Two London newspapers carry reports about Canadian plans in relation to same sex blessings.
The Times Canadian Anglicans move closer to gay ‘marriages’
Telegraph Anglicanism on brink of schism over gay ‘marriage’
From The Times:
THE Anglican province at the centre of a row over same-sex blessings has put in place a plan to allow every diocese to approve gay “marriages”.
The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada is expected to agree in May that “the blessing of same-sex unions is within the authority of a diocesan synod and that any Canadian Anglican diocese, if the bishop agrees, has the authority to perform such blessings”.
The move is certain to deepen the crisis over gay people in the Anglican Church because it comes while the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lambeth Commission is still in the process of finding a way forward.
And from the Telegraph:
To the dismay of conservatives, it announced that its General Synod would be asked to affirm that there was no bar to Canadian dioceses authorising the blessing of “committed same-sex unions”.
One Canadian diocese has already unilaterally approved a rite for such blessings, and officials believe there is little doubt that the Synod will validate its decision.
Although illicit gay blessings are widespread in the Anglican Church, such a vote would be seen as the first clear endorsement of the practice by an entire province.
Here is the press release from Canada about this: Anglican council crafts motion on same-sex blessings issue
And, of equal importance but little reported in England, here is the report concerning proposals for Alternative Episcopal Oversight. This is a very lengthy document (also available in pdf format here) but contains as its key recommendation a proposal which I reproduce below. This is substantially different from the current English or Welsh arrangements for opponents of Women’s Ordination, and also substantially different from the current ECUSA proposals for dealing with similar matters to the Canadian situation.
6.2 Model #1
6.2.1 In the event that General Synod passes a resolution permitting dioceses to exercise local option on the matter of the blessing of same sex unions, this Task Force recommends that such option be exercised only by a resolution of diocesan synod. In dioceses affirming local option by a resolution of diocesan synod, dissenting and distressed parishes would be given the option of being placed in trust by the Diocesan Bishop. That Trust would be delivered into the hands of a Metropolitan, who then names the AEO bishop assigned by the Metropolitan of the Province. The parish(es) are then delivered into the hands of the AEO bishop by the Metropolitan of the Province. The selection of AEO bishops happens by nomination of the Metropolitans with the concurrence of the majority of the National House of Bishops, and Metropolitans will maintain a current list of such bishops. It is recommended that the AEO be a bishop living in reasonable proximity to the parish(es) requesting AEO. The AEO bishop is designated as Episcopal Assistant to the Metropolitan.
6.2.2 In keeping with the repeated admonition heard by the Task Force that the need for AEO is urgent and that the appointment of an AEO bishop must be temporary, we suggest that the appointment be for a six month term, renewable but not exceeding six years, with a review every two years. This “In Trust” model is similar to a trial separation in a marriage and assumes that there is the will on all sides to repent and work towards reconciliation. This timeframe also permits the church at various levels to continue to pray, study and discern God’s will and allows our Province to consider this subject at two further General Synods, and to receive the outcomes of deliberations from within the Anglican Communion.
6.2.3 This model of AEO assumes a conscience clause for parishes and clergy who decline to bless same sex unions. It is our hope that General Synod would provide such a conscience clause and ensure its continuing availability for parishes and clergy.Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 11 March 2004 at 4:40 PM GMT | TrackBack