As four churches voted in February to leave the Vancouver-based diocese of New Westminster and the Anglican Church of Canada over changing attitudes toward homosexuality, two churches asked to be able to join eight other parishes in offering blessing ceremonies to same-sex couples.
[pullquote]Church of the Holy Spirit in Maple Ridge and St. Mary, Kerrisdale, B.C., passed motions at their vestries (annual meetings) that asked to be allowed to perform the ceremonies if and when diocesan bishop Michael Ingham lifts a moratorium limiting permission to the eight parishes. Both churches followed the vote with motions, passed unanimously, that expressed loyalty and support for Bishop Ingham.
“St. Mary’s has taken a stand on a number of different issues. It is a parish that is supportive of social change,” said Rev. Kevin Dixon, St. Mary’s rector, in an interview. “We feel a responsibility to ensure that what has been begun in the diocese is completed.”
Rev. David Findley-Price, priest-in-charge at Holy Spirit, wrote to a local newspaper that “as an Anglican Christian I am prepared to ask God to bless the union of people who love each other as a part of the natural order of creation.”
Two years ago, New West’s synod agreed to limit same-sex blessings to the eight parishes that had requested them up to that point, in response to concerns from other Anglican churches in Canada and abroad that feel homosexuality is contrary to Scripture. Last December, Bishop Ingham said he would continue the moratorium for the time being, “in the current climate and with the Lambeth Conference (of all Anglican bishops) coming next summer,” according to Topic, the diocesan newspaper.