One of the first skirmishes on same-sex issues took place early in General Synod as members defeated a motion that would have called on dioceses to comply with a moratorium on blessing ceremonies for gay couples.
The vote came on an amendment to a motion to accept the church’s response to the Windsor Report, an international document exploring how the worldwide Anglican Communion can live with disagreements.
Those speaking against the amendment said it would pre-empt the discussion scheduled for later in Synod on whether dioceses should be allowed to offer the blessing ceremonies. (The so-called “local option” motion for dioceses was later defeated by the bishops, though lay and clergy voted in favour of it.) Supporters said it would strengthen the church’s response.
Synod then voted to accept the report of the Windsor Report Response Group, which collected opinions from nearly 200 Anglicans from across the country.
The report and resolution had earlier at Synod been the focus of two extra-plenary “conversations,” scheduled in order to allow members to hear a panel discussion on the matter and to ask questions.
Participants in the June 20 panel included John Sentamu, Archbishop of York; Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies of the U.S. Episcopal Church, and Patricia Bays, chair of the Windsor Report Response Group. Each outlined how their respective churches had thus far responded to the Windsor Report, and Ms. Bays led an examination of the Response Group’s report. It was stressed in those conversations, and again in plenary by mover Bishop Colin Johnson, when the resolution was before Synod, that the report was based on “an understanding that we are in a process of discernment.”
The report of the Response Group was adopted by the Council of General Synod – the church’s governing body between meetings of General Synod – in March.