The responses are, to my mind, laying it on a bit thick. But it is to be expected I suppose, and I am only glad that they do not speak for me any more.
First, Michael Ingham:
Dear Friends in Christ:
By now you may have heard that the Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed Leave to Appeal by those who launched law suits against the Diocese in an effort to oppose the blessing of same-sex unions.
This means that the litigation is now ended. The money, time, and energy taken up by this long and unnecessary conflict can now be directed back to the real work of the Church. For this we should all be deeply thankful.
For many of us, the debate about same-sex relationships has faded into distant memory. We have moved on from those questions into the challenge of implementing the 10 mission priorities of our Diocese, such as addressing homelessness and poverty, developing youth initiatives, renewing parish worship, and deepening Anglican identity.
Litigation was not our choice or wish. At stake, however, was more than simply ownership of church properties. The courts have affirmed that the Church has the right to examine its beliefs and practices in accordance with its own traditions and structures.
We are, and continue to be, respectful of genuine differences of conviction among faithful members of our Church.
I want to take this opportunity to repeat that no one is being asked to leave the church buildings in which they worship, except those clergy who have resigned their ministries in the Anglican Church of Canada. My hope is to work with each of these congregations to appoint mutually agreeable clergy who will be loyal to the Church in which they serve.
Let us all pray that in time these sad divisions may be healed. And let us get on with the mission of our Lord Jesus Christ revealed through the mystery of the Holy Trinity, whom we celebrate today.
The Right Reverend Michael Ingham
Bishop of New Westminster
Secondly, Archbishop Hiltz. This one I am surprised about. I expected some attempt at magnaminity from the head of the ACoC; this comes across as triumphalism and self-congratulation.
June 16, 2011
The Rt. Rev. Michael Ingham
Bishop of New Westminster
I am pleased to hear the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada to deny Leave to Appeal to those who have launched law suits against the Diocese of New Westminster over its decision concerning the blessing of same sex unions.
I am relieved to know that this marks an end to what has been a long and arduous process. I am deeply conscious of the huge amounts of time and money this cost the diocese.
I am especially grateful for the great care you took in preparing for hearings in court over the last several years.
With integrity and insight, you represented the Anglican Church of Canada, its constitution, Canons and recognized decision making processes within the synods of our church – diocesan, provincial, and General. Our entire church owes you a great debt of gratitude. That expression of thanks is extended to your chancellor, solicitor, communications officer and others who supported you in your endeavours to represent our church with such resolve, grace and dignity.
I realize, Michael, this entire matter has not been without personal cost to you. You have been the brunt of a lot of slanderous attacks both professionally and personally, but, you stood your ground and upheld the decisions of your synod and the spirit in which they were made and acted upon. You consistently modeled every effort to be as pastorally accommodating of a variety of theological perspectives in these matters as possible.
I know this decision comes as a great relief. I know you view it not simply as victory, but as an opportunity to redirect time, energy and financial resources to the ministries to which the Diocese of New Westminster is so passionately committed in serving God’s mission.
My respect for your leadership is deep and my gratitude for the witness of the diocese to our Lord Jesus Christ and his reign of love, justice and peace for all is profound.
With the assurance of my prayers as you go from strength in the service of the Gospel,
Fred J. Hiltz
Archbishop and Primate
Lastly, Archbishop Privett. Perhaps the most reasonable of the three, no triumphalism here.
June 16th, 2011
To the Bishops and People of thee Ecclesiastical Province of BC and Yukon:
Dearly Beloved in Christ:
Today the Supreme Court of Cannada has denied Leave to Appeal to those who have brought law suits against the Diocese of New Westminster in the disputes over property arising from the decision to proceed with the blessing of same-sex unions. This marks an end to the litigation that has consumed a great deal of time and money and spiritual resources and has affected the whole Canadian Church. Although our court systems by the decisions asked of them create winners and losers, I encourage us to resist framing the decision today in that way. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ who seek to respond faithfully to the call of the Gospel. When we take our
disputes or are taken to the secular courts we are, in many ways, all diminished.
Although matters of law have been clarified, there will still exist deeply held and yet differing convictions in our church with respect to the blessing of same-sex unions. We will continue as a Church to seek the most generous pastoral responses possible in our differing contexts as we continue, in good faith, to responnd to God’s call to love and justice. It is my prayer that in God’s time and with God’s grace theree will be a healing of the divisions amongst uus and a renewed commitment to the Mission of God that we share with all Christians throughout tthe world.
John E. Privett