Thinking Anglicans

Niagara votes on SSBs

The Diocese of Niagara has joined the growing ranks of Canadian dioceses that have voted in favour of same-sex blessings.

The Anglican Journal has the full story in Niagara diocese approves blessings for gay couples; bishop assents.

The southern Ontario diocese of Niagara, meeting at its annual synod, on Nov. 17 voted to allow civilly-married gay couples, “where at least one party is baptized,” to receive a church blessing.

Bishop Ralph Spence, who had refused to implement a similar vote three years ago, this time gave his assent, making Niagara the third diocese since the June General Synod convention to accept same-sex blessings.

Of the 294 clergy and lay delegates, 239 voted yes, 53 said no and two abstained. In 2003, out of 319 delegates, 213 voted yes and 106 said no.

“The question has been asked, ‘Where do we go from here?’ Much consultation will take place … When and how this will be implemented will be dealt with in the days that lie ahead. We are aware of the vote’s ramifications,” said Bishop Spence, who also said he has been in consultation in the past week with Lambeth Palace (residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury), the Canadian primate (Archbishop Fred Hiltz) and his successor, Bishop Michael Bird, who takes office on March 1. Bishop Spence declined to say whom he had spoken with at Lambeth Palace.

The dioceses of Ottawa and Montreal recently passed similar motions and their bishops have said they will consult widely before deciding whether to implement the decisions. (The Vancouver-based diocese of New Westminster has offered blessings since 2002.) Civil marriage has been legal for homosexual couples since 2003…

The bishops issued this pastoral letter following the synod.

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16 years ago

Slow progress – very slow but here is progress.

Cheryl Va. Clough
16 years ago

Love them and may God bless them.

L Roberts
L Roberts
16 years ago

Yes, pluralist.

Their moto must be Festina lente !

Why are these largely heterosexual anglican bodies SO very earnest ?

We’re all getting with love and life. Queers have always found ways to celebrate our love and lives, and to support each other.

We aren’t desparate for something offered so grudgingly, so slowly and hedged about with so many caveats. … That’s all.

16 years ago

Bravo! Although I serve in the Diocese of Los Angeles, I was raised in the Diocese of Niagara, a good and beautiful place. So, I am delighted that the good and faithful people and clergy of Niagara have voted by an overwhelming margin to call for SSB’s and an appropriate rite. Canada has had legal marriage for same sex couples since 2003, for God’s sake. How long should these faithful couples, and those to come , be expected to wait for the hand of Christ’s Church in blessing? It is a sad comentary on the Church when the state has… Read more »

16 years ago

Hardly a surprise, given that the same motion passed by nearly as large a margin at the last synod three years ago.

I note with curiosity that the coadjutor, +Michael Bird, is (so far at least) the only bishop out of my graduating class.

Fr Mark
16 years ago

We love Canada – what a great country!

16 years ago

“We love Canada – what a great country!”


Many of us also love the word of God
Ps 19

John Holding
John Holding
16 years ago

Oddly enough, NP, most of us in Canada who support the motions passed in Ottawa, Montreal and Niagara also love the word of God — but we’re also inclined to take seriously the fact that the One we’re supposed to love is the Word of God, not just a pile of paper with printing on it.

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