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Canadian Anglicans reject blessing same-sex unions

12:20PM Monday June 25, 2007
By Roberta Rampton

WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada narrowly overruled clergy and laypeople on Sunday to defeat a proposal to give churches the option of blessing same-sex unions.

The issue has threatened to split both the Canadian church and the 77-million member Worldwide Anglican Communion, a loose federation of national churches around the world whose members do not agree on how the 450-year-old church should minister to homosexuals.

The Canadian bishops voted 21 opposed to 19 in favour of giving churches the option of blessing same-sex unions. Clergy and laity voted in favour by larger margins, but the proposal had to pass in all three orders to be implemented.

Orthodox Anglicans believe sex outside of heterosexual marriage is contrary to Biblical teachings. But liberal Anglicans believe in a broader reading of scripture.

- REUTERS

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/sto ... d=10447774

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The Anglican Church of Canada
Blessing of same-sex unions defeated
Winnipeg, June 24, 2007

The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada has narrowly defeated a resolution that would have allowed dioceses to decide for themselves whether or not to bless same-sex unions.
Lay delegates voted 78 to 59 in favor of the motion and clergy voted 63 to 53 in favor But the House of Bishops voted 21-19 against it. As a result the motion was defeated, since it required approval by each of the three orders to pass.

The motion read:
"That this General Synod affirm the authority and jurisdiction of any diocesan synod,
with the concurrence of the diocesan bishop, and
in a manner which respects the conscience of the incumbent and the will of the parish,
to authorize the blessing of committed same-sex unions."

http://www.anglican.ca/news/news.php?ne ... 4_ssb.news

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· Lay Anglicans and clergy agree but yes motion falls
· World communion hears primate admit divisions

Stephen Bates in Winnipeg
Monday June 25, 2007
The Guardian

Canadian Anglicans failed by the narrowest of margins last night to agree to allow their churches to bless the committed relationships of same-sex couples. In a tense vote after nearly two days of debate at the church's synod in Winnipeg, lay and clergy members voted in favour of a motion that would have allowed dioceses in Canada officially to authorise blessings. But the church's bishops voted against the move by 21 votes to 19, meaning that the motion failed, because it needed to be passed by all three groups.

There were warnings last night that some dioceses might press ahead anyway to authorise such services. Canada is one of the few countries that allows gay couples to marry.

The incoming primate of the Canadian church, Archbishop-elect Fred Hiltz, who had voted in favour of the move, said: "We have a very divided church. There will be many people who are very disappointed."

The vote came hours after the 300 delegates attending the church's three-yearly synod earlier took a significant step towards endorsing gay partnerships by saying they did not believe that they were in conflict with core church doctrine.

The debates saw repeated attempts by Canadian conservatives to delay such moves, or to change the size of the majority required under church rules to pass the motions, which were headed off.

The bishops last night nevertheless reissued a statement saying: "While not all bishops can conceive of condoning or blessing same-sex unions, we believe it is not only appropriate but a Gospel imperative to pray with the whole people of God, no matter their circumstances ... to refuse to pray with any person is to suggest God is not with them."

The outcome of the blessings vote, despite its close margin, will be welcomed at Lambeth Palace, where the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has been struggling to hold the communion together in the face of opposition particularly among developing world church leaders to any accommodation with same-sex partnerships. They and many evangelicals in western churches hold that gay partnerships are sinful, unbiblical and, therefore, will always be against church doctrine.

The sister US Episcopal Church is already facing a deadline of the end of September to comply with communion demands that it should not authorise same-sex blessings or elect gay clergy and bishops and that it should set up a separate church structure for conservative parishes. It has so far refused to do so.

At the Canadian synod, speakers from both sides argued passionately either that the church would be condoning sin if it recognised gay partnerships, or that it was time to affirm them. Some clergy in Canada's cities, such as Toronto, where the demand has been strongest, may defy the church and conduct such services clandestinely anyway, as many clergy already do in Britain and the US. One Canadian diocese, New Westminster in Vancouver, authorised gay blessings services four years ago, the first in the world to do so. A Toronto priest, Andrew Asbil, who said 30% of his congregation were gay, urged the synod to vote in favour: "God is calling us to move. The time is coming and it is now. We don't need more time."


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