New West Synod to Revisit Blessing Same-Sex Unions
The diocese of New Westminster's annual synod this month will again consider whether to ask Bishop Michael Ingham to allow the blessing in church of committed homosexual relationships.
Supporters see it as a legitimate response to the needs of gay and lesbian Anglicans and an important sign that homosexuals are respected and included in the church. Opponents, citing biblical restrictions against homosexuality, see it as a dangerous move away from traditional Anglicanism and orthodox Christianity.
Bishop Ingham, who supports the idea of blessing same-sex unions, said the issue "touches people's feelings at a deep level, a level not altogether rational." He added, "It's kind of a visceral issue and you can't reason people out of positions you haven't reasoned them into. It challenges a traditional Christian understanding of sexual ethics."
The diocese, which covers about one-third of the British Columbia coastline from the U.S. border to Powell River and includes the city of Vancouver, is revisiting the issue after voting, 179-170, at its 1998 synod in favor of allowing the blessings.
At the time, Bishop Ingham witheld his consent, saying that he wanted to consult with the wider church. He began a dialogue process among all the parishes.
"Our dialogue has prepared people very well and we will make the best decision we can," said Bishop Ingham. …