On Equal Marriage

Christ Church has affirmed the almost unanamous commitment to working towards extending the sacrament of marriage to everyone, regardless to sexual orientation.

In 2016, the Anglican Church of Canada gathered in its General Synod (National Legislative Body). In what was meant to be a vote to extend the possibility of the blessing of marriges civilly accomplished, the Synod actually went a step byond that and voted in the majority in all three houses (Laity, Clergy and House of Bishops) to altar the language of the national Canon (law or legislation) on marriage to make it clear that the sacrament of marriage excluded no-one. A canonical change like this requires a second vote at the next General Synod, scheduled to be considered in the summer of 2019 when the church gathers in Vancouver.

Christ Church notes that this was a very difficult decision for reasons that included their own interpretation of scripture or conscience. Christ Church upholds the principle that we should uphold the Anglican principle of staying in relationship with those with whom we disagree. Thus, no one, especially clergy, ought to be compelled to participate in a liturgy that marries or blesses a same sex couple if it opposes their conscience. This respected and noted, the strong consensus of the parish is that the invitation of the National Church is consistent with our baptismal vow to "respect the dignity of every human being" and also "to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbours as ourselves". This leaves no room for exclusion, especially in that the responsible and complete evaluation of the critical passages of scripture traditionally used to oppose inclusion do not withstand academic nor contextual scrutiny. Further, consistent with the marks of mission of the Anglican Communion, we are called to speak to systematic injustice, including the exclusion of anyone based on sexual orientation. Obviously we believe that this is significantly more than a matter of "getting with the times"... it is in fact a sign that God is up to something, that God includes and does not exclude, and that such conclusions as that of the Supreme Court of Canada are evidence of this.

In every Anglican Diocese, the ordinary (Bishop) has the responsibility to approve forms of worship for use in the church. At our Synod in 2017, a motion was presented to request the Archbishop Gregory Kerr-Wilson to allow those who in good conscience wish to offer blessing (not even marriage, please note) to couples of the same gender whose marriages were civilly accomplished. This motion was affirmed and passed by an almost 60% margin by representatives of every parish in the Diocese.

While the Bishop gave assent to the motion, still, he did not approve of going ahead, and informed the Synod he would pray and reflect on the matter and get back to the Diocese in November.

Those who support inclusion and equal marriage continue to live with the pain of serving and worshiping and staying in community despite a standing policy of exclusion based on sexual orientation.

We await the consclusion of the bishops prayer and reflection, and we pray.

 

Resources/Bibliography/Websites

Same-Sex relationships and the Church/Bible:

Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality
John Boswell - Univ Chicago Press

Torn - Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays Vs. Christians Debate
Justin Lee - Jericho Books

The New Testament and Homosexuality
Robin Scroggs -- Fortress Press

What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality
Daniel A Helminiak Alamo Square Press

Equal Marriage and the Church:

Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God's Design for Marriage
Sean McDowell - Baker Publishing Group

Epiphany: A Christian's Change of Heart & mind over Same-Sex Marriage
Michael Coren - Signal

Same-Sex Marriage in Renaissance Rome:
Sexuality, Identity, and Community in Early Modern Europe

Gary Ferguson - Cornell University Press

The Bible's Yes To Same-Sex Marriage: An Evangelical's Change of Heart
Mark Achtemeier - Westminster John Knox Press

Same-Sex Marriage:
A Bold Call to the Church in Response to the (US) Supreme Court's Decision

Bruce B Miller - Dadlin

More Perfect Union: Understanding Same-Sex Marriage
Alan Wilson (Bishop of Buckingham) - Darton Longman And Todd Ltd.

Religion, Sex and Politics: Christian Churches and Same-Sex Marriage in Canada
Pamela Dickey Young - Fernwood Books Ltd

The Way of Hope:
A Fresh Perspective on Sexual Identity, Same-Sex Marriage, and the Church

Melissa Fisher - Baker Pub Group

God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage
Gene Robinson - Vintage

Web sites of Note:

www.anglican.ca

www.vancouver.anglican.ca

www.edmonton.anglican.ca

www.ontario.anglican.ca

Other Christian LGBT groups are:

The Gay Christian Network US

LGCM Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement UK