Unity service hits snag

Published January 1, 2007

For a second year in a row, Anglicans, Lutherans and Roman Catholics will not gather to renew their baptismal vows during this month’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity; differences over the thorny issue of homosexuality were cited as the reason.

Bishop Ralph Spence of the Anglican diocese of Niagara said, however, that gatherings of clergy and bishops from the three churches in the area are ongoing.

Last year, the Roman Catholic diocese of Hamilton in southern Ontario opted not to take part in an annual gathering of Christian churches in the area following a decision by the diocese of Niagara’s synod to approve same-sex blessings. (Despite the vote, however, diocesan policy regarding same-sex blessings did not change since Bishop Spence did not endorse the decision.)

The Eastern synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada also recently approved a resolution giving parishes the option to bless same-sex unions, but its National Church Council ruled that the synod’s decision was “beyond its constitutional authority.”

A report from the Hamilton Spectator said Catholic leaders had expressed concern that having the joint worship service might sow confusion among Catholics regarding the issue of gay unions.


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