Votes stir reaction in communion

Published June 1, 2004

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was among those who welcomed the decision by General Synod to defer a decision on the issue of same-sex blessings until 2007, saying it “offers hope for the continuing collegiality of the Anglican Communion.” In a statement, Archbishop Williams said, “It is important that the Canadian church has held back from a structural shift that would have run counter to the pleas and wishes of the Primates’ meeting last autumn and of so many around the Communion. In doing so, it has avoided complicating still further work of the Lambeth Commission.” The reactions were mixed, however, among General Synod delegates. “I am torn in half,” said Jane Morton of the diocese of Rupert’s Land. “I have friends that are gay who are in lasting, loving relationships and yet, I’m feeling for my Aboriginal friends who are not ready.” Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster, whose diocesan synod granted same-sex blessings in 2002, said he was “not surprised or disappointed by the decision.” He added: “What the synod has said tonight is that they wish to study the matter further before making any recommendation as a General Synod. They’ve not prevented any diocese from considering the matter as they wish to do at a local level.” Bishop Terrence Buckle of the Yukon, who voted in favor of a deferral said, “I think it’s the best thing, the right thing to do for the church at this time.” “People want more time as a delaying tactic just like the deferral is a delaying tactic,” said Steve Schuh, president of the Vancouver chapter of Integrity, a ministry for gay and lesbian Anglicans. The later decision to add a clause in the resolution on same-sex blessings to “affirm the integrity and sanctity of committed adult same-sex relationships” also met varying reactions. There were strong reactions from two primates of the global south. The Church of England Newspaper quoted Archbishop Greg Venables, primate of the Southern Cone of South America, as having said that the Anglican Church of Canada should be expelled from the Anglican Communion. Archbishop Drexel Gomez, primate of the Anglican Province in the West Indies warned of “devastating consequences” saying the clause was “unacceptable to Bible-believing, orthodox Christians.” Youth delegate Jennifer Lilly from the diocese of Western Newfoundland, who voted for the clause said it “would keep the family strong and together.”


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