Dean Peter Elliott before the Anglican Consultative Council in Nottingham, England (Photo by Canon James Rosenthal, Anglican Communion News Service)

Dean Peter Elliott, who led the Anglican Church of Canada’s presentation to the Anglican Consultative Council last month, believes that there is a great deal of support worldwide for “the inclusive attitudes of the Canadian and US churches.”

In a letter to his parish, Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, the Dean wrote that evidence of a “vigorous debate” within the Anglican Communion was clear at Nottingham, England, where Canadians and Americans were present but not participating as full voting members in the Council’s meeting June 19-24.

“It seems to me this is not so much a debate about sexuality as it is a struggle for power within the Church,” said Dean Elliott.

At the meeting, the Canadian Church was invited to explain its thinking behind recent actions in a 90 minute session, including the diocese’s request and Bishop Michael Ingham’s consent for a blessing of same sex unions.

“What was most interesting to me,” said the dean, “was the response from members of the Council.”

“I was listened to with respect, and after our presentation the Canadians hosted a reception to which we invited delegates and staff. About a third of the members of the Council came.”

He said people from a number of countries – including some from Provinces of the Anglican Communion (national or regional Churches) – thanked him for his remarks and those of other Canadian members.

“Most indicated that in their churches and cities they knew lesbian and gay couples and how life-giving these relationships are. It was a most refreshing and supportive time,” said Elliott.

The Council did vote, 30 to 28 in secret session (with the Canadians and Americans excluded), sanction the two North American Churches.

“The practical effect of the resolution [they passed] is nil,” said Dean Elliott, adding that the most punitive parts of a resolution originally brought had been “eviscerated.”

“For our church to minister effectively within the Canadian contest, [all] Anglicanism need to celebrate and claim our heritage as an open and inclusive church, one that is transparent about our differences, and held together by mutual bonds of affection in Christ.”

For the text of Dean Peter Elliott's article please go here.