May 15, 2020
Dear Incumbents, Clergy, Wardens and Parish leaders:
Since the Province of B.C. Health Ministry has announced this week that churches may reopen, I need to clarify with you what will happen in this diocese.
Even with this permission from the Province, I am continuing the suspension of in-person worship in churches around the diocese of Kootenay, at least until the end of June. A large proportion of our parishioners and many of our clergy are in the vulnerable population of 60+. We do not yet have enough data about the effects of re-opening, and early examples from other countries suggest great prudence is necessary to avoid a fresh outbreak. I think we are called to model to society patience and an abundance of caution. For the protection of health, I think it is wise to wait, to move more slowly towards reopening our church buildings for worship and social functions.
Incumbents may ask me for special permission for small outside gatherings.
Parishes have established a good pattern of electronic (including phone) pastoral care, worship and social gatherings. Please continue this. If the preparation of worship has become burdensome I have encouraged clergy to collaborate, at least occasionally sharing with another parish in worship.
There will be a short Diocesan-wide celebration of Pentecost, Sunday May 31, details to be announced the week after next.
Thank you for your patience through this. Thank you for your vital support of each other amidst the stress and uncertainty of this time. We await a better day!
I hold all of you in prayer, trusting in the One who has loved us from the beginning.
May the God of hope surround you and give you strength.
Yours in Christ,
DIOCESE OF KOOTENAY The Anglican Church of Canada
#201 – 380 Leathead Road Kelowna, BC V1X 2H8
The Rt. Rev. Lynne E. McNaughton, Bishop
July 21, 2019
Dear People of God in the Anglican Diocese of Kootenay,
As you will know, last week General Synod failed to ratify proposed changes to the national marriage canon that would have explicitly expanded the meaning of marriage to include same-sex couples.
In order to change a canon, a 2/3 vote (what some have called a supermajority) is required over two consecutive General Synods in each of the three Houses: Bishops, Clergy and Laity. The marriage canon passed narrowly in 2016. This year, the second reading, the Houses of Laity and Clergy voted overwhelmingly in favour, 81% and 73% respectively. However, in House of Bishops 62% voted in favour, short of the 67% required.
I am profoundly sorry for the deep hurt that this vote has caused, especially to LGBTQ2S+ members of our church and also to others of us who have longed for this canonical change. To all our LGBTQ2S+ members, I want to say I stand with you and I weep with you. I am grateful for and hold in high regard the person God created and calls each of you to be, and I value the gifts you bring to our Church. I recognize that your prophetic witness has been long, arduous, and sacrificial and I give thanks for your faithfulness.
I acknowledge that publicity around this vote has also harmed our witness to the wider world that the church is a welcoming place proclaiming God’s love for all.
It is important to remind ourselves that General Synod voted overwhelmingly for a series of affirmations which included recognition of the prayerful integrity of the diverse understandings and teachings about marriage in the Anglican Church of Canada. I encourage you to read the document A Word to the Church (Appendix 3 attached) and the affirmations General Synod made.
My own understanding, and that of many bishops in our Province and across Canada, is that the existing canon as it still stands does not preclude the marriage of same-sex couples. The statement of the National House of Bishops at General Synod affirmed the idea of “local option,” each diocese offering equal marriage where it discerns this is appropriate. I have reviewed the conversations and decisions from previous synods of the Diocese of Kootenay. At the recent Diocesan clergy conference in June, we had further extensive discussion. From all of this, I discern a strong commitment within the Diocese of Kootenay to allow same-sex marriages.
As your Bishop and chief liturgical officer, I will authorize clergy to marry same-sex couples, beginning August 1, 2019, when I have been formally notified that this is both the will of the incumbent and the congregation, and when the couple satisfies the normal requirements for marriage (see Appendix 6 below). The process for this is outlined in an appendix to this letter. Two incumbents and their wardens and parishes have already asked me for this authorization with the appropriate parish consultation.
Authorized liturgies for same-sex marriages are in the appendix to this letter.
Please note that no clergy are ever required to officiate at a same-sex marriage, and no congregation need host a same sex marriage in their church, if that is against their consciences.
No doubt as this unfolds there will be further conversation and clarification. Some clergy and congregations will want to move quickly on this, others to proceed with caution, while others may decide not to proceed.
Please keep me and our Church in your prayers as we take this step to equal marriage. May God bless us and the Holy Spirit give us guidance, wisdom, discernment and courage.
Yours in Christ,
Appendix 1: Process for authorization of Same-sex marriages within a congregation:
(this is adapted from the process that has been in place in Kootenay diocese since 2011 regarding same-sex blessings, Bishop’s policy 2.1.4)
The marriage of same sex couples requires pastoral sensitivity in discerning the ministry of the whole congregation(s). Marriages are authorized for any licensed priest after requesting and receiving permission from the Bishop after due consultation with the congregation.
Due consultation process will include the following:
1. a. Individual parishes will determine for themselves the appropriate way of engaging with this issue, which also means leaving parishes free to decide not to engage in it. (“All parishes may; no parish must.”)
b. Parish conversations could include past statements such as This Holy Estate and General Synod 2019 A Word to the Church. (see Appendix 3 below)
c. Following the process used in the parish, the parish reports the results to the Bishop. The report will outline the process, and make a formal request to the Bishop for permission to offer same-sex marriage.
d. It is strongly recommended that this NOT be put to a congregational vote.
2. Our Diocese will honour the diversity represented in our congregations. All clergy and people are called upon to exercise pastoral generosity toward one another.
3. No priest or congregation will be required to participate in services of blessing, and if either priest or congregation do not concur, permission will not be given.
4. If a couple wishes to seek a marriage in their home congregation, and their priest or congregation has decided not to participate, alternative pastoral arrangements should be made.
5. When a change of clergy occurs in a parish which has chosen to proceed with this pastoral ministry, then the process of consultation will need to be revisited with the new clergy.
Appendix 2: Results of the vote
The results of the vote can be seen at: https://gs2019.anglican.ca/wp- content/uploads/A052-R2-vote-results.pdf
Appendix 3. A Word to the Church: https://gs2019.anglican.ca/wp-content/uploads/A- Word-to-the-Church-Considering-the-proposed-amendment-of-Marriage-Canon-XXI.pdf
It may help people in Kootenay to know that I chaired the Marriage Canon working group of Council of General Synod (CoGS) 2016-2019 that facilitated this document. CoGS, even with its representative diversity, approved it unanimously. The affirmations were passed at General Synod with an overwhelming majority.
Appendix 4: Statement of the National House of Bishops
Appendix 5: Liturgies
For marriages, as well as the BAS with appropriate adaptation, I authorize two rites of The Episcopal Church, The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage and The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2.
Clergy who plan to use another rite are required to consult with me at least a month in advance of the ceremony. Over time I will gather other appropriate resources.
Appendix 6: Qualifications for Marriage
Couples must be duly qualified to be married, with a provincial marriage license. At least one member of the couple must be a baptized Christian. There must be appropriate pastoral preparation for the wedding and for marriage.
Christ Church will host a potluck supper, with entertainment and lots of fun. Spaghetti and meatballs will be served, with garlic bread and Caesar salad. Bring desserts for the potluck part of it. Come Friday, September 14 at 5:30 pm, and bring your family and friends.
All are Welcome!
Christ Church will soon change to our Summer Schedule. Beginning June 24, there will be one service on a Sunday, at 10 am, followed by a coffee time, an opportunity to visit with each other. We will continue this schedule through the summer months until the Sunday of the Labour Day weekend. This more relaxed schedule allows us all to enjoy the beauty of this part of God’s creation.
Christ Church will hold its annual supper of pancakes and sausages on Pancake Tuesday. Join us on February 13 at 5:30 pm for a time of feasting and fun as we enjoy one another’s company. The meal will be served by the men of our congregation, and all are welcome to join us.
The season of Advent is drawing quickly to a close. This year, Advent was a short season because of the way the dates fell in the calendar. As a result, December 24 is the Fourth Sunday of Advent, and then becomes Christmas Eve later in the day. We will mark the Fourth Sunday of Advent at 10 am on December 24 with the Sunday School presenting their Christmas pageant. It is always a time of fun and delight.
Christ Church will celebrate with three services on Christmas Eve–at 4 pm, 7 pm and 11 pm. Each of the services will feature candlelight and Eucharist. Carols will be sung, we will tell the Christmas story, we will feast at the Table of the Lord, and we will be sent out to be light in the world.
We will worship on Christmas Day at 10 am with a service of Carols and Lessons, and end with Eucharist.
All will be a time of celebration as we mark God appearing in our midst, holding us close, and gathering all the world in God’s embrace.
Christ Church’s youth group disbanded early in 2017. They had done quite a bit of fundraising to fund their activities, and as a result they had a bit of a bank account left over. They decided to donate the money to Street Angels … a donation of almost $1300. It was a faithful and generous act of sharing. The photo shows members of the youth group making their donation at the Street Angels location.
The ACW will hold its annual Tea & Bazaar on Saturday, November 4 from 1 to 3 pm. Join us for a time of refreshments and to buy some crafts and baking for the upcoming Christmas season. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children.