This page contains reports, decisions and pastoral letters of The Presbyterian Church in Canada related to sexuality, sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as reports from the past three decades for historical context about how the church has addressed questions related to sexuality and LGBTQI inclusion. Reports to the 2021 General Assembly will be added to this page soon. In the meantime, 2021 reports may be found on PC-Biz.

The 2021 General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada met online from June 6-9, 2021. After years of prayerful debate and study, commissioners to General Assembly approved many decisions that will impact the PCC’s ministry to and with LGBTQI people.

  1.  The Presbyterian Church in Canada agreed to make changes to its theology and practice regarding marriage, permitting people to choose to define marriage either as a covenant relationship between a man and a woman or as a covenant relationship between two adult people. This decision provides Presbyterian ministers with liberty of conscience and the freedom to choose to officiate or not officiate at the marriages of same-sex couples.
  2. The church agreed that LGBTQI people (whether married or single) can be ordained and are welcome to serve as ministers and ruling elders.
  3. All recommendations from the Rainbow Communion were adopted. Some highlights include:
  • The Presbyterian Church in Canada affirms that all people whatever their sexual orientation or gender identity are equally beloved by God.
  • Identifying as LGBTQI and/or being in a same-sex marriage is not grounds for discipline and censure in The Presbyterian Church in Canada.
  • The Presbyterian Church in Canada will offer a public confession to all individuals and congregations harmed by the church through exclusion and marginalization, seeking forgiveness from God and from all those affected.
  • Resources will be created in the coming years to equip an inclusive church and a fund will be established to support psychotherapy/counselling for those who have experienced harm done by homophobia, hypocrisy, transphobia and heterosexism in the denomination.

The following are highlights of reports and decisions of previous General Assemblies:

  • The church as a whole must repent of its homophobia and hypocrisy. The church is called to be a welcoming, nurturing, loving and supporting community, a true church family, where all are welcomed, nurtured, loved and supported. (1994)
  • Ministers and church leaders need to make it clear that they are prepared to listen and help their LGBTQI parishioners especially when they have been marginalized within the Church. Negative social behaviour and anger towards LGBTQI people should not be tolerated within a congregation. (2000)
  • Studies have not revealed any scriptural, scientific or pastoral basis or justification for programs to change a person’s sexual orientation and therefore acknowledge that any form of conversion or reparative therapy is not a helpful or appropriate pastoral response to those who identify as LGBTQI. (2003 and 2019)
  • In a process of confession, the church needs to study and recommend methods of pastoral care that are specific for LGBTQI people, as advised by members of the LGBTQI community themselves. (2017)
2019 General Assembly Summary of Decisions Regarding Human Sexuality
Liberty of Conscience and Action
2018 Report of Committee on Church Doctrine and Life and Mission Agency Committee Re Sexuality Overtures
2017 Report of Committee on Church Doctrine and Life and Mission Agency Committee Re Sexuality Overtures
Interim Report of the Special Committee on Sexual Orientation, 2000
Report of the Special Committee on Sexual Orientation 2003
Report on Human Sexuality, Committee on Church Doctrine, 1994
Supplementary: Proposal for a Process of Dealing with Overtures Regarding Human Sexuality

Pastoral Letters

In March 2021, the Rev. Amanda Currie, Moderator, wrote a pastoral letter to the church reaffirming the need to uphold the church’s promise to rebuild broken communities and relationships with LGBTQI people who have experienced harm in the church.

In September of 2019, at the request of the General Assembly, the Rev. Amanda Currie, Moderator, wrote a pastoral letter to the church with regard to the recommendations about sexuality adopted at the 2019 General Assembly.

In February of 2018, the Rev. Peter Bush, Moderator of the 2018 General Assembly issued a letter of repentence at the direction of the 2017 General Assembly.

In August of 2017, the Rev. Peter Bush, Moderator of the 2017 General Assembly wrote a pastoral letter to the church about the sexuality discussion the courts of the church are having.

In January 2016, the Rev. Karen Horst, Moderator of the 141st General Assembly, wrote a pastoral letter to the church about the discussion the denomination is having about human sexuality; this followed a previous pastoral letter sent in November 2015.