Canadian church could face ‘punishment’ from Anglicans for affirming equal marriage

Archbishop of Canterbury delivers his Christmas sermon (Getty Images)

Anglican Primates could ‘punish’ a Canadian church that recently affirmed equal marriage.

The Anglican Church of Canada has recently been debating whether to embrace marriage equality – legal in Canada since 2005 – and come into line with the majority view of the country.

The issue came to head at the Church’s General Synod earlier this month, when a motion affirming marriage equality passed by just one vote.

The Church could now face ‘punishment’ from the Anglican Communion – the global union of Anglican churches – which recently agreed to ‘punish’ the US Episcopal Church for same-sex weddings in order to avoid a rift with hardline African Churches.

Seven Bishops from the north of Canada have warned in a statement that their church could face a similar fate, while opposing reform.

They said: “[The Church] has taken a further step in ordaining something contrary to God’s Word written and imperils our full communion within the Anglican Church of Canada and with Anglicans throughout the world.”

They added: “This would be a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of the Anglican Communion on the doctrine of marriage. Sadly, this complicates relationships within the Anglican Church of Canada and as a Province with the Anglican Communion.

“We call on our Primate and the Archbishop of Canterbury to seek ways to guarantee our place within the Anglican Church of Canada and the Anglican Communion.”

The letter is signed by the Bishop of Athabasca, Bishop of Caledonia, Bishop of Saskatchewan, Bishop of Yukon, Bishop of Algoma, the Bishop of The Arctic and the Suffragan Bishop of The Arctic.

Earlier this year, the global Anglican Primates rebuked the US Episcopal Church over equal marriage and warned other churches adopting equality may face the same fate. The Archbishop of Canterbury oversaw the compromise deal.

The Primtes said: “Recent developments in The Episcopal Church with respect to a change in their Canon on marriage represent a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage.

“Given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years

“The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.”

At the time, the statement had warned: “Possible developments in other Provinces could further exacerbate this situation.”