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Sexual orientation "should present no barrier"

Sat 30 Jun 2012 In: Politics and Religion

The ruling body of the Anglican Church will next week vote on proposals covering the blessing of same-sex civil unions and ordination of gay priests.  More than 150 delegates will attend the General Synod of the Anglican Church in New Zealand and Polynesia in Nadi, Fiji, from 7 July. Waiapu’s motion The diocese of Waiapu, which covers Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay, has put forward a proposal for dioceses which wish to be able to bless same-sex unions to be able to do so, and for gay priests to be ordained. “The Diocese of Waiapu strongly believes that sexual orientation should present no barrier to ordination,” the Motion says. “As a diocese, like others, we have experienced first-hand the ministry of gay and lesbian clergy, some of whom have been in faithful, loving, committed same-gender relationships, and believe them to have enriched the life of our Church. “We are therefore grateful that successive bishops have discerned within the lives of these people a call to ordination, and acknowledge this work of discernment is a serious and significant aspect of episcopal ministry. “We have become concerned in recent years that bishops of this and other dioceses appear to have come under pressure to withhold discernment for ordination because of a person’s sexual orientation and their living out of that orientation with a loving, faithful relationship,” the Motion continues. “As a diocese we believe such pressure runs contrary to the traditional understanding that the responsibility for discerning and acting upon the call of the Holy Spirit on an individual to a life within the holy order of priests or deacons rests firmly in the hands of the bishop of the diocese /hui amorangi. “We therefore ask that: “This General Synod / Te Hinota Whanui affirms the long tradition and practice of episcopal autonomy in the discernment of a person’s call to ordination.” The Diocese of Waiapu has also put forward a Motion for the General Synod to: “Move forward with the provision of an authorised liturgy for the blessing of same-gender relationships to be adopted for use by those dioceses which wish so to do.” St Matthew-in-the-City's 'Gaydar' billboard The St Matthew-in-the-City Motion Auckland vicar Glynn Cardy from St Matthew-in-the-City has asked the Synod to support parishes debating the nature of marriage and how it should be applied to same-sex relationships. It says that given the long-held mission of the Church to challenge and support couples publicly to commit to each other: “Asks Episcopal Units to hold conversations in our Church and with the wider community about the nature of marriage, “And to explore how the Church might theologically and liturgically respond to gay and lesbian Anglican couples who request this rite. “Further, it asks General Synod Standing Committee to support and resource the Episcopal Units in this endeavour; “And for Episcopal Units to demonstrate progress to General Synod Standing Committee in advance of the next General Synod in 2014.” The Gender Commission Anand Satyanand It comes as a “Gender Commission” of prominent New Zealanders has been set up by the Church designed to “lead it out of the impasse over questions about the ordination and blessing of folk who are in same gender relationships”. The Commission is led by former Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand, and includes High Court Judge Justice Judith Potter, educationalist Sir Tamati Reedy, the head of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Otago University Professor Paul Trebilco, and Tongan New Zealand lawyer and advocate Mele Taliai. It’s due to report back to the General Synod in 2014, summarising the Biblical and theological work done by the Church over 30 years, and offering a full set of options and their implications. “If I was to put the task of the commission in a nutshell,” Archbishop David Moxon has told Anglican Taonga, “I would say it is to listen to the church, to listen to the Bible, to listen to canon law, and to listen to the Anglican Communion. “And to describe the various choices that the General Synod has before it – without prescribing one in particular.” Moxon says the questions in front of the church are “complex”, and the diversity of the church is considerable. “Those questions need careful consideration by this group of eminent people – who are above the immediate tensions and conflicts, and can offer objective analysis and perspective, so the range of choices in front of us are fully researched and described.” - 30th June 2012    


First published: Saturday, 30th June 2012 - 12:52pm

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