staff writer, Angican Journal
Jun 24, 2007
Canadian Anglicans, meeting at their General Synod governing convention, voted by the slimmest of margins to defeat a proposal that would have permitted church blessing rites for gay couples.
However, on the same day, the synod – also by a narrow margin – agreed that such blessings are "not in conflict with the core doctrine" of the church. Much of the sixth day of the synod was taken up with debate on the two questions, with dozens of people approaching microphones in the plenary hall to voice emotional opinions.
Proponents of the measure said Bible verses that seem to condemn homosexuality do not address faithful, loving relationships and that God and Christ’s love includes gay people and their relationships. They also called upon the Canadian church to show leadership and give hope to gay people in countries where they are oppressed and they noted that gay marriage is a legal reality in Canada. Clergy and bishops wanting blessings talked of widespread disobedience of a "no" vote.
"There is disappointment – a lot of pain. Some people will be saying 'How long, O Lord, how long?'" said Bishop Fred Hiltz of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, who is the incoming primate or national archbishop. When asked how he might maintain discipline among clergy and bishops who want to move forward, he said, "My sense is that, as painful as these realities are, we do have a responsibility to respect the decisions of General Synod. It’s not the last time this will come up."
"I am not upset. The tide is moving (toward approval). The first motion (concerning doctrine) makes a theological space for gay and lesbian people in the church," said Ron Chaplin, a Synod observer who is a member of the Ottawa branch of Integrity, a gay Anglican support group.
Click here to read the entire article.