Magazine article Anglican Journal

Bishops Agree to Hold off on New Blessings

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Bishops Agree to Hold off on New Blessings

Article excerpt

Windsor, Ont.

Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada have agreed not to make any new moves toward blessing same-sex couples at least until General Synod 2007. The decision was made at the bishops' regular spring meeting held here in April.

The Canadian bishops' statement did not immediately affect the diocese of New Westminster, which voted to allow same-sex blessings in 2002. On May 14, however, the diocese of New Westminster voted to impose a moratorium on allowing any new parishes to permit same-sex blessings, but to continue to permit the ceremonies in those that have already received approval from the bishop. (See related story, page 8.) Currently, eight parishes out of 78 have applied for and received permission to conduct blessing ceremonies, according to the diocese. The moratorium lasts until General Synod (the national church's governing body) again considers the issue at its next meeting in 2007.

In a statement that was debated in a closed session, about 40 Canadian bishops, meeting April 23-25, unanimously agreed "neither to encourage nor to initiate" the blessing of same-sex couples "until General Synod has made a decision on the matter"--a statement that expresses the current status quo in the Canadian church.

The agreement was contained in a 13-point document that responded to a request from primates (senior Anglican leaders) that the U.S. and Canadian churches reconsider their more-liberal stance on homosexuality and temporarily withdraw from an international church group, the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC).

The statement was also a response to the Windsor Report, which was produced by an internationally-representative Anglican committee and called for a moratorium on same-sex blessings and the consecration of bishops in a same-sex relationship.

Since General Synod 2004, the diocese of Niagara voted at its synod to allow same-sex blessings, but Bishop Ralph Spence declined to approve the motion, and the diocese of Toronto deferred a decision on the issue. The diocese of Ottawa considered the issue at One of its synods and decided to study the matter.

The bishops' statement did not make a recommendation on whether the Canadian church should withdraw from the ACC, noting that the Council of General Synod (CoGS), which met one week later, would make that decision. …

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