Magazine article Anglican Journal

Bishop (Michael Ingham) Hopes Church May Soon Permit Same-Sex Unions

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Bishop (Michael Ingham) Hopes Church May Soon Permit Same-Sex Unions

Article excerpt

Toronto

Bishop Michael Ingham of Vancouver said he hopes the church will soon allow parishes and dioceses to choose whether they want to bless same-sex unions but he isn't prepared to let his clergy officiate at such services yet.

Speaking to a group of gays, lesbians and their supporters here last month, the Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster said he hopes "for the sake of the Gospel" that the church will eventually bless committed, same-sex relationships.

Invited by the homosexual lobby-support group Integrity to speak about welcoming "gays, lesbians and heterosexuals" into the church, Bishop Ingham said he thought it would be a while before bishops countenance blessing permanent same-sex relationships. He agreed there is a "possibility of major schism" over the issue, but said bishops won't move on the issue until the church says to.

He said he and most other bishops find themselves on the "horns of the dilemma" of preaching the Gospel versus keeping the unity of the church, of which a bishop is a symbol.

He said a small number of bishops think the traditional teaching of the church on homosexuality is correct, another group (including himself) thinks the church's position is at odds with the Gospel and there is a large group seeking consensus.

Bishop Ingham said he had not always found homosexuality acceptable. He said it was chiefly through discovering that people he had known and trusted and who had supported him in his life were gay that forced him to reconsider and eventually change his mind.

"For the greater part of my life I have believed that the male anatomy is meant only for the female anatomy ... that all forms of same-sex relationship are a distortion of the biblical ideal of marriage ... ."

He said many people are changing their position on the question. Most say what caused them to change are friends who disclosed their sexuality, he said. "The revelation is powerful, life-changing."

Bishop Ingham said while he endorses celibacy as a viable, "courageous" choice for some, he no longer believes "sexual abstention can be required of an entire class of people ... simply because of orientation."

He said, "Christianity needs to integrate the erotic" instead of trying to suppress it.

"If you try to suppress it ... (it) will rise up and overwhelm you with its power . …

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