Updated Sunday 7 pm BST
Same-sex blessings consistent with core doctrine
Winnipeg, June 24, 2007 — Members of the Anglican Church of Canada’s General Synod in Winnipeg agreed Sunday that the blessing of same-sex unions is not in conflict with the church’s core doctrine, in the sense of being credal.
Debate resumed Sunday morning after being suspended late Saturday.
The motion carried reads: “That this General Synod resolves that the blessing of same-sex unions is not in conflict with the core doctrine (in the sense of being credal) of the Anglican Church of Canada.
The motion was carried by a vote of 152 for, 97 against in the house of clergy and laity and by a vote of 21 for and 19 against in the house of bishops.
More detail can be found in the daily editions available as PDF files here.
The Halifax Daily News reported on the primatial election: Nova Scotia bishop to head Anglican Church of Canada.
This report filed last Friday by Stephen Bates of the Guardian never made it into the newspaper:
Canadian Anglicans last night confounded many expectations by narrowly electing a liberal male bishop as their next church leader instead of a conservative woman bishop.
In a move which may have implications for debates at the Canadian Synod in Winnipeg today (sat) on whether the church should authorise same sex blessing services for gay couples, lay and clergy representatives elected the Rt. Rev. Fred Hiltz, the bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Isle, as their next primate, instead of Bishop Victoria Matthews of Edmonton who, if she had won, would have become the first-ever woman archbishop.
Bishop Hiltz, who has spent his entire 30 year ministry on Nova Scotia, is thought to favour the Canadian church pressing ahead with officially recognising committed gay partnerships. If it does so this weekend there will be immediate demands from conservative evangelicals for the church to be thrown out of the worldwide Anglican communion.
Last night the archbishop-elect spoke cautiously about respecting whatever decision the synod takes – he will have no alternative but to do so – but offered some coded clues as he added that the Anglican communion needed to look at all dimensions of the gay issue and the “full range of interpretations of scripture in matters of pastoral care and justice.” Church conservatives say the issue does not need interpreting because the Bible is plain.
Asked about African bishops trespassing in Canadian dioceses on behalf of conservative parishes, as they have done in the US, he said bluntly: “It’s not on.”
The bishop’s election after five ballots at a church in downtown Winnipeg was greeted by young representatives with whoops of delight. Unusually they had supported Hiltz in preference to the woman bishop, Victoria Matthews, because of her perceived hostility to blessings for gays.
Canada is one of the few countries in the world which allows gays to marry and delegates today will demand that the local church should move with the times and not delay a decision any further.