Sunday, 14 October 2007

Ottawa votes on same-sex blessings

A Canadian diocese has voted in its diocesan synod in favour of authorising same-sex blessings. As the Anglican Journal explains:

The synod of the diocese of Ottawa, by an overwhelming vote of 177 to 97, today approved a motion requesting its bishop to allow clergy “whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized” and to authorize rites for such blessings.

But despite what he called a “strong majority” (65 per cent in favour) and “a clear directive,” the diocesan bishop, John Chapman, cautioned that the approved motion was only “a recommendation and is not binding on the diocese or bishop.”

Read the Anglican Journal report in full here.

Earlier, this story was published: Embrace differences, regardless of outcome of vote, says Ottawa bishop.

The Ottawa Citizen reports Anglicans back same-sex blessings and includes the wording of the motion:

‘Be it resolved that this Synod requests that the Bishop grant permission for clergy, whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where one party is baptized; and that he authorizes an appropriate rite and guidelines for its use in supportive parishes.

The Toronto Star reports this as Synod backs gay rights.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 14 October 2007 at 1:06pm BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion
Comments

"Be it resolved that this Synod requests that the Bishop grant permission for clergy, whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where one party is baptized; and that he authorizes an appropriate rite and guidelines for its use in supportive parishes.: Ottawa Citizen

Hark! What is that sound the masses that attend Mass are making? Oh, it's about approving a "informed" majority conscience requesting "appropriate rites and guidelines" for ALL of Gods "committed" children/same-sex couples who love one another at The Body of Christ...so much for ONLY blessing the kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, sala and garage/domestic pets/livestock of the said same-sex couples NEW HOUSE (sort of a "back door" blessing/option)!

Let us see if Bishop John Chapman is a Canadian "believing/thinking/acting" version of
the majority of Bishops at TEC or simply doesn't want to endanger attending a different kind of festive occassion with the ABC and Queen?

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo, San Juan, Puerto Rico on Sunday, 14 October 2007 at 4:42pm BST

Ah, what a mess. They really ought not to have passed a motion like this, not just because it's against Scripture, but also because it clearly shows a lack of respect for the unity of the Communion. What's perhaps even more serious, though, is that they're not providing any mechanism for parishes disagreeing with this motion to get out of the diocese.

Posted by: Andrew on Sunday, 14 October 2007 at 5:17pm BST

I guess the believers who are surprised that anybody in Canadian church life, generally, and maybe Anglican believers in particular would notice that gay or lesbian couples can get civilly married just like straight Canadian citizens; so therefore the issue of the couple/family's status in local and diocesan (not to omit national) church life will come to the fore in ways which are not nearly so likely in other countries/provinces; have been living in hope against hope that queer folks would not show themselves to be roughly as competent in relationships and commitments as the average straight person in Canada seems to be.

Odd that such a believer stands, cheering on the Canadian and worldwide Anglican sidelines of commitment and care, hoping and praying and preaching that queer folks pledging commitment and care will soon fall flat on their faces, embarrased or exposed, shamed, in public view no less.

What sort of gospel witness is this sort of conservative religious cheerleading?

Surprised? The longer the conservative religious communities hide their head in the sands in neglect of the good witness being lived by gay or lesbian committed couples (whose care enriches the community in all sorts of obvious, common sense ways), the longer they will set themselves up for surprise when any queer person turns out in public view to be competent by anything more than superficial happenstance. Even happenstance successes and competencies will get disavowed by such conservative believers if the citizens involved are not straight, alas.

And hiding from the competency facts - and even going further to cheer lead against their merit and reality? - is sufficient reason for a parish to beg this strange realignment permission to leave the home diocese/province? Alas. Alack. Lord have mercy.

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 14 October 2007 at 7:00pm BST

Oh, brother. More "get out of the diocese" talk, as if this were the approved action now.

Here's what parishes who don't agree with the motion can do: they can ignore it, as it doesn't apply to them.

Sheesh. When did people become such wimps?

Posted by: bls on Sunday, 14 October 2007 at 8:36pm BST

"What's perhaps even more serious, though, is that they're not providing any mechanism for parishes disagreeing with this motion to get out of the diocese."

Why would such parishes need to? Nobody's telling them they have to bless same-sex marriages...in fact, the motion passed specifically says, "...clergy, WHOSE CONSCIENCE PERMITS, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages..."

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Sunday, 14 October 2007 at 9:27pm BST

May God bless the Canadians.

Dear God, where we can not fully heal ourselves, please give us the grace to make the most of whatever circumstances you decree to place us in. Please protect and nurture those who would encourage souls to live lives filled with love, commitment, faith, humility, charity, patience, endurance, nurturing, compassion and mercy. May your spirit roll out from such souls as wellsprings of divine hope so that they are healed and in turn heal even others. Allow their candles to be lit and to light others. Amen.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Sunday, 14 October 2007 at 9:44pm BST

It's our turn coming up next weekend, here in the Diocese of Montreal. We have a bishop, and a General Synod delegation who voted to affirm s-s blessings (at least a majority of delegates), but that's not representative of the views from the pews, so alot more work must be done here. However, +Barry Montreal will lead us in the right direction at the right time, whatever the outcome of our own motion on blessing civil s-s marriages (not s-s 'unions'), which is being moved by the Revd Canon Dr Paul Jennings, who was the Diocesan rep on the Primate's Theological Commission.

I invite your prayers for our delegates who meet starting on Friday next.

Posted by: Andrew in Montreal on Monday, 15 October 2007 at 3:26am BST

This makes it harder for the JSC fudge to be sold in the AC..... which is a good thing as that fudge lacks honesty.

Now, I would like to see Lind elected in Chicago in order to clarify TEC's ambiguous positions..... or has Schori persuaded Lind to play the long game and stand down already?

Posted by: NP on Monday, 15 October 2007 at 7:34am BST

I was there. I voted. I listened to the debate (bar 5 minutes for a break). Over 50 of the delegates spoke, and if more had wanted to, they would have been permitted.

While there was pain and passion on both sides, there were clear, unequivocal declarations of love and faith in the Lord Jesus as personal saviour -- on both sides. The debate showed clearly what one side (hi! NP) always denies -- the faithful and faith-full Christian lives of those who support blessing of civil marriages. THe majority may have included some wishy-washy "liberals" -- but then the minority included a couple of people who believe that you can't be gay, you can only be straight and making a clear choice to sin -- so that's probably even.

One good thing was that even the antis did not trot out the "gay life style" argument (though one person did say that he knew gay couples couldn't parent, because their children would not have a model of different gender behaviour in the house).

Can I point out that (as well as including a conscience clause) this motion was only about same-sex couples who are already married under the civil laws -- at this point it would still exclude an unmarried couple which under Canada's laws has the status of marriage but which has not had the right certificate registered. We were clearly recognizing that our gay brothers and sisters are called to faithful, monogamous, life-long fidelity.

Now all we have to do is re-call our straight brothers and sisters to the same.

John Holding

Posted by: John Holding on Monday, 15 October 2007 at 12:40pm BST

"it's against Scripture"

See, in order for this argument to have any weight, you have to reverse all the other decisions we have taken over the past 1700 years that also go against Scripture. You also have to challenge the "conservative" bishops in the ways that they go "against Scripture". You can't just pretend that going against Scripture is something new and heinous and was never done before people started wanting to be nice to sodomites. (tongue in cheek, people, chill). It is so funny how conservatives seem to think that this argument means we SHOULD do something, when all it is is a demonstration that you are not making a valid argument because you clearly have no trouble with going against Scripture in other areas. It is not "We've done it before, we can do it again" but "We've done it before, why are you pretending we haven't, and why is it so wrong in this particular issue when it isn't wrong in so many others?"

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 15 October 2007 at 1:57pm BST

My congratulations to Ottawa for an act of truly Christian courage. We all celebrate this, not as a victory of one point of view over another, but as evidence that the love of Christ can bring us through to the truth. And that truth is that we are all one, equal in the eyes of the creator and loved equally by the one that created us. As it says in scripture "there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28)

For those who have searched their souls and with all sincerity find this move forward hard to accept, we must also offer our love, our understanding and compassion.

May the spirit bless you all. I pray for similar courage and leadership in our own diocese.

Posted by: Jim Love on Monday, 15 October 2007 at 3:25pm BST

I recently left TEC because of what I saw as the cowardly decision of the bishops to put compromise with the Global South ahead of justice for GLBTs in the US. This decision by Ottawa makes me want to return the Anglican Communion--but can I have my episcopal oversight come from Canada?

Posted by: James on Monday, 15 October 2007 at 3:51pm BST

I assume some ministers of Canadian Churches, including Anglican ones are already marrying same sex couples in regular church servies. I know for a fact that Quaker meetings are doing so.

And some have been listed in the Marriages section of the Announcements columns of The Friend. The offical UK Quaker weekly organ.

Posted by: L Roberts on Monday, 15 October 2007 at 4:50pm BST

"I recently left TEC because of what I saw as the cowardly decision of the bishops to put compromise with the Global South ahead of justice for GLBTs in the US. This decision by Ottawa makes me want to return the Anglican Communion--but can I have my episcopal oversight come from Canada?" James

Brother James, Many
"conscientious objectors" fled to Canada during the Viet Nam war (some thought them cowardly)...they were later "forgiven" and restored to fullcitizenship by President Carter...perhaps you ought move to Canada and await a less "challenging time" for LGBT Christians at TEC that you have already resigned from...or there is always, the All Gay/All-the-time Metropolitan Community Church in downtown (almost anywhere) U.S.A...If you should have a "partner" (later) you can easily/legally be married in Canada too!

As far as expecting special "Gay room service oversight" well, I wouldn't hold my breath as the Canadians respect Provincial borders and won't be making house "calls."

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Monday, 15 October 2007 at 8:36pm BST

"they're not providing any mechanism for parishes disagreeing with this motion to get out of the diocese."

Why should they? They have passed a motion. Their bishop will take it to the House of Bishops before making a decision. He can refuse to implement this. So as it stands, we have a diocese saying they have no problem with this, but said diocese has not done anything about it and will bring it to the HOB before doing anytinhg. Where is the reason to "leave the diocese"? Are you so afraid of contamination by those who would show gay people a bit of compassion?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 16 October 2007 at 6:41pm BST

"Now, I would like to see Lind elected in Chicago in order to clarify TEC's ambiguous position..." -NP

What duplicitous behavior on the part of an Evangelical Christian, plotting and scheming like the Evangelical/Christian Right Yale "fratboy", who now occupies the White House, who, having spent U.S. tax-payers' dollars like a drunken sailor on his pet project, making war in Iraq, now vetoes a bi-partisan bill passed by the U.S. Congress to provide medical care for poor children whose parents cannot afford to buy health insurance (family plans now cost between $1,200 and 1,450.00 per month).

Posted by: John Henry on Tuesday, 16 October 2007 at 9:45pm BST

John Henry - you have a problem with someone hoping that TEC's duplicity is exposed by its own voters..... but I have not seen you complain about TEC bishops using words to try and deceive eg saying certain things are not "authorised" when they certainly permit them and even preside over them......as VGR has pointed out. You wouldn't have double standards here, would you?

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 at 7:28am BST

NP, three cheers for +VGR for being honest about his sexuality and doing away with the "double standard", which still exists everywhere--in the CofE, the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox--in their "don't ask and don't tell" policy with regard to gay clergy. For the past 2000 years there have always been gay bishops, priests and deacons--most of them not openly gay but closeted.

I recommend an excellent book by J. Neil Alexander, This Far by Grace: A Bishop's Journey through Questions about Homosexulity (2003). Torn whether or not to consent to VGR's election as a bishop, +JNA was going to vote NO until he heard a colleague, whom he respected, justify his NO vote, saying that he wished VGR had never told the truth about his sexuality.

Which do you prefer, NP, living a lie or telling the truth on the part of clergy?

Posted by: John Henry on Thursday, 18 October 2007 at 1:11am BST

In response to curiosity about churches that "officially" bless same sex marriages and in fact officiate at such marriages, the United Church of Canada has been conducting same sex marriages ever since it became legal for same sex couples to marry in Canada. They were blessing committed, faithful, same sex unions for a number of years before that. This is not a new debate for a Christian body in Canada.

Posted by: Rae Fletcher on Thursday, 18 October 2007 at 4:08am BST

John Henry asks "Which do you prefer, NP, living a lie or telling the truth on the part of clergy?"

I prefer honesty. I would have preferred honest standing by beliefs from TEC HOB too. And given most of the AC is quite happy with Lambeth 1.10's statement that certain behaviour is "incompatible with scripture", I would expect clergy to respond to that in an honest way too..... ie. not by exploiting "don't ask, don't tell" weak leadership.

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 18 October 2007 at 9:17am BST

"I prefer honesty."

So why do you reward dishonesty? If a gay man comes out, you denounce him as "not fit" to be ordained. Not, "No, the Church doesn't ordain gay people", but "You are NOT FIT to be a priest." Not fit. If said gay person kept his mouth shut and lied to you about his sexuality, you would not proclaim him "NOT FIT" for anything. So, you revile as "not fit" those who are honest, and you can defend the position that gay people shouldn't be ordained without reviling them, NP, you really can if you just give it a try. And remember, revilers are also mentioned in one of those verses you love so much, right along with us fags, so reviling is incompatible with Scripture as well, not that you seem to care. Then you come here and claim to prefer honesty. You can't even be honest with yourself how your obsession with getting rid of the Americans has led you from the Gospel!

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 18 October 2007 at 1:58pm BST

J. Neil Alexander, now Bishop of Atlanta but formerly a Theology professor at GTS and USTS (Sewanee), tells the following story (in his book mentioned above):

A student of his went home during spring break to have his final visit with his bishop before ordination. He was one of the top students. During the interview his bishop asked him if he was gay. The student thought it probably was not a good thing to lie to his bishop; so he told him that he was gay. The bishop then said that, as a result of his 'confession', he could not be ordained. After a few moments of stunned silence, the bishop spoke again, with tears in his eyes: "Son, I wanted to ordain you more than I have wanted to ordain anyone... Why didn't you lie to me?"

TEC will be all the better after +VGR's consecration, because we have determined to be a church that tells the truth, even when it is painful. Thanks be to God!

+Tom Dunelm, who is opposed to +VGR's consecration by TEC, has outstanding gay clergy in his diocese--as long as they remain closeted and live a lie.

Posted by: John Henry on Thursday, 18 October 2007 at 8:29pm BST

For those still following this item the Diocese of Montreal, Anglican Church of Canada tonight (Friday Oct 19) passed by a majority of 2 to 1 a motion almost identical to the one passed by the Dicoese of Ottawa regarding a request to the bishop to permit the blessing of legally registered same sex civil marriages (which are legal in Canada).

Posted by: Rae Fletcher on Saturday, 20 October 2007 at 5:29am BST

Great news Rae. It baffles me that sisters and brothers south of Lake Ontario should get so much grief while you guys quietly get on.

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Saturday, 20 October 2007 at 11:37pm BST

Ford - honesty is no defence for "don't ask, don't tell" policies....

Telling a lie is a sin of commission, obviously, but there is no excuse for sins of omission - not if people want to claim to be honest.... is there?

Posted by: NP on Monday, 22 October 2007 at 10:08am BST

Ford

Console yourself, someone who is blind is not telling a lie when they say they can't see something.

We forgive a blind soul for not seeing something, we don't call it a sin.

Making accusations is a sin of commission, just as is refusing forgiveness and judging others.

I do wish that some would learn that they are to judge others as they will be judged. To those with mercy, mercy will be granted, to those with no tolerance, no tolerance will be granted.

That's why Paul tells us that those who live by the law will die by the law, as it is impossible to avoid every transgression and it only takes one to fail. We are all fallen sinners and all dependent on grace, that comes from God not arrogant selfish souls. They get rebuked regularly and royalling for being the complacent prats that they are.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Monday, 22 October 2007 at 9:57pm BST
Post a comment









Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.