By Marites N. Sison, Anglican Journal
Synod approved two motions on human sexuality, none of which changes its current guidelines limiting same-gender blessings to about 10 parishes with permission from Archbishop Johnson.
Synod approved—by a narrow vote of 257 in favour, 229 opposed—a motion to send a memorial to General Synod asking that the marriage canon be amended “to allow marriage of all persons legally qualified to marry each other.” The church’s law governing marriage, Canon 21, defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Synod also approved a motion requesting the Canadian House of Bishops to “withdraw the February 1979 statement on human sexuality which prevents the ordination of persons in committed same-gender relationships.”
Archbishop Johnson described the motion to send a memorial as “an expression of opinion, in this case, clearly, quite a divided opinion” on same-gender blessings. A memorial “doesn’t have any effect other than, in a sense, a straw vote and so there’s no legislative component,” he said.
“It actually means no change,” to the pastoral guidelines which he issued in November 2010, he said. There are currently five parishes that have received formal permission from Archbishop Johnson to offer same-gender blessings: St. John, West Toronto, Christ Church, Bolton, Holy Trinity, Guildwood, Holy Trinity, Trinity Square and All Saints, Peterborough.
The guidelines were issued after Synod in 2009 Toronto decided that the issue of same-gender blessings was better addressed with a pastoral response than a legislative decision.
Here are the motions in full:
“It will be MOVED by Nancy Whitla (Holy Trinity, Trinity Square) and SECONDED by Sue Ferguson (St. John, West Toronto) that whereas all the sacraments are for all the baptized; Be it resolved that this Synod memorialize General Synod to amend Canon 21 On Marriage to allow marriage of all persons legally qualified to marry each other.”
“It will be MOVED by Nancy Whitla (Holy Trinity, Trinity Square) and SECONDED by Sue Ferguson (St. John, West Toronto) that this Synod request the House of Bishops to withdraw the February 1979 Resolution on Sexuality which prevents the ordination of persons in committed same gender relationships.”
The story on this page was first published on the Anglican Journal’s website, www.anglicanjournal.ca.