The Zacchaeus Fellowship consists of those across Canada who were active in the homosexual lifestyle, or who have struggled with exclusively same-gender attractions. We believe that God has laid out His plan for sexual relationships in terms of heterosexuality within the bounds of holy matrimony as outlined in the Bible. Through our personal experiences and journeys, we have accepted God’s admonition against any other principle of human sexual relations. Some of us have understood the brokenness which led to our inappropriate sexual behaviour and desires and now live in a restored maleness or femaleness, expressed within the bounds of a traditional marriage. Others remain celibate, acknowledging that same-gender sexual acts are not part of God’s plan for humanity and thus choosing not to be disobedient to His teachings through Scripture.
We are united in our commitment to the authority of God revealed in Holy Scripture, and we reject the resolutions of the 2004 General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada asserting the sanctity and integrity of same-sex unions. We believe that to facilitate the blessing of same-sex unions, without listening to the stories of God’s transforming power in the lives of those of us who have experienced it in our lives, is to act irresponsibly and without weighing all the facts.
We also believe that the creation of rites for the blessing of same-sex unions and the consecration of openly homosexual bishops show a blatant disregard for those seeking pastoral care, moral direction from the Church, and God’s transforming power for the living out of their lives and the ordering of their relationships, as agreed upon in Lambeth Resolution 1.10 [Appendix Three, #6, pp 77-78]
The key for us has been the sanctity of God’s teaching in the Bible. We believe and accept His teachings outlined throughout Scriptures. It was within an environment of love shown by Christians that we were able to acknowledge the sinfulness of our past and to repent and begin to lead the life God designed for us. It was the true agape love of those Christians which showed us the true love of God and His desire to bring us into a right relationship with our sexuality. We were taught, and read for ourselves, God’s Word which revealed His true plan for us. It was the Holy Spirit working within us which led us to repentance and change. We affirm that we were led by love rather than peer pressure.
We are saddened by the divisiveness the homosexual issues are bringing to our church. We agree that our communion is about “building up the body in love.” [Paragraph 7, p. 13] That is our goal, yes, but it should be based squarely on the teachings of God revealed in Scriptures. We welcome in love, we teach in love, but we don’t condone wrongful behaviour in love; to the contrary, we point it out in love and seek ways to heal brokenness, in love. We also heartily agree with the Windsor Report that there should never be homophobic rhetoric or actions [Paragraph 146, p. 57].
When we, the members of the Zacchaeus Fellowship, began taking the Bible’s teachings as signs of God’s love, we were able to see God’s mercy, forgiveness, and healing in a much different light. We were able to experience the truth behind the maxim “hate the sin, love the sinner.” We could understand that God could hate what we did (or wanted to do), but still love us. We also realized that our sexuality does not define our humanity in the eyes of God, nor should it in the eyes of others.
Having experienced God’s Grace in our lives, the members of the Zacchaeus Fellowship are witnesses to God’s Holy Spirit and His transforming power. It is not loving for the Church to encourage us to live in slavery to this mortal flesh, and not honest to assert that change is not possible. The Church should, we believe, empower us to draw closer to God by offering our bodies as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing unto God, in accordance with His Holy Word. By its recent actions to welcome and include those whom we believe have chosen their own ways over obedience to God’s Word, the Anglican Church of Canada has made us feel marginalized and no longer welcome as members. There is no doubt this is a contentious issue. It needs to be dealt with on the global level by the Primates and their consensus affirmed by the individual provinces, and perhaps even the local dioceses.
Over the past several decades, the church has drifted in its pastoral responses to major social justice issues. Rather than seeking Biblically based answers, it has tended to go with the flow of secular society. The Windsor Report called it “surrendering to the spirit of the age rather than an authentic development of the gospel.” We heartily agree! We have reached a critical point in the history of the Anglican Communion. If it is to survive and flourish, we must repent and begin anew.
We urge the Primates to take a strong stand against the actions of ECUSA, the Diocese of New Westminster, and the Anglican Church of Canada. Their actions precipitated this crisis and only their actions can resolve it. Rather than fearing to offend, rather than adopting the principle “if it feels right for someone, then it must be right for that person,” rather than diluting the hope of God’s Gospel message, the Primates of the Anglican Communion need to take affirmative action against apostasy and uphold God’s plan.
We agree that those Primates and bishops in other provinces who responded were in violation of the generally agreed principles of our Communion, but we cannot fault them for responding pastorally to the desperate needs of those negatively impacted by ECUSA, the Diocese of New Westminster, and the Anglican Church of Canada. We support the apostolic nature of the episcopacy, but what do we do when we feel that our spiritual leadership has been compromised? To whom can we turn, if not another leader in the Communion? It is worth considering the idea of parallel jurisdiction and its consequences [Paragraph 154, p. 59].
We encourage the leaders of the church to consider carefully the recommendation with regard to a moratorium on public Rites of Blessings for same sex unions. It is our reading that this recommendation is not only for a moratorium on public Rites of Blessing of same sex unions in jurisdictions where they have not yet occurred but rather a ‘moratorium on ALL (our emphasis) such public Rites’ [Paragraph 144, p. 57].
We pray that the Holy Spirit will lead our Communion out of the murky darkness of its current crisis into the revealed light of Christ’s transforming love.
Respectfully submitted by:
The Reverend Dr Don Alcock and the Reverend C. Dawn McDonald on behalf of the Zacchaeus Fellowship.
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