Anglicans decide they are not breaching doctrine - Vote could worsen split in worldwide communion
Canadian Anglicans took a significant step towards endorsing gay partnerships at their synod in Winnipeg yesterday by voting after prolonged debate that they did not believe that they were in conflict with core church doctrine.
The move is likely to send waves through the worldwide Anglican communion, already teetering on the brink of schism over the third largest Christian denomination's attitude towards its homosexual and lesbian members.
Following hours of debate spread over two days, repeated attempts by Canadian conservatives to delay the move, or to change the size of the majority required under church rules to carry the motion, were headed off. Later yesterday the synod was moving on to debate whether dioceses could authorize services of blessing for committed same-sex couples.
Canada's Anglican bishops last night issued a statement saying: "While not all bishops can conceive of condoning or blessing same-sex unions, we believe it is not only appropriate but a Gospel imperative to pray with the whole people of God, no matter their circumstances ... to refuse to pray with any person is to suggest God is not with them."
Church leaders were pleased with the move. Among those voting in favor was the incoming primate, archbishop-elect Fred Hiltz, elected by lay and clergy synod members on Friday, largely because he was believed to be liberal on the issue.
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