Respecting our Differences
General Synod 2004 & the Blessing
of Same-Sex Unions
Church of Canada: Documents and Resources
A134: Blessing of Same-Sex Unions.
A135. Blessing of Same-Sex Unons - Resources.
background paper on the same-sex blessings motion before General Synod,
2004, Eric Beresford, Ethics and Interfaith Relations Consultant,
General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada. "The motion being sent
to General Synod does not address the substantive issues around the
blessing of same sex unions. Nor does it attempt to come to some final
statement of the church's view about the blessing of same sex unions.
Indeed, it frankly acknowledges disagreement in the life of the church,
yet commits us to strive for the greatest possible degree of unity.
This is the starting point for what is essentially a procedural motion
which sets forward ways of living with disagreement and calls for further
of the Primates Task Force on Adequate / Alternative Episcopal
Oversight for Dissenting Minorities. Contrary
to its title, this report addresses only the episcopal oversight and
pastoral care of traditional dissenting minorities. Its several
helpful appendices document the Churchs historical opposition
to same-sex blessings and issues related to jurisdiction.
Synod Task Force on Jurisdiction (2002).
While the Task Force concludes that formal jurisdiction over doctrine
and discipline rests with the General Synod of the Anglican Church of
Canada, in practice this jurisdiction has been exercised with a careful
circumspection and with due regard to local expression. In a country
as diverse as Canada with a wide variety of settings in which the Church
is called to ministry, this flexibility of jurisdiction has served the
Church well and can continue to do so.
of the Legal and Canonical Commission, Linda
Barry-Hollowell, George E.H. Cadman, Stephen J. Toope (.pdf).
As part of New Westminsters Dialogue process, the standing Commission
offered its opinion that as a matter of the relevant canons, the
traditional jus liturgicum of the diocesan bishop, and of the
customs of the Anglican Church of Canada, the authority to authorize
a rite of blessing for same-sex unions falls within the jurisdiction
of the local bishop.
of New Westminster. A dedicated diocesan
site for information on same-sex blessings, a chronology of the events
in New Westminster, and current news. Resources from the Dialogue
on Same-Sex Unions are available in the archive.
of Ottawa. Information from the diocesan
Task Force on the Blessing of Same Sex Unions, with links to very helpful
dialogue and study resources.
of Toronto. Links to information on the Same-Sex
Consultations (Spring 2004) in preparation for a special
diocesan synod and vote on blessing same-sex unions.
Unity and Reconciliation within the Anglican Communion:
from the Metropolitans of the Anglican Church of Canada
(October 9, 2003). Impaired communion is not a threat
one part of the Anglican Communion can impose on another. Impaired
communion is a fact with which we live. Women priests and bishops
in the Anglican Church of Canada are not welcome to exercise their offices
in many parts of the Communion. We have found ways to live together
in the Body of Christ under those constraints. To say that we
cannot similarly live together in light of different practices with
respect to same-sex relationships simply is not true. The unwillingness
of some to live in communion ought not to be interpreted as a necessity
but rather as a choice they make.
Structures of Unity, Rowan Williams.
Archbishop Williams reflects on the nature of accountability and unity
in a church where the matters that define theological unity are themselves
up for debate. I dont expect the next few years to
be anything other than messy as far as all this is concerned. The question
is not whether we can avoid mess, but whether we can hang on to common
convictions about divine grace and initiative.
is To Be in Communion? Daniel
J. Webster. Is there one form of Anglicanism, or are there many?
Has like-mindedness become our point of reference?
These questions are at the heart of the current debate, according to
Daniel Webster, on what it means for Anglicans to be in communion
with one another.
Price Unity?, Robin Eames. The Senior
Primate of the Anglican Communion observes: Laws apart,
opinions apart, and sensitivities apart, diversity of culture, practice
and life-styles have been and will most likely continue to be the experience
of a world family such as the Anglican Communion. Perhaps the
main question arising for us at this time is simply: How do we live
with and how do we understand difference?
Virginia Report, Inter-Anglican Theological
and Doctrinal Commission (1997). Statement on the development
of structures of authority and unity in the Anglican Communion.
Commandment Task Force, A
series of ECUSA consultations promoting reconciliation, based not on
the expectation of finding agreement on issues of sexuality but in the
hope of discovering ways to live together in Christ in spite of disagreements.
Includes helpful discussion of the Gamaliel
principle and a proposal for local
option by congregation rather than diocese.
Theodore Mollege Jr. An analysis and critique of Brian Cox The Episcopal
Church Reconciliation Initiative, a proposal for conflict resolution.
Eames Monitoring Group Report (1997).
At Lambeth 1988, The bishops found themselves facing the imminent
possibility of one of the Provinces ordaining a woman to the episcopate,
and had to address the challenge of how to maintain the highest degree
of communion with one another and how to strengthen their commitment
to one another despite differences in principle and practice.
[See IV(v). Provision for Conscientious Objection, and VII. What has
this experience told us about living in communion?]
Womens Ordination, and the Episcopal Church.
Narrative from Equally Applicable. Historical perspective
on conscience clauses, episcopal visitors, and impaired communion.
and Inter-Faith Issues:
Groups Policies on Homosexuality. Dozens
of essays describing the current policies, beliefs and practices of
various faith groups about homosexuality, maintained by the Ontario
Consultants for Religious Tolerance.
Lutherans Cant Talk About Sexuality.
Thomas D. Pearson. If neither a textual ethics, nor a morality
grounded in love, nor natural law theory, can supply a basis for our
conversation about sexuality in the ELCA, what other resources do we
have available to us? There is not much, Im afraid.
But discuss sexuality we will, and must. See also:
on Homosexuality and the Church (ELCIC), Erwin Buck (.pdf).
Lecture: On Evangelical Faith and Homosexuality,
Ralph Blair. Of all Christians, Evangelicals should have
the least difficulty integrating at least some expression of homosexuality
with Christian faith. Why is that often not the case?
Perhaps its because they tend to take neither sin nor the
evangel as seriously as they say they do.
is an Evangelical?, Roy Clements. There
seems to be a determined attempt, at least by some within the evangelical
camp, so to embed a particular [negative] view of homosexuality within
the evangelical identity that there is no room left for dissenters...
It seems, therefore, an appropriate moment to ask: What is
Homosexuality and Dignity, Daniel A. Helminiak
(1996). Responses to frequently asked questions about being lesbian,
gay, bisexual, or transgender and Catholic. The author summaries
official Roman Catholic teaching on homosexuality
the Wideness of the Sea, Lewis B. Smedes.
Writing within the Reformed tradition, a leading ethicist asks:
- Is a partnership of two homosexual persons morally similar
in relevant ways to the marriage of divorced and remarried
- Does the Bibles word about homosexuals lay down a rule for
excluding partnered Christian homosexuals from the churchs fellowship?
- Or does it witness to Gods original intention for sexual orientation
without laying down abiding rules for the church?
and the Bible: A Case Study in the Use of the Bible for Ethics,
Loren L. Johns. Examines the biblical arguments regarding homosexuality
and their contentious debate within the Mennonite tradition.
Eastern & Orthodox Christian Gay Men and Women,
AXIOS is a religious support and social group
for GLBTQ Eastern and Orthodox Christians of all rites and backgrounds.
and God, StevenGreenberg. Rabbi Greenbergdiscusses
halachic teachings regarding homosexuality, and offers a path to possible
new halachic strategies that will permit Orthodox Judaism to respond
positively to gay people.
Doctrine on Gays, Paul Varnell. Historically,
Islamic culture (or better, cultures) seem to present two different
faces toward homosexuality: a deeply hostile, punitive aspect
rooted in religious texts and edicts, and a more benign aspect ranging
from bemused tolerance to open approval and celebration in literature.
The fundamentalist strain is on the upswing at the moment, but it has
not always been so.
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