`Anglican Communion Is Not a Single, Monolithic Structure'

Article excerpt

The following is adapted from a column by Archbishop David Crawley, published in the Kootenay diocesan newspaper The High Way.

It is important to understand the structure of both the Anglican Communion and the Anglican Church of Canada. The Anglican Communion is a world community of some 40 national or regional churches that trace their roots back to the Church of England. The communion is not a single monolithic structure. It has no distinctive body of doctrine nor has it a central magisterium, which could establish one. It has common roots and many common traditions, but it also has many differing structures, customs, traditions and teachings ...

(When General Synod was created) the powers of the General Synod and the provincial synods were defined, and all residual powers stayed in the dioceses. That means that if an issue arises which is not clearly designated to either the General Synod or the provincial synods, it falls to the individual dioceses to decide it unless "the mind of the church" deems otherwise.

The General Synod is clearly responsible for matters of doctrine, and worship.

Four years ago, the synod of New Westminster considered and passed a motion put forward by three parishes, requesting the bishop to authorize the blessing of monogamous, lifelong, same-sex unions. The bishop did not concur. A diocesan study program was organized and three commissions were established to consider the legal, theological, and liturgical issues.

The legal commission was asked to consider whether the diocese could proceed. …