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  Anglican Network in Canada Responds to the Pastoral
Statement from the Primate and Metropolitans of the Anglican Church of Canada

November 30, 2007

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

As we stand on the threshold of the Advent season, we are reminded again that God gave us the most costly and precious gift imaginable to offer us “a future and a hope” in this season of darkness.

Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! 2Cor 9:15

It is also with gratitude to God that we welcome the recent provision of Primatial oversight by Archbishop Gregory Venables from the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. This provision has been widely supported by other Primates, bishops and evangelical groups, representing a vast majority of global Anglicans. It will allow the provision of Adequate Episcopal Oversight for Biblically faithful Canadian Anglicans who feel they no longer have a home in the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC), because of its departure from historic and biblical Anglican teaching and doctrine. Now, these faithful Anglicans in serious theological dispute with ACC leadership have a firm option that will allow them to remain fully Anglican and in full communion with the global Anglican Church.

Many faithful Canadian Anglicans have waited for over five years, working within existing Communion processes and structures, to find an episcopal solution that will adequately address the serious theological dispute - to no avail. There is now a growing consensus among the Primates that such a solution is not possible within the existing structures. In addition, there is fresh evidence that the ACC is increasingly and openly violating the Communion's doctrinal standard and established Christian teaching. In doing so, the ACC is, sadly, walking apart from the mainstream of global Anglicanism.

The developments in Canada are part of a global realignment now underway within the Anglican Communion, a realignment precipitated by the irreconcilable disagreement about fundamental “truth claims”. Is the Bible the inspired, eternal truth of God or is it adaptable to suit changing attitudes, people and culture?

Yesterday's pastoral letter from the Primate and Metropolitans of the Anglican Church of Canada is cause for further disappointment. Rather than honestly acknowledging the irreconcilable differences and seeking to find amicable solutions, the Primate and Metropolitans have chosen to issue a statement that will only further confuse the Canadian church.

The Pastoral Statement fails to acknowledge the true cause of the crisis identified by the Windsor Report and the unanimous Communiqués of the Primates (including the Archbishop of Canterbury) from 2003 (Lambeth), 2005 (Dromantine) and 2007 (Dar es Salaam). These documents affirmed the Anglican Communion's doctrinal position on human sexuality as articulated in the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 and appealed to the ACC and the US Episcopal Church (TEC) to not further “tear the fabric of the Communion at its deepest level”, and to not “walk apart” from the Communion by violating the Communion's doctrinal standard.

The Pastoral Statement also fails to mention that those Communion documents clearly identified the actions of the ACC (and TEC) and the diocese of New Westminster as the real cause of the divisions in the church. The Windsor Report and the Primates' Communiqués warned that these actions would lead to further division in the church. Unfortunately, rather than heeding the Primates warnings, the dioceses of Ottawa, Montreal and Niagara have followed New Westminster's lead.

Rather than being the cause of broken fellowship, the provision of Primatial oversight from Archbishop Venables is, in fact, a response to the existing broken fellowship - both within Canada and between Canada and much of the rest of the Communion.

The Dar es Salaam Communiqué specifically acknowledged that interventions have been deemed necessary in the US and now in Canada as a result of the refusal of TEC and the ACC to walk together with the Communion. It also acknowledged that the Primates who have intervened “
…do not feel it is right to end those interventions until it becomes clear that sufficient provision has been made for the life of those persons” and that “For interventions to cease, what is required…. is a robust scheme of pastoral oversight to provide…. adequate space to flourish within the life of that church in the period leading up to the conclusion of the Covenant Process”.

While the Pastoral Statement claims that the leaders of the ACC “welcome and respect freedom of individual conscience and the theological convictions of a diverse membership” and that “our bishops have made adequate and appropriate provision for the pastoral care and Episcopal support of all members of the Anglican Church of Canada”, it is clear that such provisions have proven inadequate for those who should receive them and have failed to provide protection for biblically faithful and Communion committed Anglicans in Canada. The Dar Communiqué also recommended a Pastoral Council as a way to provide such adequate provision and to promote healing and reconciliation, but the Anglican Church of Canada has rejected not only the Windsor Report recommendations, but all efforts on the part of the Primates to promote unity within the Anglican Communion.

Members of the Anglican Network in Canada have long sought a peaceable, amicable solution that will allow us to continue our faithful ministry of the gospel. To that end, we have cooperated with all Communion processes and worked closely with the Primates. We are deeply grateful for this episcopal provision which has such broad ranging support across the Communion and which allows Canadian Anglicans to be under the Episcopal jurisdiction of a Province with unbroken fellowship. We invite Canadians to review the evidence and to consider this gracious offer of episcopal care for the sake of the true unity of the gospel.

As we look for our savior's coming, we continue to pray for true peace on earth and goodwill amongst all with whom God is pleased to dwell.

With every blessing,

Bishop Donald Harvey
Moderator, Anglican Network in Canada

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