Friday, July 6, 2007

Two Anglican parishes offer same-sex ceremonies

Priests say Synod resolution allows blessings
Marites N. Sison
staff writer
Anglican Journal
Jul 5, 2007

The dust has barely settled and already, different interpretations of the decisions General Synod made last month about human sexuality have led one parish to publicly offer blessings to same-gender unions, and another to say that it would not deny a parishioner's request for a same-sex marriage.

During its seven-day meeting in Winnipeg, the church's highest governing body approved a resolution saying that same-sex blessings are "not in conflict" with the church's core doctrine but defeated another that would have given dioceses the power to offer them in churches.

There is enough ambiguity in those decisions that it is left open to dioceses and churches to offer same-sex blessings, said Rev. Jim Ferry, who was fired for being involved in a homosexual relationship in 1991. He has since been given some duties at Holy Trinity church in downtown Toronto.

"I think at first there was some confusion (regarding the decisions on sexuality). But after having reflected on them, it seemed that the most important of the two resolutions (the one stating same-sex blessings are 'not in conflict' with Anglican core doctrine) had passed," said Mr. Ferry. "It's very positive. It moves us out of the realm of canon law into pastoral decision-making."

In Victoria, B.C., the rector of St. Saviour’s church, Rev. Antonio Osorio, invited lesbian and gay couples to be blessed in his parish during the Sunday service July 1. Four couples showed up to be blessed as a group and as couples, said Mr. Osorio.

"These were people in committed, faithful and long-term relationships," he said in a telephone interview. "They were there as friends, as members of our community and as volunteers of our church."

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