Thinking Anglicans

Canada: blessing of same-sex unions defeated

Updated again Monday evening

Following the earlier vote in which a motion on principle (“not core doctrine”) was very narrowly passed, the resolution permitting local option was equally narrowly defeated:

Blessing of same-sex unions defeated
Winnipeg, June 24, 2007 — The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada has narrowly defeated a resolution that would have allowed dioceses to decide for themselves whether or not to bless same-sex unions.

Lay delegates voted 78 to 59 in favor of the motion and clergy voted 63 to 53 in favor But the House of Bishops voted 21-19 against it. As a result the motion was defeated, since it required approval by each of the three orders to pass.

The motion read:

“That this General Synod affirm the authority and jurisdiction of any diocesan synod,

1. with the concurrence of the diocesan bishop, and
2. in a manner which respects the conscience of the incumbent and the will of the parish,

to authorize the blessing of committed same-sex unions.”

Anglican Journal had an earlier report: Debate continues on same-sex blessings.

There is a report on the New Westminster diocesan website General Synod turns down blessing by narrow margin.

Monday morning updates

Anglican Journal has Synod narrowly defeats same-sex blessings by Solange De Santis.

Guardian has Canada’s bishops veto synod on gay blessings by Stephen Bates.

Winnipeg Free Press has Anglican Church of Canada shies away from blessing same sex unions.

The New York Times carries a version of the Reuters report: Canada Anglicans Won’t Bless Gay Couples. Longer version of this report here in the Guardian.

The Washington Post carries the Associated Press report: Canada Anglicans Sideline Gay Blessings.

The BBC carries this headline: No gay blessings in Canada Church.

Monday evening updates

Toronto Globe and Mail Michael Valpy Bishops narrowly overturn vote to approve gay unions.

Anglican Journal Marites N Sison Emotions run high after blessings defeated.

CBC News Montreal Anglicans dismayed by same-sex blessing vote.

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Hugh of Lincoln
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Hugh of Lincoln

A great pity, especially as laity and clergy were decisively in favour. Realpolitik seems to have got the better of two swing bishops.

No side is claiming victory tonight, though, because the two resolutions are contradictory. Will wait to see what happens re New Westminster.

Ren Aguila
Guest
Ren Aguila

I think it should be noted that the Anglican Church’s partner in full communion, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada also defeated a same-sex blessings proposal by a narrow margin.

If the outcome were any different, there would have been quite a furor, as the two Synods were meeting in the same city at the same time.

But I fully expect that the “core doctrine” decision would be the signal certain groups have been waiting for to intervene.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

But as its not against doctrine, then all it says is that it is not expressedly allowed – I very much doubt that it will be acted against – and the new primate is supportive.

nearly there, I’d say.

Andrew Innes
Guest
Andrew Innes

This is a very sad day for me personally but I view it as a phyrric victory for the forces that oppose the BSSU’s. It seems to me that the situation is analagous to a vote in the House of Commons which is overturned by, in our case, the Senate or in the UK, the House of Lords,in both situations, the chamber of “sober second thought.” It is pretty clear that the HOB realises that they have bought very little time; in fact, their statement of a few months ago seems, in retrospect, to have anticipated this result (perhaps they… Read more »

David H.
Guest

Some Canadian friends have made a relevant point about the Bishops’ vote. This being that conservative, rural sensibilities are quite over-represented in the ACoC HoB (one bishop, one diocese, one vote – whether you’re from Toronto or “the back of beyond”). And even then it was razor close. I grieve for my GLBT brothers and sisters who got slapped in the face by their bishops, but this won’t stand for long. Just look at the votes of the laity and clergy to see how Canadian Anglicans really feel about this issue. And they’ll still get to SSB before we do… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“The arc is long, but the universe bends towards justice”: Martin Luther King, Jr.

The two-vote margin against SSBs among the Canadian bishops is a bitter pill, to be sure . . . but I’m *convinced* its effects will be short-lived.

The Holy Spirit is, as always, MOVING, and more and more Anglicans (in North America and around the world!) are hurrying to catch up. Alleluia! 🙂

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Andrew’s comments included “…they must act quickly to address in clear, concrete, terms the “pastoral needs” of GBLT persons within their dioceses…” Indeed. I was talking to someone today who is witnessing a parish disintegrate as the younger adults are leaving. The issue has become that autocracy is running amock and the development of the parishioners shunted to one side whilst the priest asserts his spiritual authority over the parish. The conversation also included a comment that while homosexuality might not be approved of in the bible, they are entitled to be treated with respect. My other personal contemplation is… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

JCF – is this the same Holy Spirit who inspired scriptures which emphatically do not support your position???

I doubt it….unlike the Canadian votes, he does not go in for contradictory views held at the same time

Brian
Guest

This is a curious situation, as the General Synod has now neither “affirm[ed] the authority and jurisdiction” of dioceses to “authorise the blessing of same-sex unions”, nor explicitly denied them that authority.

It is similar to the Australian situation, in which the General Synod decided that it could “not condone” the blessing of same-sex unions. It did not explicitly prohibit same-sex blessings, but everyone seems to assumes that that is what was intended.

Susan in Georgia
Guest
Susan in Georgia

While the failure to approve blessings of same-sex unions is disappointing, I think you are missing the importance of the declaration that blessing them is not a threat to the creed of the Canadian Church. This is a theological statement and thus a challenge to the theology of the conservatives. Between the lines, the Canadian church is saying that opposition to homosexuality is NOT a core doctrine of the church — it is not required to be an Anglican, thus it is not required to be a Christian. This is laying the groundwork for full acceptance of LGBT people in… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“I grieve for my GLBT brothers and sisters who got slapped in the face by their bishops,”

Please! I am a gay man and do not feel at all slapped in the face, thanks. I appreciate that some do, but there is another side that would have felt just as slapped in the face by any other decision. It’s this kind of high emotion and offense taking on both sides that has gotten us into this mess.

David H.
Guest

Add’l info on the make-up of the ACoC HoB. So the representation is even *more* lopsided than I orig implied:

“The Arctic has 2 suffragans, and Saskatchewan has 1 suffragan (though he is retiring soon) whereas Niagara and NewWest have only the diocesan. (Anne Tottenham is part-time assisting bishop in Niagara, but I don’t think she gets a seat).

Thus the smaller (and more conservative) dioceses have disproportionate representation among the Bishops.”

(comment orig appeared on Fr. Jake’s website by a third party).

Pluralist
Guest

The Holy Spirit might be having a rethink. For all the miracles in the world the Holy Spirit has not yet found out how to reverse history so to change a text in a book, but a voice in my head telling me this also says its not his method anyway. Meanwhile I’m wondering why the Holy Spirit keeps sending so much rain, allows the prices of utilities to be so high, causes awkward neighbours, makes looking for jobs so frustrating, causes some people to be argumentative, as well as adding text to some books deemed holy now and again.

Pisco Sours
Guest

NP, you mean like inspiring Matthew 5:17-18 and Galatians 3:23-26? That Holy Spirit?

Raspberry Rabbit
Guest

Maybe I’m just a ‘glass half full’ sorta guy. I was glued to my computer screen for a good part of the day – difficult because it was a Sunday and I had folks over for a BBQ in the afternoon and early evening. I kept disappearing for chunks of time and nobody seemed to notice (which may itself be a problem). I was particularly taken taken by the debate – both the two debates on the resolutions and the ‘committee of the whole’ discussion. The way in which different positions were expressed was tremendous as well as the degree… Read more »

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

I appreciate your empathy, and expression of support of your LGBT sisters and brothers David H.

I think individual ministers in Canada should just get on now, and start marrying all couples. I beleive it would be legal as well as spiritual (if such a dichotomy can be tenable). Otherwise some of these couple will be drawing their pensions by the time theGS evuntually says,
” ‘S OK to”.

NP
Guest
NP

Pisco – unless you really do not understand the passages you quote, your point is very weak indeed…..I would not be surpriseed if you now ask if I eat bacon!

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Well whether you are staying, leaving, or floating around among faith communities like me lately; the beat goes on. The oddest thing about NP’s post is not its blind, closed, done-and-do-not-bother-me-with-the-facts-of-queer-competencies, thank-you-very-much Refusals – that Closed Refusal seems a given frame among the new conservative views of homosexuality. One blessed and remarkable thing is that whether NP likes it or not, according to his/her informed new conservative Anglican conscience, the facts of love and good among same-sex couples on the Canadian ground are changing, way for the better. If you are a man or woman in a gay couple in… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“Between the lines, the Canadian church is saying that opposition to homosexuality is NOT a core doctrine of the church — it is not required to be an Anglican, thus it is not required to be a Christian. This is laying the groundwork for full acceptance of LGBT people in a way that, it seems to me though I may be incorrect, that the Episcopal Church has not” Depends on how you parse the outcome of the presentment against Bishop Righter. He was attacked for ordaining a gay man to the priesthood. The finding was that how the church viewed… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

NP,

The *same* Holy Spirit who INFINITELY LOVES YOU, despite your tired “Is not!” routine (due to the heat of the day here, you’ll understand if I have no motivation to engage in a round of “Is too!”? ;-/)

The writing is on the wall, Praise Christ, and that writing is “Same-sex blessings ARE coming, and soon!”

John Bassett
Guest
John Bassett

Ford, I agree with you. As a gay man in a 24 year relationship, I really do not think that I need any sacramental support from the church other than baptism and communion. I do not think that having some earnest, probably straight, clergyperson blessing me would add anything to my relationship.

I love the church, but I only expect so much from it as an institution.

*Christopher
Guest

I’m pleased. They’ve said a vital thing here distinguishing Core Doctrine from doctrine. The end of thrusting sexuality as a articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae matter that too often has tended to conflate the Trinity with sexuality and moral theology on that topic, which are responses to the Trinity, not a matter of the Trinity proper. I do wish that instead of talking about blessings, we would talk more about vows. It is the vows that are the ground for relationships and commitments. Pastoral provisions must attend to matters of vows and the import as such for Christians, prayers or… Read more »

Pisco Sours
Guest

NP: I’ve only been a Christian for a year, but those two passages seem crystal clear to me. I thought the orthodox liked clarity. But please do explicate them for me. I can’t wait to hear this.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Actually, *Christopher, “they” said this over a year ago. It was the substance of the St. Michael Report. And: “Pastoral provisions must attend to matters of vows and the import as such for Christians, prayers or no prayers, Eucharist or no Eucharist.” is an extremely alarming statement. For me, the Eucharist is the single most important act of Christian wqorship, in the words of the African martyrs in the time of Diocletian, “it is what we do.” You seem to be suggesting it has something of a minor role, or at least is not as important as the vows we… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

“- is this the same Holy Spirit who inspired scriptures which emphatically do not support your position??? …he does not go in for contradictory views held at the same time…” Note the presumption that Holy Spirit is masculine. Only a few weeks ago a conservative rightly pointed out that Holy Spirit could be masculine or feminine. The bible is redolent with paradoxes. For example, on one hand Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek and walk away from the aggressive and inhospitable. Yet on the other hand he calls on his disciples to take up swords to defend themselves.… Read more »

C.B.
Guest
C.B.

John Bassett and Ford – I will keep posting here that while church acknowledged marriage appears to be between just two people, it also has a significant role to play in the lives of an entire family. As a gay Christian in a long term relationship with our own children, the church has a role to play in helping to explain/confirm the nature of our relationship as a couple and a family, one to another. No, I do not need the church to affirm my relationship to my partner. Yes, it would be help in raising our children if they… Read more »

Davis d'Ambly
Guest
Davis d'Ambly

“I love the church, but I only expect so much from it as an institution.” John Bassett

John I have to agree with you on this point. After a lifetime of faithfull service to this institution, one expects very little.

As to what it would add to your relationship – Ubi Caritas…

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

Windsor bemoans the “surrendering to the spirit of the age” in the context of SSBs. Could this be the Spirit guiding us now? Synod has completed its lengthy period of discernment as per The Windsor Report Section D 139. It satisfies the requirement in 141 that, “In order for these bonds [of Communion] to be properly acknowledged and addressed, the churches proposing to take action must be able, as a beginning, to demonstrate to the rest of the Communion why their proposal meets the criteria of scripture, tradition and reason. In order to be received as a legitimate development of… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

*Christoper said,
“It is the vows that are the ground for relationships and commitments.”

Then Anglicanism may not be for you. We have priests and bishops who have absolutely no regard for the ordination vows they made to God. See the lunacy of Anne Holmes Redding’s two-timing as a Episcopal priest and a practicing Muslim along with her bishop’s endorsement of this “experiment” as the latest exhibit.

If TEC leadership is so willing to sully vows they made to God, why should you think they will take any vows you make seriously?

NP
Guest
NP

JCF – what writing is on the wall???
We have seen a completely unsurprising decision from a small, declining province of the AC which has been dominated for years by liberals and is as a result very different to the rest of the AC…..if there is writing on the wall it says “not surprised” and “so what?” because this does not change the “mind of the Communion” (to use the ABC’s phrase)

NP
Guest
NP
Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

“Small”. “Declining”. Back on the numbers game, NP?

Prior Aelred
Guest

Hugh of Lincoln on Tuesday, 26 June 2007 at 1:05am BST — “Windsor bemoans the “surrendering to the spirit of the age” in the context of SSBs. Could this be the Spirit guiding us now?” I think that the answer has to be, “Yes” — the institutional church always seems to stifle the Holy Spirit — not a single bishop voted with Wilberforce & in the States the only abolitionist bishop was Potter of New York (depressing, really) — we are fortunate that there were no bishops present at the creation, for they would have said, “Pray Lord, let us… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“the church has a role to play in helping to explain/confirm the nature of our relationship as a couple and a family, one to another. “ I would argue this. I truly don’t understand matrimony as sacrament. I have the sneaking suspicion that it is actually a move by the Imperial Church to control the behaviour, especially the sexual behaviour, of hoi polloi. Marriage ought not to be about validating relationships, but we clearly use it like that. We validate the relationships of unbelieving heteros, which I think is a great misuse of and disrespect to any sacrament, even one… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“so you can see what verses mean”

You ought to say
“so you can see what verses mean TO ME”

Stop behaving as if your understanding is the absolute truth and the rest of us should just fall in line with you. What makes you right and others wrong? Because you have decided God is on your side? You ought to be worrying about whether or not you are on God’s side. Or have you received some sort of spiritual gift?

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest

All mainstream Canadian churches are in decline – to attribute this to liberalism in the ACC’s case is a fallacy.

NP
Guest
NP

Lapin – it is true that liberal churches all over the AC including TEC are small and declining…….just a fact, even if you look at TEC nos And it is also a fact that the failure to include more people of the “inclusive” experiment in the last 50 years means that the AC is less inclined to listen to the arguments of people with decades of decline behind them – sorry, but this is true. You really think the ABC is going to ditch thriving Reform and Alpha churches for a declining liberal churches which drain central resources like there… Read more »

*Christopher
Guest

No, Ford. I’m saying that irrespective of whether a local congregation will celebrate our commitment within the context of prayers and Eucharist, or not, the vows we make to one another are the outward expression of the inward grace of giving oneself to the other. Baptism and Eucharist are the ground and sustenance for such self-giving. So put the alarm bells away.

*Christopher
Guest

And Ford, they may have “said” it a year ago, but now it has been passed as official. That’s the point I was making.

*Christopher
Guest

Oh, and we don’t “make Eucharist”, God does and our response of thanks is caught up already in Christ who is the Great Thanksgiver and Great Thanksgiving. You tend to find everyone else’s tone here shrill, but I find your own alarmist.

Charles Nurse
Guest
Charles Nurse

As a delegate that sat through both days (about a total of 8 hours) of debate, the most important resolution was the first one – “That the blessing of same-sex unions is not in conflict with core doctrine (in the sense of being credal)”. This passed by about a 63% vote in laity and clergy and 21-19 in the bishops. It is true that the local option motion failed – passing in laity by about 60%, in clergy by 55% – failing in the Bishops by the same margin (21-19) – two bishops voted yes to the first motion and… Read more »

RA
Guest
RA

The Canadian bishops defeats the motion to bless same-sex unions, and the liberals are bending all out of shape. I do not however, applaud the Canadians. They and their TEC cohorts should rather be voting on whether the Scripture matters to them and their churches anymore.

As far as I can see, the scripture has become for them so old-fashioned, so out of place, such a relic of the past. Let them be courageous enough to say Scripture does not play any central role in their faith formation anymore and it shall be clear where they stand.

Prior Aelred
Guest

Come now — the quickest way to empty the churches is to preach the Gospel — a “Gospel of prosperity” or self-righteous judgmentalism have nothing to do with the Good News of Jesus Christ!

If you want the numbers game, the RCs are biggest & the fastest growing are the Jehovah’s Witnesses & the Mormons. Ta-ta!

Dennis
Guest

OK, R.A., as soon as the conservatives are courageous enough to say that a twisted and perverted interpretation of the scriptures plays a central role in their faith formation so it will be clear where THEY stand.

Pluralist
Guest

RA, you are making the mistake of stating that the scriptures do not matter. Your interpretation of them may not matter, to most in TEC, Canada, and many other Churches too, and indeed to people like me, but the scriptures do matter and they are interpreted though reference to biblical scholarship.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“we don’t “make Eucharist” Yes we do, actually. Some of the earliest writing on the subject refer to the various liturgies the various members of the Body perform when the community “makes Eucharist to God”. We bless by giving thanks, by “making Eucharist”, to God. “put the alarm bells away” Done. I tend to get a little edgy on this topic when in the presence of some for whom the central act of Christian worship is no more than a pious bit of memorializing. I then get awfully defensive over it, as though it were mine to defend! And, NP,… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

You are free to go, Ford, but I hope you will stay!

Seriously, you would fit well in a Reform church – as long as they do a “proper” communion for you!

Chris
Guest
Chris

Pluralist said:
“but the scriptures do matter and they are interpreted though reference to biblical scholarship.”

Why do you hold biblical scholarship in such high regard? Certainly it is no more objective than any other source of Biblical interpretation – and no less prone to error!!!

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Let them be courageous enough to say Scripture does not play any central role in their faith formation anymore and it shall be clear where they stand.” Why would anyone want to lie? I mean, just because people don’t agree with you does not mean that they do not have faith or do not believe the Scriptures, or anything else. Why do you negate the faith of those who disagree with you? Why do you, with your much vaunted respect for Scripture, not obey the part of Scritpure that tells you not to revile others? Is Scripture so “old-fashioned, so… Read more »

RA
Guest
RA

“as soon as conservatives are courageous enough to say that a twisted and perverted interpretation of scripture..” Dennis, I think the liberals have one problem. That problem is the problem of “AUTHORITY”. As long we keep playing this game of chess with the scriptures, we will arrive nowhere. The liberals are master rationalizers. Every program (no matter how outlandish) fits into their agenda, as long as no authority challenges them: not the scriptures, not the ABC, not the primates, non. Rather they are “authority” unto themselves. As for my good friend, Ford Elms, may I say that, Christians are commanded… Read more »