Memorials to General Synod 2001
DIOCESE OF BRITISH COLUMIBIA
The following memorials from the 86th Session of the Synod of the Diocese of British Columbia is reported.
That the Synod of the Diocese of British Columbia memorialize the General Synod with respect to our concerns about clergy pensions:
That as this Synod has noted the very minimal pensions paid to senior retired clergy and their widows, it now urgently requests that The Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) Pension Committee take immediate action to make a realistic increase to the pensions of such clergy and their spouses by establishing a minimum level for annuitants entitled to a full pension which would also serve as a bench mark for those annuitants entitled to only a partial pension;
That this motion to ACC Pension Committee be brought to the attention of the Metropolitan of British Columbia and the other dioceses of the Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia in order to solicit their support for urgent and immediate action for this matter.
That the Synod of the Diocese of British Columbia memorialize the General Synod with respect to our concerns about Canon XXI on marriage.
Canon XXI, On Marriage, spells out the Anglican Church of Canada's discipline of marriage, divorce, and the marriage of divorced persons in the Church. Some of the provisions date from an era when the Church functioned (in addition to its role as guardian of the Christian Faith) in some semi-legal ways, serving the State. For example, the Church married persons by Banns, without a provincial marriage license (a vestige of our Church of England heritage).
The process of divorced persons applying the Matrimonial Commission for the Bishop's permission to marry in the Church, has become increasingly more pastoral, and less legalistic, in the Diocese in recent years. At present there is one aspect of the application process which often causes unnecessary pain for applicants and undermines the real healing work of the Church. When a divorced person is required to submit an original copy of the Order for Divorce (or the Degree Nisi for judgments handed down prior to 1967), the cost can be as high as $130. The applicant is understandably upset by the expense, and frequently inquires why it is that the Church is demanding a replay of provincial legal work. (A motion was passed by a previous Synod making the presentation of the Certificate of Divorce (or Decree Absolute) unnecessary for the purpose of applying for permission to marry in the church.)
Therefore we request the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada to review Canon XXI and with respect to incorporating the following suggestions for applicants to the Marriage Commission who have a divorce finalized in BC.
That no official documentation of the divorce will be required;
That, at the discretion of the Bishop, the Matrimonial Commission may require a photocopy of the Order for Divorce (or Decree Nisi);
That the photocopy be accompanied by a note from the priest submitting the application, testifying that this is a true copy of the document he or she has previewed;
That in place of the photocopy, a lawyer authorized by the Bishop may consult with the lawyer who drew up the documents in question, and advise the Commission as to the stipulations in the document.
That Divorce decrees from outside the Province of British Columbia still require a submission of original documents or court-certified copies of documents as stipulated in Canon XXI.
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