Gay blessings authorised by 3 Canadian dioceses: The Church of England Newspaper, December 9, 2012 p 6. December 12, 2012Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Church of England Newspaper, Marriage.
Tags: Diocese of Edmonton, Diocese of Quebec, Diocese of Rupert's Land, gay marriage
The Dioceses of Quebec, Rupert’s Land and Edmonton have authorised their clergy to bless same-sex unions.
Last month the Bishop of Rupert’s Land, the Rt. Rev. Donald Phillips announced that he had given his consent to a 20 Oct 2012 resolution endorsed by the diocesan to all gay blessings. Bishop Phillips said he had initially declined to give his consent to the resolution, but had changed his mind, writing “I am now settled that it is pastorally appropriate to proceed.”
Rupert’s Land clergy will not be permitted to solemnize a same-sex marriage, but upon application to the bishop may bless same-sex couples whose marriage has already been “duly solemnized and civilly registered,” Bishop Phillips said.
On 13 October 2012 the Diocese of Edmonton Synod also passed a motion that will allow clergy to bless civilly married same-gender couples on a case-by-case basis. The diocese had permitted clergy to celebrate the existence of gay unions within the context of a Eucharistic service, but the new rules permit parishes to bless these unions.
The marriage service may not be used for these ceremonies, the diocese has told its clergy and each blessing must receive the prior approval of the bishop.
Writing in the December issue of his diocesan newspaper the Bishop of Quebec said he too was authorizing his clergy to perform rites for the blessing of same-sex unions. In his presidential address Bishop Dennis Drainville said the issue of same-sex blessings had been addressed several times by the Canadian General Synod. It had “affirmed the place and the welcome that this church offers to all people—including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in Christ—while also recognizing that in the Church, both locally and globally there is no common mind about how to respond to their committed partnerships.”
He noted the General Synod could not come to a “common mind” on this question and had declined to legislate. However, it also “recognized that there are and will be a variety of practises across Canada and in other parts of the Anglican Communion, and because this is so we must continue to talk and pray together as we seek to discern a way forward in accordance of God’s mission in the world.”
This call to conversation and study, the bishop explained, was his mandate for adopting “pastoral” same-sex blessings. Such blessings would not have the force of ecclesial or civil law, he noted: “This act of blessing is not the performing of a marriage but rather the blessing of civil union that has already taken place.”
Other Canadian Anglican dioceses that have approved same-sex blessings include: British Columbia, New Westminster, Edmonton, Niagara, Huron, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, and Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (APCI) also passed a motion asking its bishop to allow clergy “whose conscience permits” to bless same-sex unions.
First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.