Saturday at General Synod 2019
Good morning from General Synod 2019. I say ‘good’ with hesitation. I am so sorry for the hurt and harm caused to so many at General Synod last night with the vote on the marriage canon. The motion to change the marriage canon was approved by 75% of General Synod delegates – but it failed to achieve the technical threshold of 2/3rds in the House of Bishops required to change a canon. Though this outcome was not unexpected, the impact was devastating, both here at General Synod, and beyond. This I lament. I heard the cries of many, most poignantly, the cries of the youth here at General Synod. But this Synod is not over, and the movement towards full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the life, leadership and liturgies, including marriage, of our church will not stop. We are moving forward.
Though attention was focused yesterday on the main vote, rightly, we also passed affirmations that will enable any diocese and bishop to proceed with same sex marriage (some call this ‘local option’). Indeed since 2016, the dioceses of Ottawa, Niagara, Toronto, Montreal and British Columbia have celebrated same sex marriages. These dioceses will be joined very soon by others representing most of the country by population. Watch for these announcements (Niagara’s is already out), and take heart. And as a priest at St. Albans, let me reaffirm that I would be honoured to preside at the marriage of same sex couples.
Please know as well that yesterday’s was not the last motion on same sex marriage that will come before this General Synod 2019. With solid approval of 75%, up from 69% in 2016, advocates for same sex marriage have sufficient numbers to put same sex marriage back on the agenda of this synod. Today we will pause for the election of a primate, but we’ll be back in session tonight.