Same-sex blessing protocol adopted in Winnipeg: The Church of England Newspaper, May 19, 2013 p 7. May 22, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Diocese of Rupert's Land, gay marriage
The Winnipeg-based Diocese of Rupert’s Land has released a protocol for the “pastoral practice of blessing same-sex unions”. The May issue of the diocesan newspaper reports the protocol was prepared by Bishop Donald Phillips and the Dean, archdeacons and rural deans of the diocese in response to a 2012 request by synod to allow same-sex blessings.
Clergy opposed to gay blessings will not be compelled to perform the rite, but must refer a couple to the Bishop so that another priest may perform the ceremony. However, a summary of the protocol prepared by the diocesan newspaper said that in Rupert’s Land “diversity of views is honored and appreciated.”
The ceremony will not be a marriage. “In order be clearly distinguished from a marriage liturgy, the rite of blessing for same-sex unions will not include an exchange of legal consents, an opportunity for objections, a declaration of union, a writ of civil marriage, the signing of the parish marriage register or a nuptial blessing.”
The national church’s call to dialogue about homosexuality and its decision not forbid the practice opened the doors to pastoral gay blessings, supporters have argued. In his address to the 2012 Québec Synod Bishop Dennis Drainville said the General Synod 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.”
Other Canadian dioceses that have approved same-sex blessings include: British Columbia, New Westminster, Edmonton, Niagara, Huron, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Québec 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.