Marriage canon report in final stages
The final meeting of the Anglican Church of Canada’s commission on the marriage canon took place at the national office in Toronto on Friday, August 21. Since its first meeting in April 2014, the commission has been engaged in a broad and diverse consultation on the feasibility of changing Canon 21—the church’s law on marriage—to allow same-sex unions. “We’re very close to completing the text of the report,” said commission member Bishop Linda Nicholls of the Trent-Durham area in the diocese of Toronto. “We’re doing the final editing and formatting.”This is the commission’s fourth face-to-face meeting, “but there have been numerous e-mail conference calls,” Nicholls said. The largest section of the roughly 50-page report will be devoted to biblical and theological reflection on the feasibility of Anglican same-sex marriage. The report will also address other components spelled out in General Synod 2013’s original mandating resolution on the marriage of same-sex couples. These include the wording of any amendment to Canon 21 permitting same-sex marriage, the terms of reference of the Solemn Declaration of 1893, which created the Anglican Church of Canada, and legal aspects of a conscience clause protecting bishops, dioceses, clergy and congregations from being constrained to authorize or participate in such marriages against the dictates of conscience. The commission’s final report will be submitted to a special session of Council of General Synod (CoGS) scheduled September 22–23.