Thinking Anglicans

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.

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Leonardo Ricardo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Leonardo Ricardo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
13 years ago

“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… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
13 years ago

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.

drdanfee
drdanfee
13 years ago

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… Read more »

bls
bls
13 years ago

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?

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

“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…”

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

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.

Andrew in Montreal
Andrew in Montreal
13 years ago

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… Read more »

NP
NP
13 years ago

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?

John Holding
John Holding
13 years ago

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… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“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… Read more »

Jim Love
Jim Love
13 years ago

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… Read more »

James
James
13 years ago

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?

L Roberts
L Roberts
13 years ago

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.

Leonardo Ricardo
Leonardo Ricardo
13 years ago

“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… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“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… Read more »

John Henry
John Henry
13 years ago

“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).

NP
NP
13 years ago

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?

John Henry
John Henry
13 years ago

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… Read more »

Rae Fletcher
13 years ago

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.

NP
NP
13 years ago

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.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“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… Read more »

John Henry
John Henry
13 years ago

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… Read more »

Rae Fletcher
13 years ago

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).

Hugh of Lincoln
Hugh of Lincoln
13 years ago

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.

NP
NP
13 years ago

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?

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

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… Read more »

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