Magazine article Anglican Journal

(Bishop Michael) Ingham Caught between Bishops, Diocesan Council (Re: Same-Sex Unions)

Magazine article Anglican Journal

(Bishop Michael) Ingham Caught between Bishops, Diocesan Council (Re: Same-Sex Unions)

Article excerpt



Bishop Michael Ingham is being advised by his diocesan council to ignore a national House of Bishops resolution urging him to delay making a decision on whether to allow priests to bless same-sex unions.

"The House of Bishops wants me to delay the decision and the diocesan council wants me to publish it as soon as I can," the Bishop of New Westminster said in an interview. "I'm in an awkward position."

The bishop says he will make no announcement until he meets again with his council of advice on Dec. 11, a group set up to advise him on the thorny issue. The diocese's annual synod in May narrowly approved a motion asking the bishop to authorize clergy to bless same-sex unions if they so wish.

Bishop Ingham was unable to attend the House of Bishops week-long meeting near Toronto in early November because of a scheduling conflict with his annual clergy conference. The lodge that hosts the annual New Westminster conference had mistakenly booked them in the wrong week.

The bishop thus sent a letter to the House of Bishops advising them that he planned to meet with his council of advice -- which includes Bishop Victoria Matthews of Edmonton and Archbishop Percy O'Driscoll of Huron -- for a second time on Dec. 11.

Bishop Ingham wrote that if the council was able to make a recommendation to him after that meeting, he hoped to announce his decision early in January. Since the House of Bishops would not meet again until May, he said he would fax a statement to all the bishops' offices the same day he made it public in Vancouver.

That idea was not well received by some of the bishops during their meeting.

Bishop Tom Morgan of Saskatoon warned that, "We are standing in potentially the gravest of dangers." He said he was concerned about taking the last eight years' discussions over homosexuality and placing a decision in the hands of a single diocese.

Bishop Malcolm Harding of Brandon said he was unhappy about the idea of simply getting a fax informing him of the decision. He said it is critical for the House to continue to have dialogue on the issue.

"If we need to wait till May, then wait till May," he said.

Bishop Peter Mason of Ontario contended that if the guidelines on homosexuality are to be set aside, they should be set aside as a House, not by a single bishop.

"Please let us deal with this as a House out of fairness to ourselves and out of fairness to New Westminster," he said. …

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