Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, June 16, 2007
The transcontinental conflict between what is being called the "Global North" and "Global South" of the Anglican communion provides the crucial backdrop to next week's gathering of Canadian Anglican delegates in Winnipeg.
Same-sex blessings will likely dominate the convention, even though both sides would just like to see it go away, as long as it's resolved in their favour.
The Vancouver-area diocese, under the leadership of the progressive bishop, Michael Ingham, will be at the forefront of delegates' minds -- as the entire Canadian Anglican church decides whether to follow the diocese's lead and allow local dioceses to approve the blessing of same-sex relationships.
The worldwide Anglican church will also be watching how Canadian delegates respond to Ingham's longtime advocacy of gay and lesbian spiritual quality -- since more than one well-placed observer say what happens in Canada, with up to 800,000 members on the rolls, could well be the harbinger of the future for the entire, fractured Anglican communion.
Judging from past gatherings, the Anglican Church of Canada's general synod in Winnipeg is likely to be replete with arcane legalistic procedures and complex manoeuvring.
Canada's theologically conservative and liberal Anglicans will confront each other, usually in polite language, over how to proceed with a vote over whether to give local dioceses the power to bless same-sex relationships.
Vancouver's diocese has already forged ahead on the issue, in recent years quietly conducting dozens of the rites for gays and lesbians.
Rev. Peter Elliott, rector of Vancouver's liberal Christ Church Cathedral, will have a uniquely important insider's position when the synod meets.
Not only is Elliott an openly gay priest in a committed relationship, he was elected three years ago to be the "prolecutor" of the synod.
That means he'll be the second-highest elected official at the convention, working as co-chairman beside Primate Andrew Hutchinson, of Montreal.