July 11, 2016
To the Clergy and People of the Diocese of Huron:
As many of you are aware, today a resolution was brought to the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada to allow Anglican clergy to marry all eligible couples regardless of gender. It is with sorrow that we share with you that this resolution did not pass in all three orders (lay, clergy and bishops) as required and was, therefore, defeated.
We know that this decision will cause deep hurt to LGTBQ2+ members of our Diocese and to their families, friends and allies. For this we are truly sorry. You are valued members of the Body of Christ and of our diocese. Despite the pain that this decision may cause you, please do not give up on us. Help us know how we may best care for you at this time.
The chancellor of General Synod has indicated that the current marriage canon ‘does not contain either a definition of marriage or a specific prohibition against solemnizing same-sex marriage’. We are also aware that a diocesan bishop may exercise episcopal authority in authorizing liturgies to respond to pastoral needs within their dioceses, in the absence of any actions by the General Synod. We intend to authorize such liturgies once guidelines are in place.
We know, too, that there are members of our Diocese who believe that the General Synod made a faithful decision. One of the gifts and challenges of the Anglican Church is that we can hold divergent views yet still pray together. It is our fervent hope that this continues to be true as we seek our way into the future together.
Please pray for the Church and for our diocese. Pray for our LGTBQ2+ brothers and sisters. Pray for us as we seek to be faithful leaders in the Diocese of Huron. We hold each of you in our prayers and in our hearts. May the God of all grace, heal us, fill us, renew us and empower us that we may continually seek the Spirit of God in our midst and in each other.
Yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Robert Bennett
The Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls