Arctic Anglicans seek conservative staffers only

Synod could make “essential beliefs” a condition of employment



Anglican ministers should read up on traditional values if they want to work in Nunavut — especially if church leaders agree to a motion that would require future employees affirm those values before signing on with the Diocese of the Arctic.

At a meeting last September, executive committee members of the diocese agreed to officially adopt the Montreal Declaration, a conservative tract that highlights traditional church values and opposes same-sex unions.

That decision will be put to a vote by the membership at its 2005 synod in Iqaluit this May.

Lay people, priests and bishops at the meeting will also be asked to decide whether to make affirmation of the Montreal Declaration mandatory for future employees.

The Montreal Declaration — written by conservative church members who met in Montreal in 1994 — was designed to affirm the “essential beliefs” of the Anglican Church.

Those beliefs include the notion that “adultery, fornication and homosexual unions are intimacies contrary to God’s design.”

The Anglican Journal reported Capt. Ron McLean, the acting dean of St. Jude’s Cathedral in Iqaluit, saying that adopting the Montreal Declaration “reflects where we are coming from in the North.”

McLean declined to comment further for this article; Diocesan Bishop Andrew Atagotaaluk was attending his daughter’s wedding and unavailable for comment.

The Diocese of the Arctic estimates their congregation to include about 16,000, with at least 14,000 in Nunavut, “if not more,” making it the largest religious denomination in the territory.

In the last three decades, the Anglican Church has generally taken a soft approach to the issue of same-sex marriage.

In 1979, the Canadian House of Bishops issued a statement explicitly offering homosexual persons “a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love and acceptance, concern and pastoral care of the church.”

That position was affirmed by the Canadian General Synod in 1995, following a study of homosexuality and homosexual relations.

An Anglican Diocese in New Westminster, B.C. agreed to bless same-sex unions in 2002.

Almost all members of the church denounce homophobia. The Montreal Declaration states that homophobia is an evil, “against which Christians must ever be on their guard.”

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