Category : –Civil Unions & Partnerships

(Guardian) First same-sex wedding deepens Anglican divide

Mark and Rick’s marriage is the first in the Scottish Episcopal church, which is part of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal church announced in June that it was allowing gay weddings after its synod voted to amend canon law on marriage. It agreed that the doctrine stating that marriage was between one man and one woman should be removed.

The vote sparked a backlash from traditionalists, with the conservative Anglican group Gafcon announcing that it was appointing a missionary bishop, committed to keeping marriage heterosexual, to work in Scotland.

The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has struggled to keep the worldwide Anglican Communion together over the issue of same-sex relationships, with many African bishops voicing opposition to gay weddings and to clergy being involved in gay relationships themselves.

Welby visited Africa to highlight the plight of refugees but his trip highlighted divisions over same-sex marriage. During the trip, he spent time with the archbishop of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali, a leading conservative evangelical, who walked out of a gathering of archbishops in Canterbury last year, angered by the west’s liberal attitudes to homosexuality. Ntagali said that he would not return until “godly order” was restored.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, --Scotland, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality, Theology

Martin Davie–A review of material from Southwark Cathedral to mark civil partnerships

What these paragraphs tell us is:

It would not be right to produce an authorised public liturgy in relation to the registration of a Civil Partnership;
Clergy should not provide services of blessing for those who register a Civil Partnership;
Clergy need to bear in mind the teaching of the Church on sexual morality, celibacy and the value of committed friendships;
Requests for prayer should be responded to pastorally and sensitively in the light of the circumstances of each case.
The last point clearly needs to be understood in the light of what precedes it. Requests for prayer should not be met by the use of an authorised public liturgy (since such a liturgy should not exist). They should not be met by the provision of a service of blessing (since such services are not allowed). Finally, any form of prayer needs to be in line with the Church’s teaching (hence it cannot suggest either explicitly or implicitly that the Church approves of any form of sexual relationship outside of heterosexual marriage).

In the light of all this, how should we view the material that is being sent out by Southwark Cathedral?…

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

(Church Times) Conservative Evangelical group speak of alternative ‘structures’ to rival C of E

A group of disaffected conservative Evangelicals has expressed a wish for an alternative Anglican structure in Britain.

In a statement issued last week, the group — of which several members no longer belong to the C of E — expresses dismay at recent decisions by the General Synod about sexuality, and reveals that they have been meeting to discuss how to “ensure a faithful ecclesial future”.

In a letter in Tuesday’s Daily Telegraph, the group goes further, and declares that there are two kinds of Anglicanism in Britain: “One has capitulated to secular values, and one continues to hold the faith ‘once delivered to the saints’.”

A similar division in the United States and Canada led to the creation of the breakaway Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), the letter-writers note. They conclude: “We look for and pray for a similar renewal of orthodox Anglicanism and of Anglican structures in these islands.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

(Ekklesia) Savi Hensman takes a look at the recent concluded C of E General Synod

Though the Church of England still discriminates against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, it recently shifted towards greater acceptance. There has been a backlash from a small but vocal set of members.

The General Synod in July 2017 heard from bishops about plans to look again at pastoral practice and teaching. It also passed motions against conversion therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation, and for welcoming transgender people.

Over the past century, many theologians have made a biblical case for affirming self-giving, committed same-sex partnerships. In recent decades, some have pointed out that gender identity is complex. Acceptance has also grown among churchgoers and the wider public….

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Glasgow Evening Times) St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow becomes first in UK to offer same-sex weddings

“People at St Mary’s were part of the campaign to allow gay and lesbian couples to get married in Scotland so it is not surprising that we would want to be able to offer such weddings in the cathedral itself.

“St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow is one of the most stunning places that anyone can get married. It is wonderful that more people now have the chance of coming here for their special day.

“I want to live in a world where same-sex couples can feel safe walking down the street hand in hand and in which they can feel joy walking hand in hand down the aisle of a church too.”

The Provost added: “We already have one booking from a couple coming up from England who can’t get married in their local Church of England parish. We are glad to be able to welcome them and expect there will be many others who will follow them”.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Scotland, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Daily Telegraph Article about the Letter in Today’s Telegraph about two Church of Englands

The Rev Dr Peter Sanlon, Vicar of St Mark’s Church in Tunbridge Wells, said that a lot of Anglican leaders are concerned “not just about votes at the General Synod regarding sexuality but also votes against the uniqueness of Christ and against urging all ministers to share the gospel with the nation”.

Dr Sanlon, who also helped to organise the letter, added that “increasing numbers of orthodox Anglicans have lost confidence in the archbishops. Clergy like me are in touch with senior leaders of ACNA.”

Dr Ashenden resigned earlier this year after publicly criticising a church that allowed a Koran reading during its service as part of an interfaith project, saying the reading was “a fairly serious error” which he had a duty to speak out about.

A Church of England spokesman said: “As with any debating chamber, Synod often debates controversial issues and members can sometimes disagree strongly with each other. That is the nature of debate. If there is an issue the Chair will intervene. The expectation is that Synod members are courteous at all times both to each other and invited guests.”

Read it all and note you may now find the letter and the full list of signatories there.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Fulcrum) Andrew Goddard–Synods, Sexuality and Symbolic and Seismic Shifts

Jayne Ozanne posted on Facebook that what had happened in Synod was “a seismic shift – inclusion is now mainstream!”. Whether or not that is the case and if so what is meant by “inclusion”, or, in the Archbishops’ words, “radical new Christian inclusion in the Church”, remains to be seen. We simply do not know the consequences if her hopes as to where this will lead prove accurate. However, there are signs that if they are realised then this could presage a fundamental realignment in Anglicanism including in England.

On the same day as Jayne’s FB post, Sean Doherty, the proposer of the failed amendment to her motion, posted “Here are two words I have not heard at #synod this weekend: Anglican Communion”. While not strictly true (it was briefly mentioned in relation to the Teaching Document) it does appear the Communion was largely forgotten. That is even more surprising, bordering on denial, given another Synod that took place only a few weeks before – that of ACNA. Although not part of the Anglican Communion, many leaders of Anglican Communion provinces were present and, even more significantly, they consecrated, against the wishes of the Archbishop of Canterbury, an English clergyman, Andy Lines, to serve as a missionary bishop within the British Isles. The symbolic, perhaps seismic, significance of this has it seems yet to sink in. It means we now face the prospect of a growing number of churches in England which, although clearly not part of the Church of England, self-identify as Anglican and have a very credible claim to such a designation as they are served by a bishop recognised by a large number (perhaps even the majority) of Anglicans worldwide. If the CofE continues to appear to be shaped more by its surrounding culture than theology and particularly if its bishops fail to clearly teach the sexual ethic supported by the wider Communion and summed up in the Higton motion then it may be that the ACNA Synod will come to be seen as representing an even more seismic shift than that which some hope and others fear occurred at General Synod.

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) English same-sex couple among those to wed in Glasgow cathedral first

St Mar’s Cathedral, in Glasgow, has become the first Anglican cathedral in Britain to offer same-sex couples the opportunity to marry.

The cathedral is already taking bookings from such couples on its website, including one from an English pair who cannot get married in their Church of England parish.

In June, the Scottish Episcopal Church’s General Synod passed a motion to permit clergy to conduct gay weddings…. The legislation came into effect on Tuesday.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Scotland, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality

(Telegraph) Prime Minister May: The Church should ‘reflect’ on allowing same-sex couples to marry

The Church of England should “reflect” on allowing same-sex couples to marry in church, the Prime Minister has said.

Theresa May also said her father, the Reverend Hubert Brasier, would have supported church blessings for gay couples.

In an interview for radio station LBC, the Prime Minister said she believed her father “very much valued the importance of relationships of people affirming those relationships and of seeing stability in relationships and people able to be together with people that they love”.

Asked whether she herself would like to see the law “evolve” she said it “had to be a matter for the Church”, adding: “the Church of England has itself come a distance in terms of looking at these issues, and obviously they will want to reflect as attitudes will generally change as society changes.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

([London] Times) Muslim same-sex marriage is thriving, says drag queen Asifa Lahore

There have been “countless” same-sex marriages between gay and lesbian Muslims, Britain’s first Muslim drag queen says.

According to Asifa Lahore, 34, the country has a “thriving” Muslim LGBT community.

Ms Lahore was brought up in west London by a devout Muslim family with a Pakistani background. She was born Asif Quraishi and married another gay man of Pakistani heritage in July 2014, months after same-sex marriages were permitted in March that year.

Ms Lahore appeared on Channel 4’s Muslim Drag Queens in 2015, billed as Britain’s first Muslim drag performer. She began the process of gender transition to become a woman this year.

She spoke to The Times about her same-sex wedding after Jahed Choudhury, 24, claimed last week that his wedding to Sean Rogan, 19, at a register office in Walsall last month was the first same-sex marriage in the UK involving a Muslim. “There are countless,” Ms Lahore said. “In the last three years I’ve been to dozens of gay Muslim, same-sex marriages. I attended one last Thursday, of two gay British Bangladeshi guys.

Read it all (requires subscription).

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, England / UK, History, Islam, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

A 2015 Article from the Scottish Episcopal Bishop of Edinburgh: Marriage, Holiness and Joy

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Christian Today) Scottish Episcopal Church faces landmark vote on same-sex marriage

…[The] Rev David McArthy, a traditionalist priest in the SEC and part of the conservative Scottish Anglican Network, told Christian Today there was an ‘immense sadness from many people in Scotland’ about the upcoming decision.

‘It is not simply a group of evangelical churches who have concerns about this but a fairly wide group,’ he said.

‘I pray that the leadership realise what they are about to do will have serious consequences for the Church.’

But supporters of gay marriage hope to see same-sex couples married in church by the end of year and see it as Scotland leading the way in the Church’s debate.

When threatened with ‘consequences’ by the Archbishop of Canterbury if they went ahead, Chillingworth responded by saying we ‘will not change what we do’.

He added: ‘Maybe it is a price worth paying for the ultimate healing of the [Anglican] Communion.’

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Scottish Episcopal Church to vote on same-sex marriage in church

The Scottish Episcopal Church will hold a historic vote later on whether to allow gay couples to marry in church.
If the vote is passed, it will become the first Anglican Church in the UK to allow same-sex marriage.
However, it will also leave the Church at odds with most of the rest of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The motion to change canon law on marriage will be debated at the Church’s General Synod in Edinburgh.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

David Pocklington and Frank Cranmer–Changing marriage doctrine – voting procedures in the Scottish Episcopal Church

In addition to its implementation of the decisions on same-sex marriage, on which not all of the SEC is in favour, it is likely that there will be knock-on effects in its relationship with the Anglican Communion. As we noted in our post Communiqué from the Primates, the meeting of Anglican Primates on 11-15 January 2016 discussed inter alia the change to the doctrine of marriage by The Episcopal Church in the United Stated (TEC) and recommended [paragraphs 7 and 8 of Addendum A]:

“It is our unanimous desire to walk together. However given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.

We have asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a Task Group to maintain conversation among ourselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognising the extent of our commonality and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held between us in the love and grace of Christ”.

The Anglican Church of Canada, which has allowed some clergy members to perform same-sex marriages but has not adopted a policy for the entire province, escaped sanctions. However, the primates’ resolution fell short of the demands of conservative primates to evict the Americans and the Canadians from the Communion. It seems likely that Archbishop Welby will be under pressure to apply sanctions similar to those on the TEC to the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Scotsman) Princess Royal: Scotland’s churches have ‘major role in welcoming strangers’

The Princess Royal has praised the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly as a place for “reasoned debate” in her opening address at the annual event.

Her remarks come ahead of a debate at the assembly later this week which could move the Kirk a step closer to allowing ministers to perform same-sex marriage.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Scotland, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Theology: Scripture