Archbishop’s action comes from his social commitment
Re: Archbishop disciplined for performing same-sex marriage (Oct 1, anglicanjournal.com story). Does the Anglican church now honour one of its esteemed and socially conscious (retired) bishops by suspending him from performing a priestly duty? Archbishop Terence Finlay apparently brought on this sanction by officiating at the marriage of a close family friend and her spouse. His “sin” was that the couple were of the same sex. In spite of the law now recognizing such a marriage, Bishop Colin Johnson felt it necessary to suspend Archbishop’s Finlay’s privileges, as same-sex marriages are not authorized in the diocese of Toronto.
Does Bishop Johnson not recognize that Archbishop Finlay’s action comes from the same moral and social commitment that he displays when he speaks out for those impoverished and marginalized? I am immensely proud of Archbishop Finlay and believe that we should honour and cherish his values. It is so unfortunate that so many fellow Anglicans, and it would seem Bishop Johnson is among them, out of fear and ignorance cannot recognize that we are all equal in God’s eyes and as such are deserving of all his blessings, including the sacrament of marriage.
On the same day I happened upon your article about Archbishop Finlay, I opened the Toronto Star to find a photo of Rev. Jeffrey Kennedy laying hands on Binky, a Bichon Frise, at a blessing of animals at St. Matthias, Toronto. I could not have scripted a more perfect illustration of our twisted priorities. Every Anglican should hang his or her head in shame.
Don’t shy away
One of the most deeply religious men that I know has been admonished by the bishop of Toronto for participating in a same-sex marriage and as a result his licence to perform marriages in the diocese of Toronto has been suspended. I have known Archbishop Finlay and his family for many years and I have witnessed a real transformation in him regarding human sexuality. I can attest to this as I am a gay man and he and his wife have been very supportive of me.
I am delighted that Archbishop Finlay allowed his heart and his faith in the Lord to participate in this ceremony; it was out of a “long journey of love, friendship, support and familial relationship with this particular person and her partner” that Archbishop Finlay said he “came to the conclusion that their love for one another was part of God’s divine love and it was appropriate that that be deeply blessed.”
Obviously, this topic brings not only many different viewpoints, but for many, it also creates a strong emotional response. The challenge is not to shy away from our emotions and perspectives and hope it all goes away, but instead, to ask what we believe God wants for his people today, and to do it in such a way that respects and honours the viewpoints of others.
I am writing to express the deep regret I feel at the decision of the National Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) to overturn the Eastern Synod’s adoption of the “local option” for the blessing of same-sex unions. I had hoped that this local option would allow Anglicans in Eastern Canada living in same-sex unions to have these unions blessed in a liturgical context, according to the Waterloo Declaration.
Instead, it seems that homophile Anglicans and Lutherans are once again left with the Psalmist’s refrain: “How long, O Lord?” We live in a church which readily accepts the “integrity and sanctity of committed adult same-sex relationships” but is too timid to take that acceptance to its logical conclusion. We live in a church that is comfortable enough with same-sex blessings to remain in full communion with the Old Catholic Churches of Europe – some of which authorize such rites – but we cannot bring ourselves to adopt them for our own community. It seems that our full communion partners in the ELCIC are similarly finding that their courage fails them.
Eventually, homophile Anglicans may have to take a tack from our conservative opponents and request alternative episcopal oversight – perhaps Bishop Gene Robinson in New Hampshire will take us.
Not created equal
I am tired of the whole homosexuality issue and whether or not homosexuals can be ordained. There are many reasons why they should not be separated out from the rest of us who also have reasons why we couldn’t be ordained, for example speech impediment that prevent one from preaching a sermon, paralysis so you have to use a wheelchair, blindness so you cannot see the altar, deafness so you cannot hear. We are not all created equal and there should be no exceptions made for one group who are unfortunate enough to be homosexual, which goes against Biblical teaching.