On Friday, September 30, our rector appeared before the archbishop and the chancellor of the diocese, along with four other clergy, to receive a stern admonishment from the chancellor and a formal warning, in writing, from the archbishop. The reason? Blessing the civil marriage between a woman and her partner, who identifies as “Trans”, in what the couple refer to as a “queer marriage”.
Same-sex blessings and marriages are not permitted in the Anglican Diocese of Calgary, despite the recent vote by General Synod to amend the national marriage canon. Our bishop, Greg Kerr-Wilson, who is also the Metropolitan archbishop of the Province of Rupert’s Land, has indicated he is not likely to permit same-sex marriage in this diocese, even if General Synod ratifies its decision in 2019, nor is he prepared to sanction the blessing of same-sex marriages in the meantime. On September 17, six local clergy, including our rector, offered a blessing to a couple in a ceremony held at St. Stephen’s and then notified the archbishop in writing that they had done so.
The admonition issued by the chancellor charged the clergy with a failure to love their Christian brothers and sisters across the diocese, that is, those who oppose same-sex marriages and blessings. The archbishop’s letter, which he handed out to the clergy in person, threatened that any future actions of this sort would be answered by Canon XVIII, the regulations governing the disciplining of Anglican clergy. Those regulations stipulate penalties ranging from an admonition to the relinquishment of holy orders.
Our rector and one other member of the clergy have asked for a follow-up meeting with the archbishop and chancellor to seek a way forward, citing the negative consequences for everyone of the escalation of this conflict. They seek your prayers and your support.