4

Delegates complain of bullying as Anglicans debates same-sex marriage

“This kind of behaviour is not appropriate. It’s unacceptable.”


 

TORONTO — An emotional debate on whether Anglicans should bless same-sex marriages has prompted complaints of bullying ahead of a vote on the issue among delegates to their triennial conference, the church’s primate acknowledged Monday.

In remarks to General Synod 2016, Archbishop Fred Hiltz urged respectful discussions on a topic that has proven bitterly divisive.

“Some members of our synod are deeply hurt. Some of them are deeply offended. Some are feeling unsafe to continue to speak lest they be reprimanded,” Hiltz told the gathering.

“This kind of behaviour is not appropriate. It’s unacceptable.”

Hundreds of delegates to the six-day synod just north of Toronto were expected to vote later Monday on a resolution to authorize same-sex marriages. The resolution includes an opt-out clause to ensure no one would be forced to participate in such marriages against their conscience.

Complaints about bullying emerged during weekend discussions on the resolution in smaller working groups.

Eliot Waddingham, 24, a transgender person from Ottawa, said tension over the vote was palpable.

“It is breaking my heart that there are people who see gay marriage as a separation from God and from love,” said Waddingham, a longtime Anglican attending the synod as an observer.

“I think ‘no’ would be a death sentence for our church. It would be driving off the edge of a cliff.”

To pass, the resolution to change the marriage cannon requires two-thirds of the delegates to vote yes in each of three orders — lay, clergy and bishops. The bishops’ group indicated in February that the threshold would likely not be met. Indigenous bishops have also said they would resist having “Western cultural approaches” imposed on them.

The decision, whichever way it goes, will have consequences for the country’s third-largest church, Hiltz told delegates Monday.

“There may be people who feel compelled to leave our church,” Hiltz said. “That’s the gravity and the weight of the situation that is before us.”

The pending vote is the culmination of three years of work that began when the last General Synod, the church’s legislative body, asked a panel to come up with the draft motion.

Another delegate, Stephen Warner, said he wasn’t surprised to hear the complaints of intimidation that have surfaced given that every member was given a “bully pulpit” during the small group chats as the issue comes to a head.

“This is my seventh synod overall over five years,” said Warner, 20, of Toronto. “I’ve never seen a more tense and dour environment.”

About 1.6 million Canadians identify themselves as Anglican, according to Statistics Canada, and church figures indicate more than 500,000 of them are part of about 2,800 congregations across the country.


 

Delegates complain of bullying as Anglicans debates same-sex marriage

  1. Church attendance has fallen everywhere and all churches are in a fight for parishioners.

    There has been a major effort to break up the Anglican church………and Anglicans have fallen for it.

    • It is really a great pity that in all divine revelation there is not real support for the notion of support for wide range of sexual expression among humans, just the opposite in glaring fact. For love between all people, outside concerns of gender, is part of the Great Law of God, while sexuality, in most religions and societies, is, to some extent directed and restricted.

      Expanded sexual practice – and this IS what all the hoopla is about – is nothing new. Other than perhaps a markedly improved ability to control fertility and sexually transmitted disease, modern society is little advanced from our cave dwelling forebears when it comes to fundamental biology and, possibly, the ‘enlightened’ 18th century when it comes to sexual practice.

      • Jesus said nothing about gays or abortion. The church made all that up

  2. Who says the Gay movement, even in churches, isn’t political?

    Had the vote gone the other way, the church wouldn’t be ‘breaking-up’, just losing the “intolerant” and “hateful” minority much like ust like the ‘good sense’, rather than the feeling of foreboding error, that accompanied the Brexit vote.

    Unlike Brexit perhaps, Anglicans will have other Synods and more chances to get it right – ‘gay’ ain’t going away.

    “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” One of the last things Jesus said, it’s as if He knew.

Sign in to comment.