Since the vote to allow same-sex blessings last year, three Christchurch parishes have split from the Anglican church – St Stephens in Shirley, St John in Latimer Square and Christchurch South. About 80 per cent of worshippers in Woolston have also left to form a new church. Vicars have resigned in Avonhead, Papanui and Rakaia, taking some worshippers with them.
Last year, St Matthew’s church in Dunedin left the Anglican church, with vicar Stu Crosson writing in a parish newsletter that same-sex ceremonies were blessing “something that God calls an abomination”.
Rangiora vicar Andrew Allan-Johns declined to comment, but confirmed he had resigned and started a new church.
The worshippers, priests and parishes that have left the Anglican diocese intend to form a new church.
St Stephens minister Jay Behan said West Hamilton Church, which left the Anglican church in 2014 over same-sex blessings, will join the new church. He said the new church would hold its first synod in May to agree on a new name, constitution and bishop.
The first same-sex blessing in Canterbury gave Behan a “sadness”, he said.