Yesterday, Archbishop Fred Hiltz met with members and friends of the LGBTQ community in Toronto at celebration of the Holy Eucharist at St. John’s, West in Toronto.
This encounter is one among many that the Primate has had with members of the Anglican Church in and beyond Canada. During the recent Primates’ meeting in Canterbury, care for this community became a clear priority for the whole of the Anglican Communion. There was recognition by the Primates of the many ways that LGBTQ communities are risk.
“…The Primates condemned homophobic prejudice and violence and resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation. This conviction arises out of our discipleship of Jesus Christ. The Primates reaffirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people…”
-from the Communiqué from the Primates of the Anglican Communion, January 2016
Yesterday’s pastoral gathering was an opportunity from the Primate to be in dialogue with a local LGBTQ community about their lives and experiences within the Church and about the resolution that will go before the General Synod in July. Archbishop Hiltz remains deeply committed to hearing the diversity of perspectives in our church about this matter as reflected in his ongoing conversations with the Bishops of our Church, Canadian participants at the Anglican Consultative Council, Canadian and African bishops in dialogue, from theological students and faculty, and from members of the Council of the General Synod among others.
“I left the gathering more convinced than ever the need for the Church to take opportunity to hear first-hand the experiences and longings of LGBTQ persons,” Hiltz said. “So often we speak about instead of with the LGBTQ community. We all need to be creating these kinds of opportunities to have pastoral conversations.”
His pastoral care for members of the LGBTQ community in the Anglican Church of Canada marks out its Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, as one of the two Anglican Primates in North America (the other is the Primate of TEC in the U.S.A.) who have spoken out at the recent Meeting of Primates in Canterbury, U.K., about the current climate of homophobia and sexism that has brought division in the world-wide Anglican Communion.
” Archbishop Hiltz remains deeply committed to hearing the diversity of perspectives in our church about this matter as reflected in his ongoing conversations with the Bishops of our Church, Canadian participants at the Anglican Consultative Council, Canadian and African bishops in dialogue, from theological students and faculty, and from members of the Council of the General Synod among others.”
The Canadian Primate’s willingness to speak up for this minority in his Church – in the wake of the recent Primates’ Meeting – matches the determination of Bishop Michael Curry (TEC Primate) to carry forward their campaign to banish homophobia and sexism from their own jurisdictions, thus setting an example to the other Churches of the Anglican Communion on this important issue of human rights and justice for Gays in the Church.
One cannot but commend their proactivity in this area.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand