Joint Committee Struck Between Anglicans and Lutherans

Image by Clark Van Der Beken

 

By: Theo Robinson

Over the last few years, there has been an increase in attacks on the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Certain persons in positions of power have done and said things that encourage homophobic, transphobic, and biphobic actions and attitudes. Quite often, the arguments against the existence of 2SLGBTQIA+ people claim to be of a scriptural nature, with leaders from within the church frequently heading the attacks on the community. Statements like “Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve” and people quoting Leviticus as well as a handful of verses from throughout Paul’s letters are used as bullying and fear tactics to get the public riled up against people who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+.

However, there are church folk out there, clergy and lay alike, who are starting to get louder with statements of love, standing in support of minority groups in the name of Jesus, declaring that Jesus called Christians to love, not hate, and that everyone is a blessed child of God. Two religious groups based in Winnipeg decided to respond to the anti-2SLGBTQIA+ rhetoric by forming a joint committee to address the issues that have been arising around the treatment of those who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+. The Manitoba Northwestern Ontario Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Diocese of Rupert’s Land of the Anglican Church of Canada decided to make use of their full communion relationship and form a single committee called the MNO Synod/Diocese of Rupert’s Land 2SLGBTQIA+ Committee for Education, Advocacy, and Policy. This committee is made up of a mix of Lutheran and Anglican clergy and lay people and has three pillars of focus:

1 . E D U C A T I O N
Usually, the reason people fear something is because they don’t understand it. The only way to fix that issue is to provide opportunities for education. This committee will be creating educational resources on everything from pronouns to how to be a good ally, and leading workshops that will be available to all Lutheran and Anglican congregations and clergy.

2 . S O C I A L  J U S T I C E
Advocacy is very important and when a minority group is doing all of the advocacy work, it can be exhausting for that group of people. As Christians, it is part of our baptismal call to stand up for oppressed people through faith and love. Sometimes, it’s hard to know how to do that. This committee will be on the lookout for advocacy opportunities. It will share them with the Synod and the Diocese, and will encourage members of both to take advantage of these advocacy opportunities.

3 . P O L I C Y  A N D  G O V E R N A N C E
Both the Synod and the Diocesan policies are long overdue for a review, to be rewritten with inclusive language, and to bring in policies and procedures that reflect support of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. This committee will comb through policies and canons in the hopes of proposing changes. As well, the hope of the committee is to help parishes who want to be truly inclusive by creating policies as simple as enforcing church buildings to have all gendered washrooms.

Under these three pillars, this new committee desires to provide support for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community within the MNO Synod and the Diocese of Rupert’s Land as well as help parishes who wish to become inclusive churches to do more than the words “all are welcome” could ever convey. A committee such as this reinforces both the commitment of the Synod and Diocese to work harder at promoting their full communion relationship and to support the Synod, which is a Reconciled in Christ Synod, and the Diocese wants to provide to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community within and without their parish walls.

 

 

The Reverend Theo Robinson is an Anglican priest serving as a Pastor in the Interlake Regional Shared Ministry with the Lutheran Church of the Manitoba Northwestern Ontario Synod. You can find him on Facebook (@revtheorobinson) and Instagram (@theconversepriest), and you can follow his blog at tjrobinson.blogspot.com.

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