Huron bishop not yet acting on same-sex blessings

Published December 4, 2008

The newly-elected bishop of the diocese of Huron, Robert Bennett, says that he has not yet acted on the diocesan synod’s motion in May asking the bishop to give clergy permission to bless same-sex marriages “where at least one party is baptized” and to authorize an appropriate rite. “Nothing has happened,” said Bishop Bennett, adding that at the fall meeting of the house of bishops he said that “I’m here to listen.” Bishop Bennett issued the clarification in reaction to a story and editorial published in the December issue of the Anglican Journal that included Huron among dioceses that came to the house of bishops with requests to allow them to bless same-sex unions. Bishop Bennett said in a telephone interview that the diocese had been “in a transitional and crisis mode” after Bishop Bruce Howe announced in June that he was retiring effective Sept. 1. Bishop Bennett, then the suffragan bishop, pointed out that he was elected bishop only two days before the house of bishops met in October. “The diocese has been good not to put pressure when I said I’m not prepared to do anything just yet on whether we’re moving ahead or not,” said Bishop Bennett. Bishop Howe earlier said he “gave concurrence” to the motion based on the large percentage of votes in favour (72 per cent in both clergy and lay houses), but that he intended to consult with other bishops before acting on it. The bishops of three dioceses – Montreal, Ottawa and Niagara – which have passed similar motions have already informed the house of bishops that they intend to take some “incremental” and “experiential” steps toward same-sex blessings.


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