the consequences considered by the meeting. Some of us wept.

Through this whole conversation I was deeply mindful that our church will deal with the first reading of a proposed change of a similar kind in our canon on marriage at General Synod in July 2016. There is no doubt in my mind that the action of the Primates’ meeting will weigh into our deliberations. On this matter I shall not comment further just now, as I intend to write some reflections for release on Monday January 18, 2016. They will speak not only to the issue of same sex marriage, but also the host of other critical global issues discussed in our meeting.

For now I ask for your prayers for all of the primates as they make their way home. I know some are returning to very challenging situations beset with extreme poverty, civil war, religiously motivated violence and the devastating effects of climate change.

This week reminded me once again of the servant style of leadership required of the primates of the Churches of The Anglican Communion. As Jean Vanier reminded us in his reflections at our closing Eucharist, we are called to be the face of Jesus in this world. Pray with me that all of us be faithful in this calling.

The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz


Comments (19)

  1. Margaret Sjoholm-Franks says:

    I hope the Canadians do not cave in to homophobia and hatred

    1. Ivan Garcia says:

      NO. They will join TEC in the new Anglican schism.

  2. Janice Schattman says:

    My husband and I raised four children in North Texas, where even Episcopalians can be Bronze-Age homophobes. Our oldest daughter is the most talented and was the most devout of our children. She did well in school, had many friends and admirers but no real boyfriend. I just thought she was a strong personality who hadn’t met her match. When she came out to us in her 20s, I cried for days–first from relief. It explained so much. Then from guilt at how lonely and frightened she must have been all those years. She was a church musician and dynamite youth director in the Diocese of Dallas until it somehow got back to Iker that she was lesbian. That evil man intervened in another diocese to prevent her from blessing Happening with her talent and ultimately cost her her job. Within a month, we were loading her modest belongings into a U-Haul so she could move to British Columbia and begin seminary. She and her wife, also Episcopal, were married in Canada, recognized under Canadian law and blessed in a Canadian church. They live in Southern California now and will never be back to Texas. The Ikerite faction in the congregation I raised my children in locked the vestry and choir out of the church at Christmas because we did not hate women and gays like they do. Still, I told myself it was an aberration in the ECUSA. That equanimity is hard to maintain in the face of scolding, now active sanctions from the Anglican Communion and calls for patience with it. This so called “communion” has no value to me. Communing with ignorance, hatred and bigotry is not a virtue. If Canada goes the way of the loons, I will lose my religion.

    1. Doug Kerr says:

      Janice, thank you so much for that note. It is just what you speak of in Texas – not just in parts of The Episcopal Church (and certainty the current [real] Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is extraordinarily inclusive and welcoming), but as well in government and many other aspects – that was a major factor in Carla’s and my decision, in early 2012, to move from Weatherford, Texas to Alamogordo, New Mexico.

      Notwithstanding the inconvenient and irritating wreckage left behind, Jack Iker’s leaving The Episcopal Church was one of the best things to happen to it. Carla and I, incidentally, were among the founders of The Episcopal Church in Parker County, which held its first full-blown Episcopal Mass (with all the bells and whistles, to make a bad pun) the very day after Iker and his band left The Episcopal Church, emptying the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth of its infestation of poison and evil.

      I do not believe that the Anglican Communion has anything that The Episcopal Church needs. If it were up to me, I would have The Episcopal Church withdraw from the Anglican Communion.

      Now, to esteemed Bishop Hilz: Hold firm. You are on the right path.

      1. Doug Kerr says:

        My apologies to Archbishop Hiltz for my editorial errors in your title and the spelling of your name!

        Best regards,

        Doug Kerr

  3. William Flint says:

    I hope the Canadians will join with us in the US and stop the hate and stand up against the Global South.

    1. Ivan Garcia says:

      I love this WAR between Episcopalians and Anglicans: it’s so typically Christian!

      1. Janice Schattman says:

        I do not love the strife but it has historical counterparts. The first great controversy in the new church was whether gentiles were okay. The law was clear. We weren’t. St. Paul spent his life advocating for his gentiles and eunuchs with St. James the Just and the church in Jerusalem. A new understanding, a new vision of what is unclean was the only alternative to schism. They both died martyr’s deaths just the same. They might be embarrassed in heaven by their earthly views but they won’t be damned.

  4. Michael Grear says:

    The ECUSA now has a badge of honor with the “punishment” it incurred at Canterbury. The ECUSA should simple say, “We were finally forced to leave an organization controlled by homophobic bishops who care little for the compassion we are directed to show to others by our Lord Jesus Christ. Fairwell, and we will be happy to replace the Anglican Communion with a new organization including the American Episcopal Church, Scottish Episcopal Church and hopefully the Anglican Church in Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well in the future.” Leading is never easy…but it is an honor and blessing placed on us now by God. We must not waiver in the face of so much malice.

    1. Frank Hower says:

      Tolerance is a two way street. The liberal wing of the Church has not been Tolerant of the Conservatives. If the Pro-Gay marriage crowd believes in tolerance. They should welcome those that oppose them, and stop trying to kick them out.

    2. Ivan Garcia says:

      PERFECT. It seems to be a new version of the perennial fight pro and against Rome: nothing new in the “Body of Christ.”

    3. Janice Schattman says:

      Tolerance is an empty description here. Some in my congregation tried desperately for 20 years to keep our little family together in the face of virulent disagreement. What we achieved at best was a covered-dish and small talk society. At worst it was hateful, two-faced back biting with individuals being denounced in the service. ERD could not be mentioned as outreach because it was associated with the National Church. Better for children to starve than allow an apostate organization any credit for humanity. Calling for tolerance is inadequate to that level of division. At some point, it dilutes the mission to stay together.

  5. Steven Keenan says:

    We too have our share of homophobic, white privileged, parishioners here in Massachusetts, this is the Episcopal Church after all. I agree, either lead or be left behind. At this point the church seems to have chosen the later.

    1. Janice Schattman says:

      As disappointed as I am with the Anglican Communion, the ECUSA is leading, not being left behind. I would love to know how the vote broke down. After all, it only took a majority, not a landslide. I am pretty sure about most of Africa and South America. Did Canada, Australia, England, Mexico, South Africa vote for or against us? Is this the West against the Third World? The wealthy provinces against the poor? Suffering the sanctions graciously is a far cry from reversing the courageous position we have taken one of the great moral issue of our day. Continuing to turn our wealth to aid the impoverished, despite the contempt of their church’s leadership, is not cowardice. If I left the Episcopal Church, Lord, where would I go?

      1. Ivan Garcia says:

        I must emphasize that the majority vote is the common essential of democratic practices around the world: you don’t need a landslide vote in the decision-making processes.

        In trying to offer a possibility to your question, ” If I left the Episcopal Church, Lord, where would I go?”, don’t worry that you will not end in hell. Thereare many, but many other alternatives, including the Roman-Catholic Church …

  6. Janice Schattman says:

    I thank you for your suggestion. I’m sorry. I did not make myself clear. I ardently support the ECUSA in full inclusion of women and gays. Although I admire Pope Francis, the Roman Catholic Church is just a larger and more rigid bastion of the views I deplore. There are dissenting Catholics who share my moral position; many of them fallen away. You do not convert to an religion to join the dissent. As I say for all of us, charity will be the ultimate measuring stick of all theologies.

  7. Ernie Hammel says:

    The homophobes as the left calls them have scripture on their side. It is not even close to debatable. Name calling by the left does not change the word of God. Homosexuals are part of the body of Christ. Heterosexuals and homosexuals both commit sin according to God when they have sex outside of marriage. Unfortunately for the left, Christ explicitly defined marriage between a man and woman (probably knowing in the future that today’s radical left would try to normalize same sex marriage). The logical end for a homosexual is that your life is to be lived as celibate. That is not easy of course, but it is God’s challenge. You might not like it right now because you do not have the wisdom of God. But follow His word, and do not try to run away from it. It will only cause you further strife in your journey through life.

  8. Mary L La Fond says:

    I keep hearing the word tolerance….that is anethma to fre thinkers. I should be abandoned in favor of the word ACCEPTANCE…once all are accepted, the fire and anger of good men will be changed to the warmth of love.

  9. Virginia Gambill says:

    While some seem to forget we are all God’s children, made in the image and likeness of God, it will behoove us to remember love is stronger than hate. This is not the first time differences have occurred between the Anglican Communion and the American Episcopal Church. So many entirely diverse cultures are represented by the 38 primates, it is impossible for an average American or even an above average American to make sense of what s really going on at this stage at the Anglican Communion, I personally will be happy to leave it to our very gifted and talented presiding bishop Michael Curry who can guide us through this maze of heated discussions and determinations of possible outcomes.

Comments are closed.