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Saturday
Nov122016

Cross-denominational invite  

By Sue Careless


Photo: ANIC

“We have actually never experienced this number of inquiries,” says Charlie Masters.

By Sue Careless

WHEN THE SYNOD for the Anglican Network in Canada met in late October in Vancouver, disaffected members of the Anglican Church of Canada were among those invited to attend.

The Rt Rev. Charlie Masters, the moderator of ANiC, the smaller and newer of the two denominations, wrote a letter dated Oct. 7th addressed to “fellow orthodox Anglican friends.” In it he said his diocesan office and many of his clergy had received “a growing number of calls and requests that have come from Anglican believers, both clergy and laity, who find themselves very distressed as they ponder the most recent developments in the Anglican Church of Canada at its General Synod last July and since.”

In July the ACC’s General Synod approved on first reading a motion to change the Church’s marriage Canon to include same-sex couples. But the synod was not of one mind – about one-third of the delegates opposed the motion. Some ACC dioceses declared that they would not wait for the technically required second synodical vote in 2019, but would perform same-sex marriage rites immediately.

Then in September the ACC Diocese of Toronto elected as suffragan (assistant) bishop a priest who is living in a same-sex relationship but is not married to his partner. This further troubled many both inside the diocese and out. Would it be precedent-setting for other dioceses?

In his letter Bishop Masters said, “We have actually never experienced this number of inquiries….the distress is real and the concern about what these developments may mean for orthodox Anglicans in the future seems to be growing.”

He wrote to assure them of “our sadness at these developments and the challenge they present to ordinary Anglicans – both clergy and laity – in living out the gospel and making disciples as Anglicans. We pray much for you and feel that perhaps we understand something of how difficult it is for you now because of what we ourselves went through just a few years ago.”

ANiC formed in 2005 after the ACC Diocese of New Westminster voted to bless same-sex unions.

Masters then offered an invitation to both ACC clergy and laity to attend the ANiC synod October 26-28 hoping it would prove to be a “time of refreshment.” Registration fees were waived for ACC clergy, who were also invited to take part in the procession for the opening Eucharist. At the same time Masters acknowledged that some ACC clergy “might prefer to attend...discreetly.” A special session was held for those who wanted more information about the denomination.

Recognizing that for many the travel costs to Vancouver were prohibitive, Masters also said that ANiC is planning information meetings across the country this fall and winter.   TAP


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