Dear Friends,

Having enjoyed another wonderful July at the Church of the Good Shepherd please join us this coming Sunday back at St. Laurence.  We will be in the St. Laurence building for all the August services and look forward to welcoming our friends from Good Shepherd at our place.  Because Good Shepherd is currently without an Incumbant there will be someone from St. Laurence (either Carolyn or myself) at all the August services.  However, we will be using the Good Shepherd worship book and welcoming The Rev. David Rankin, their honorary assistant, and Beryl Parkinson, a lay preacher from Good Shepherd, as part of the worship leadership. 

This year's period of being away from the St. Laurence building allowed for some work to be done on the St. Laurence facility.  During the month of July not only was some touch up painting done and the floors given a good cleaning, but all five furnaces were replaced.  Many thanks to Phil Crowe for all his work coordinating the furnace work.  We hope we don't have to use them for some months!

As our article this month Steve Koning has written a reflection regarding his experience being at the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada in July. Please take a moment to read his reflections below. He will also be speaking and answering questions at a 'Conversations' on Sunday, September 11th.

With every blessing,


General Synod 2016 Report for St. Laurence Anglican Church 
 Stephen Koning,

As many know, from the 7th to the 12th of July I attended the 41st session of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada in Thornhill Ontario, just north of Toronto. There have been many reports of what happened at the Synod, including articles written by the National Church and the Anglican Journal and letters written by various bishops. Much of this material is online on the National Church and General Synod Websites (see here and  here), including a letter from our Primate ( here) and a letter to the Diocese from our Archbishop ( here). I won't attempt to repeat any of that excellent coverage in this report.
Instead, I would like to offer a couple of personal reflections about the Synod, especially about the topic that consumed the most time at the Synod - the proposed amendment to the Marriage Canon (Canon XXI of the National Church) to provide for the marriage of same-sex couples in the same manner as opposite-sex couples. There were several blocks of time during the Synod devoted to this topic, including three "discussion" periods and two "legislative" periods. At the end of all that time, there was a vote on a motion to amend the marriage canon. Because the marriage canon relates to doctrine, the motion required at least a two-thirds majority in each of the three orders of the synod (bishops, clergy, and laity). When the vote was taken late on Monday evening, the result was that although the overall majority was 72% in favour, the two-thirds threshold was only reached in the order of bishops and the order of laity. The order of clergy failed to reach the two-thirds threshold by one vote.
Tuesday morning the Synod gathered in Diocesan groups to consider the question "What Now ... Pastorally, Prophetically, and Structurally?" During the discussion with the Calgary delegation I noted that we had a great deal of work to do in the Diocese to deal with what looked at that point like a decision not to amend the marriage canon. I remarked that part of the problem was that the decision taken by the General Synod was a decision according to the letter of the law that did not seem to be in keeping with what the spirit of the law decision appeared to be. In other words, a defeat by just one vote due to the threshold being two-thirds could just as easily have been the opposite outcome if the canonical threshold had been set at 60% or even 65%. I indicated that there is nothing magical about a two-thirds majority - all the canon was trying to say is that in order to change a canon dealing with doctrine there had to be a "strong" majority - not just 50% plus one. Thus, in that spirit, the verdict of the Synod was clear - the marriage canon should be changed (even though the letter of the law had not technically been met).
Evidence of the decision of the "spirit" of the Synod came as soon as the Synod re-convened in legislative session when Bishop Jane Alexander of Edmonton presented a motion from the floor of Synod to "reaffirm the 2004 General Synod statement on the integrity and sanctity of same sex relationships; and call on the whole church to engage fully with This Holy Estate at every level." That motion was passed with over 70% in favour (it required 50%). The spirit moved again when, later in the day, a discrepancy in the voting records from the previous evening was discovered, which had the effect of reversing that decision so that the motion to give first reading to the changes to the marriage canon was declared passed. With the letter-of-the-law decision now in accord with the spirit-of-the-law decision of the Synod, those changes to the marriage canon are now referred to dioceses for consultation and comment (not approval) before returning to the General Synod in 2019 for second reading.
As a result of all this, the work required in the Diocese of Calgary over the next three years is clear. We need a full engagement with and discussion of This Holy Estate (the final report of the Commission on the Changes to the Marriage Canon) and a wide-ranging consideration of the changes to the marriage canon that were given first reading at General Synod 2016. This means that the Diocese of Calgary needs to focus on helping members of the Diocese come to an appreciation of the full inclusion of same sex relationships in the church. We do not need a series of sessions presenting pro and con arguments around this issue. The time for "discernment" as to whether or not this is a good thing has passed. The direction of the church has now been decided - same sex couples will soon have full access to all the sacraments and pastoral offices of the church. The discussions that are needed must help all members of the Diocese come to that same conclusion, just as most of the rest of the Anglican Church of Canada has done.


August at St. Laurence
Welcome back to St. Laurence. We welcome our friends from the Church of the Good Shepherd to worship with us throughout the month.

Sunday, August 7th 10:00 am Carolyn will be preaching and presiding and Jason is the musician.

Sunday, August 14

Carolyn to preside and Beryl Parkinson (Good Shepherd Lay Preacher) to preach. Jason is the musician.

Sunday August 21

10:00 am Service with
Carolyn to preside and David Rankin (Good Shepherd Honorary Assistant) to preach. Deb is the musician.
Food Bank Sunday
Please join us in the Sunshine Room after the service for the film on Nutrition in Today's World.

Sunday, August 28
10:00 am
David Rankin to preside Anna to preach. Deb is the musician.
Anna's schedule - Anna is away on holidays from July 25 - August 21 .  For pastoral emergencies during any of the away times please call Anna's cell at 403-852-7849 and she will work with you to find the help you need.  
Office Closed
Kelly will be on holidays from August 1st - August 21st. The office will be closed during that time and will re-open August 22.

St. Laurence Anglican Church | 5940 Lakeview Dr. SW | Calgary | Alberta | T3E 5A8 | Canada