Failed by One Vote!

Greetings. It has been too long friends since I posted anything here. Now that the 41st General Synod (aka #GS2016) of the Anglican Church of Canada has concluded I would like to release the following official statement:

Oh, FFS! One vote! One Bloody vote!

Now, you might be thinking to yourself: “But, Maple: the resolution to authorize the changes to the Marriage Canon succeed! The recount found it passed by one vote in the House of Bishops and House of Clergy.”

Firstly, I’m not referring to the horribly bungled experience with the non-passing/passing/reconsideration/re-count debacle that was Resolution A051-R2. That, in my view, has resulted in a lot of unnecessary pain and heartbreak for people on both sides of whether to allow Same-gender marriages to occur under Canon Law.

What I am referring to was Resolution A030-R1B. This resolution would have removed a prayer from the “Prayers and Thanksgivings Upon Several Occasions” in the 1962 Book of Common Prayer, specifically Prayer 4 “For the Conversion of the Jews.”. The prayer is as follows:

O GOD, who didst choose Israel to be thine inheritance: Look, we beseech thee, upon thine ancient people; open their hearts that they may see and confess the Lord Jesus to be thy Son and their true Messiah, and, believing, they may have life through his Name. Take away all pride and prejudice in us that may hinder their understanding of the Gospel, and hasten the time when all Israel shall be saved; through the merits of the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

“We still have something like that in the BCP?”

Yes. Yes we do

“But no one ever uses the BCP. Let alone that prayer!”

  1. Er, thanks. I go to a BCP-only Parish, and
  2. The 1962 Book of Common Prayer remains the de jure source of prayers.

Based on the principal of Lex orandi, lex credendi that prayer is still an official doctrinal profession in the Anglican Church of Canada.

As I noted in a previous entry we really do need a new BCP, but doing so is incredibly difficult. In fact, as the vote today proved even altering the BCP is frigging difficult.

The only other alteration to the BCP occurred in 1989 when the Third Collect for Good Friday was removed. It was as follows:

O MERCIFUL God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou has made, nor wouldest the death of a sinner, but rather the he should be converted and live: Have mercy upon the Jews, thine ancient people, upon all who reject and deny thy Son; take them from all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy fold, that they may be made one flock under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

If you think that is pretty bad the prayer it is based on from the Church of England’s BCP is this:

O MERCIFUL God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, nor wouldest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; Have mercy upon all Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Hereticks, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy flock, that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be made one fold under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

It is super-obvious that the two prayers are very similar in composition and purpose.  Now, I will admit that I delve into supporting some Supersessionism to support positions to such things as the Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist from time to time, however, I recognize that prayers like this can seem incredibly insensitive in today’s world. For that reason, either the prayer needs to be revised or the prayer needs to go.

That brings us to a simple resolution that was called Housekeeping Amendments in the handbook for General Synod. Constitutional, Canonical, and Prayer Book revision requires a two-thirds majority in all three Houses of General Synod: The Laity, The Clergy, and the Bishops. Thus, in order to remove the offending prayer it would have had to pass First Reading at the 41st General Synod in 2016, and then passed Second Reading at the 42nd General Synod in 2019 in order to be enacted in 2020.

This should have been a no-brainer. It wasn’t

Vote result of A030 – R1b
Vote result of A030 – R1b

As you can see, the resolution succeeded in the Houses of Clergy and Laity, but failed with the bishops.

By one vote!

One Bloody Vote!

The result(s) of the Marriage Canon vote, the negative/positive press that has come with it, and the bitterness that has accompanied people who were on both sides of the issue while massively overshadow this failure to remove the offending prayer. While there is good cause that it should overshadow the vastly minor attempt at BCP revision the very fact that we couldn’t get such as simple, super-obvious revision done to the BCP pains me greatly.

It shows that the Canadian Church is dysfunctional.

If anyone is thinking: “Please, Maple, don’t leave Anglicanism/the Anglican Church of Canada/the Anglican Communion” don’t worry; I am here to stay. You can’t get rid of me that easily.

The major lesson we are talking away from General Synod this year is that one vote matters. And while those who support Same-Gender Marriages come away at the end rejoicing that we are on the road to making these Marriages a reality we are also coming away having damaged not only our internal relations with one another but also our relations with the Jewish Community.

Because at the end of the day General Synod just said it is still our belief to pray that God will take away the hardness of hearts of the Jews.

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