Ingham calls for prayer, not lobby

Published November 1, 1998

A council advising the bishop of New Westminster on how to respond to the thorny issue of blessing same-sex unions met for the first time in September.

Members will meet again in December, Bishop Michael Ingham said.

The council was set up after the diocese’s annual synod in May approved a controversial motion asking the bishop to authorize clergy to bless same-sex unions. The motion was approved 179-170.

Bishop Ingham appointed eight people to advise him: Bishop Victoria Matthews of Edmonton and Archbishop Percy O’Driscoll of Huron along with the diocesan chancellor and five clergy with different positions on the issue.

Bishop Ingham said he prefers to limit his public comments for now to those contained in a letter to all diocesan clergy.

“We spent much of our time reviewing reactions and responses to the synod vote, and the current state of discussion on this matter in the worldwide church,” the bishop wrote. “This includes feedback from the Canadian House of Bishops, the Lambeth Conference as well as from the parishes and people of our diocese …

“We began to see several common issues, concerns and possibilities. We began to look for ways of moving forward while respecting the hopes and aspirations of those with many different viewpoints on this subject …

“At this point, prayer will be more helpful than lobbying. As some of us noted (at the council meeting of Sept. 21), Anglicanism is not a `petition culture.’

“We have received many expressions of opinion, and they have been taken very seriously, but what we need now is a spirit of patience, kindness, gentleness and love.”

Days before the council met, three conservatives – evangelical author Rev. James I. Packer, Regent College professor and member of Essentials group, Don Lewis and P.D.M. Turner – wrote Bishop Ingham and the council an open letter advising him to submit to biblical authority by preventing the blessing of same-sex unions.


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