Thinking Anglicans

General Synod: Questions about Church of Sweden

Mrs Joanna Monckton (Lichfield) asked the Chairman of the Council for Christian Unity:

Q. Has the Council considered the implications from the point of view of the Porvoo Agreement of the announcement by the Church of Sweden that it is going to change its marriage service to take a gender neutral form so that the same form of service can be offered to same-sex couples as to heterosexual couples?

The Bishop of Guildford, Christopher Hill, replied:

A. The Church of Sweden has not yet taken a decision in response to recent state legislation providing for gender neutral marriage. The Synod meets in September and again in October and there is a proposal before it that the marriage liturgy should not be gender-specific. In the light of a letter from the Archbishop of Uppsala advising the Porvoo churches of likely developments in the legislature and the Swedish Synod, the Faith and Order Advisory Group considered the issues raised by this proposal at its last meeting and the Chairs of the CCU and FOAG have published an open letter to the Archbishop reflecting FOAG’s concerns about the implications of any revision of its marriage liturgy by the Church of Sweden. This letter is now on the Church of England website and I have arranged for a copy to be placed on the notice board.

PDF version of the letter mentioned above

Mrs Joanna Monckton (Lichfield) asked the Chairman of the Council of Christian Unity:

Q. In the light of the considerable difficulties experienced in the Anglican Communion following the consecration of a practicing homosexual as a bishop, has the Council considered the implications of the recent decision by the Church of Sweden to appoint a practising lesbian as a bishop?

The Bishop of Guildford replied:

A. The Council for Christian Unity has not had the opportunity to reflect on this recent development. When it does so it will need to consider the similarities and differences between the Anglican Communion and the communion of Porvoo Churches. However, in both contexts, the interchangeability of ordained ministries is subject to the discipline of the churches involved, which in the case of the Church of England is the discipline set out in the Revd Tony Higton’s 1988 General Synod motion and in the 1991 report Issues in Human Sexuality. The CCU has proposed that there should be a consultation next year in which the Porvoo churches share the work they have done in human sexuality and the doctrine of marriage, in order to see where there is common ground and where there are genuine differences between them.

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Fr Mark
Fr Mark
11 years ago

The Church of Sweden has also, for some time now, I think, had a rite of blessing for civil partnerships. Norway also has non-gender discriminatory civil marriage (introduced this year): is the ecclesiastical situation not similar there too? The Danish Church, while not in Porvoo, is in communion separately with the other national Lutheran churches in Scandinavia, and offers blessing for civil partnerships: it looks as if the law there will also shortly be amended to provide for non-gender discriminatory civil marriage too. Does anyone know the situation in Finland or Iceland? The Scandinavian churches do not permit discrimination against… Read more »

Fr Mark
Fr Mark
11 years ago

Here is a link to the Svenska kyrkan’s rite of blessing for same-sex couples:

http://www.thurible.net/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/swedish-rite-of-blessing.pdf

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
11 years ago

Question: what are Porvoo churches?

Comment: I am tired of ‘practicing Lesbian’ or ‘practicing homosexuals’ – most of us have finished practicing and are quite skilled.

Fr Mark
Fr Mark
11 years ago

Cynthia: the Porvoo churches are the ones which signed up to the agreement struck there (in Finland), stating they are in full communion with each other, and regard each other’s ministries as interchangeable.

http://www.porvoochurches.org/

They are the Anglican churches of the British Isles, Spain and Portugal; and the Lutheran churches of Scandinavia and the Baltic states (excepting Denmark and Latvia). I think I am correct in saying that the C of E is the odd one out of all of these churches in being the only one officially committed to gender discrimination in episcopal appointments.

bobinswpa
bobinswpa
11 years ago

Amen Cynthia. How much practice does one need?

Rev L Roberts
Rev L Roberts
11 years ago

Didnt you realize that ‘practice makes perfect’ ?!

I too noticed that infelicitous and discriminatory expression.

Charlotte
Charlotte
11 years ago

Interesting that the C of E can manage some sort of fudge with respect to the Church of Sweden and other Porvoo churches but not with respect to TEC.

JCF
JCF
11 years ago

Correct me if I’m wrong (Goran?), but methinks that the Church of Sweden will be even LESS welcoming of overseas meddling, than has been TEC!

Mary Clara
Mary Clara
11 years ago

The letter from CCU and FOAG to the church of Sweden is very revealing. The gist of it seems to be: Dear colleagues, we must remind you that we in the Church of England have weak hearts and are prone to terrible fainting fits and even episodes of dissociation when forced to confront REALITY of the LGBT variety, whether in our midst, or among dear friends such as yourselves. We also might come unglued in the event that any scandalous action on your part should threaten our standing in relation to such important friends as the Bishops of Rome or… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
11 years ago

JCF, I don’t think they would even understand such a thing…

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