Integrity/Toronto, a homosexual rights group active in the Anglican Church of Canada, held a ‘Service of Outrage’ on August 28 at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto.

It was in support of Rev. James Ferry, dismissed from St. Philip’s-on-the-Hill Church in Unionville, Ontario, because he refused to sever relations with his homosexual lover.

Toronto Anglican Archbishop, Terence Finlay said he withdrew Ferry’s license because the priest contravened church discipline and guidelines by remaining in a continuing relationship with another man.  The Archbishop said the policy agreed to by the National House of Anglican Bishops was quite clear.

Polarizing the church

Integrity’s summer news-letter accused Finlay of polarizing the church on homosexuality, causing panic among homosexual clergy, and confirming the suspicion that the church is ‘anti-gay’.

Ferry’s lawyer, Valerie Edwards, said that the dismissed priest intended to sue: “It is our view that the reverend’s dismissal was without justification and that he was denied the protection of the church’s own grievance procedures.”

Toronto assistant Bishop, Douglas Blackwell, said in a sermon in Unionville, however, that the bishops have said that the tradition and teaching of the church must be maintained, until and if these are adjusted by “the synods and councils of the wider church under the guidance of God.”

Interviewed in Phoenix, Arizona, in July, while attending a convention of the Episcopal Church, retired Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, said he saw no easy solution to sexual issues such as homosexual clergy, the Toronto Star reported.

Lambeth Conference

He went on to link the recent controversies over sexual morality to the decision by the Lambeth Conference in 1930 that it was compatible with Christian belief for Christian couples to use artificial birth control.  He said that contraception “made the enjoyment of sexual experience an end rather than always having to be related to procreation.  It opened all sorts of new interpretations.”