Category : –Civil Unions & Partnerships
…[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.’
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.
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these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal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.
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.
(Good News) Tom Lambrech–Bright Spots in a Confusing Decision by the recent United Methodist Judicial Council
1. The Judicial Council clearly and forcefully upheld the principle that a jurisdiction’s bishops, acting on behalf of the whole United Methodist Church, cannot legally consecrate as bishop a person who does not meet the qualifications for office. The Western Jurisdiction had maintained that it could elect and consecrate whoever it thought would be an appropriate bishop in light of their particular context, and that the rest of the church could say nothing about their choice. The ruling recognized that bishops are bishops of the whole church and that jurisdictional bishops are acting on behalf of the whole church when they consecrate a bishop. No jurisdiction or annual conference is completely autonomous. We are part of a connection that is responsible and accountable to each other.
2. The Judicial Council clarified that “a same-sex marriage license issued by competent civil authorities together with the clergy person’s status in a same-sex relationship is a public declaration that the person is a self-avowed practicing homosexual.” This important ruling will put an end to games that some openly homosexual clergy have been playing by living in a same-sex marriage, yet declining to acknowledge that they are practicing homosexuals. Rather than requiring church authorities to ask intrusive questions about the personal lives and practices of clergy, all that is now necessary for a person to be brought up on a complaint is the public record of being in a same-sex marriage. The Judicial Council recognized that being in a marriage assumes a sexual relationship, and that it would then be up to the clergyperson under complaint to give “rebuttal evidence” during a complaint process to refute that assumption in an individual case. This should make it much easier and more straightforward to hold accountable some clergypersons who are living contrary to the moral teachings of the church.
A great Illustration of the Collision between the new sexual ethic+Historic Christianity: William di Canzio’s piece in response to Archbishop Charles Chaput
Last October Abbot Richard Antonucci of Daylesford Abbey in Paoli requested a meeting with me, though he declined to tell me his purpose in advance. I have worshiped there since 1981 and since 2003 served as a lector. The abbot started our conversation by saying that he’d heard I had married my partner of 12 years, Jim Anderson. “I want you to believe this,” he said: “I sincerely wish you both many, many years of happiness together.”
Then he passed me a copy of a directive from Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia stating that members of same-sex couples should “not hold positions of responsibility in a parish, nor should they carry out any liturgical ministry or function.” The abbot said that, with reluctance, he must enforce the directive….
Some weeks before my dismissal, I had read about the archbishop’s directive. It’s very offensive….
Here’s the truth: my sexual nature, like that of all human beings, is holy; my marriage is a sacrament where I encounter the love of God every day in the love of my spouse and bestow it likewise on him. The archbishop has done us and all the church a great wrong.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Eight same-sex couples have been married in three Anglican Church of Canada dioceses, ahead of General Synod 2019, when a resolution to allow same-sex marriages will be presented for final approval.
Since General Synod 2016 approved – on first reading – a proposed change in the marriage canon (church law) to allow same-sex marriages, four weddings of same-sex couples have taken place in the diocese of Niagara, three in the diocese of Toronto and one in the diocese of Ottawa, according to the offices of the respective diocesan bishops. Several other same-sex couples in the dioceses of Toronto and Ottawa are also preparing to walk down the aisle.
In the diocese of Montreal, Bishop Mary Irwin-Gibson said she is currently going through a discernment process with four same-sex couples considering marriage.
Church of Ireland to debate Motion on Same-sex Relationships at its General Synod which begins Tomorrow
From here (Motion 12 on page 5):
PRIVATE MEMBER’S MOTION
Proposer: Dr Leo Kilroy
Rev Brian O’Rourke
Notwithstanding the diversity of conviction regarding human sexuality, and in order to maintain the unity of the Church of Ireland, the General Synod
A. Acknowledges the injury felt by members of the Church who enter into loving, committed and legally-recognised, same-sex relationships, due to the absence of provision for them to mark that key moment in their lives publicly and prayerfully in Church.
B. Respectfully requests the House of Bishops to investigate a means to develop sensitive, local pastoral arrangements for public prayer and thanksgiving with same-sex couples at these key moments in their lives, and to present their ideas to General Synod 2018, with a view to making proposals at General Synod 2019.
The development of any such pastoral arrangements should not infringe Canon 31 and the facilitation of such arrangements would not impair the communion between an individual
bishop or diocese with any other bishop or diocese of the Church of Ireland.
…though I am proud to confirm that all of us, whatever our views on this matter, are united in our condemnation of homophobia, we must also acknowledge that it is of little comfort to young gay or lesbian members of our Church to know that while prejudice against them is abhorred, any committed faithful sexual expression of their love for another is forbidden. In fact it is worse than this, our ambivalence and opposition to faithful and permanent same sex relationships can legitimise homophobia in others.
None of us are content with this situation.
This issue is, therefore, one that must be dealt with in a number of ways: theologically, ethically, pastorally and missiologically. We must let the insights and experiences of each of these responses shape our overall response. As with the challenges of previous ages, it is the refining fire of the questions the culture poses that reveal new depths to the gospel we proclaim. Also we must acknowledge that the culture itself has to a large extent been shaped by those Christian virtues of tolerance and acceptance that we hold dear. It is therefore not sufficient to say, ‘Oh if only we could stop talking about human sexuality and get on with the real business of preaching the gospel!’ This is the real business of preaching the gospel: it is about what it means to be made in the image of God and of the new humanity God has won for us in Christ. It is about finding the legitimate boundaries
within which Christian people can legitimately disagree.
Nor can we simply ignore the biblical passages that pertain to this debate. They are part of our storyand our inheritance. But what we can do is recognise that what we know now about human development and human sexuality requires us to look again at those texts to see what they are actually saying to our situation, for what we know now is not what was known then. Of course this isalso an area where conclusions are conflicted (even the rules that govern our biblical hermeneutics) but it does at least demonstrate that we are all seeking to be faithful to scripture and how weinterpret it within the contexts we serve.
(Changing Attitude Scotland) A Majority of Scottish Episcopal Synods have voted to change the definition of marriage
Proposals to make changes to Canon 31 of the Scottish Episcopal Church’s canons have now been discussed by all the diocesan synods. A very clear majority of the synods voted in favour of change – 6 dioceses voted in favour, whilst one (Aberdeen and Orkney) voted against change.
The changes that are proposed would allow some clergy to be nominated to be able to conduct marriages for same-sex couples. If the changes are approved they would also remove the ban on clergy and lay readers entering into same-sex marriages themselves.
A letter from Lambeth Palace has said that a church service after a same-sex marriage can be “almost indistinguishable from a wedding”.
The letter was written to Dr Richard and Matthew Edwards, who married last year in Birmingham Register Office. Both are members of the PCC at St Paul’s, Birmingham. Dr Edwards is the treasurer, and Matthew Edwards the vice-chair and a churchwarden. They have been together for five years, and got engaged in 2015. Before they married, they wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury for guidance.
The letter they received in response, written by the Archbishop’s correspondence secretary, Andrew Nunn, demonstrates the Church of England’s ambivalence on the question of same-sex marriage. He states: “marriage in an Anglican church is not an option for you.” On the other hand, he describes the practice of having a blessing in church after a civil ceremony. “The church ceremony can be arranged so as to be almost indistinguishable from a wedding, but without the legalities.”
Fifty-six-year-old Mr Flint, who is married with children, said: “To me it is inevitable that same sex marriages will be celebrated in church one day and that will be the norm – and I welcome that. “When we look back, I think we’ll ask why were we dithering. The Church is always evolving. At one point divorcees couldn’t get re-married in church.” He said he was ‘frustrated at the moment with the bishops who have closed ranks.’
“My overall conclusion: the appellants are right.” These were the words of Lady Justice Arden in the Court of Appeal today ”“ and yet we lost our legal challenge to the government’s ongoing ban on mixed-sex civil partnerships.
Lady Justice Arden’s two fellow judges disagreed ”“ and outvoted her. All of the judges were critical of the status quo, whereby civil partnerships are still only available to same-sex couples, despite 13 years passing since their introduction and clear demand for them among mixed-sex couples. But the other two judges concluded that the government should be allowed more time to make a decision on whether to extend civil partnerships to mixed-sex couples before its position becomes unlawful.
Naturally we are deeply disappointed by this ruling. The narrowness of the defeat makes it all the harder to swallow: we came so close to winning, yet lost on a technicality. Nevertheless, there is so much in the ruling that is positive.
Read it all from the Guardian.
The plain truth is that the Washington religious liberty case is going to be resolved in favor of the proprietor of the business, as it should be.
We need to be as deferential as we can to the rights of conscience, especially as they pertain to small/family businesses. I wouldn’t want the state to harshly fine me if I declined to arrange flowers for the Westboro Baptist Church’s annual banquet.
Progressives are fighting a losing battle, and the optics of financially ruining a 72-year-old grandmother are terrible. If progressives are on the right side of history and we are just moments away from same sex unions being celebrated as marriages by virtually everyone of every faith, then find another florist and leave this poor lady alone.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.