Same-sex blessings available in Rupert’s Land

From the Anglican Journal:

The blessing of civil marriages between same-gender couples can now take place in diocese of Rupert’s Land parishes that wish to offer them.

Approximately a third of the Anglican Church of Canada’s 30 dioceses now have moved forward with same-sex blessings, an issue that has deeply divided Anglicans in Canada and worldwide.

The 2010 meeting of General Synod, the church’s governing body, did not approve the so-called local option allowing dioceses to grant same-sex blessings. But it recognized that the local option has been exercised by some dioceses and may be used in the future without the approval of the national church.

Bishop Donald Phillips of the diocese of Rupert’s Land initially withheld his consent when the synod passed a resolution allowing same-sex blessings on October 20. But after a 12-day period that included consultations with both the national and provincial houses of bishops, Phillips consented.  “I am now settled that it is pastorally appropriate to proceed with concurring with this resolution,” he said in a memorandum.

Phillips explained that his initial decision not to endorse the resolution is not an uncommon practice. He noted how in the diocese of New Westminster, which first initiated same-sex blessings in the Anglican Church of Canada, Bishop Michael Ingham withheld his consent twice, at the 1998 and 2000 synods, even though the resolutions were passed with a majority. Ingham gave his consent in 2002.

Parishes will need to pass a formal resolution expressing their desire to have such blessings before they can be offered. To be eligible to receive the blessing, same-sex couples must have their marriage “duly solemnized and civilly registered,” said Phillips. The requirements and form the blessing take would require his authorization, he added, pointing out that only clergy “whose conscience permits” will be expected to offer same-sex blessings. The blessing is “a pastoral act, not a wedding rite,” he said.

Other Canadian Anglican dioceses that have approved same-sex blessings include: British Columbia, New Westminster, Edmonton, Niagara, Huron, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, and Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (APCI) also passed a motion asking its bishop to allow clergy “whose conscience permits” to bless same-sex unions.

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18 Responses to Same-sex blessings available in Rupert’s Land

  1. Kate says:

    And so it goes. The ACoC is truly past the point of no return.

  2. Pauline says:

    I agree Kate – Romans 1:24 – past the point of no return.

  3. Peter says:

    I remember being told how the Province of Rupert’s Land was going to be a bulwark against these heretical changes. That was before Edmonton and now the Diocese of Rupert’s Land (as distinct from the province).

    The Province did issue a strongly worded (non-binding) letter recently though. For the good that will likely do in such a dysfunctional organisation as the ACoC.

  4. Frank Wirrell says:

    When apostasy reigns and faces no real challenge, the winner is obvious. This is precisely the situation within the ACoC. Apostasy came in with Michael Ingham and the support he received from other apostates including Fred Hiltz. There is no such thing as the “middle of the road” – you either stand for the truth or you stand for apostasy. This is true especially if you simply sit on the side lines and do nothing. It is time we asked ourselves the question stated in an old hymn, “Who is on the Lord’s side?”
    Currently within the ACoC one can truthfully say, “NO ONE!!”

  5. Daryle says:

    No surprise to me!

    It’s a good thing that there is an Anglican Network in Canada Project in Winnipeg. Thanks be to God!

  6. Gordon says:

    Frank [#4] some of us have nowhere else to go.

  7. siena says:

    #4 – Please don’t make sweeping statements – were you there to see faithful ones (ACA clergy and lay) vote across Synods? Not all have pensions – just providing pastoral care to those who’ve stayed. Also, many Native brothers and sisters keep the faith but are not on blogs. The Lord calls each of us to stay, go or be a witness in different ways. Prayers needed instead. #6 – comment noted and understood.

  8. Grace (my real name) says:

    One, possibly two, quick questions.

    I saw several “Essentials” documents and a book on the subject in our church library and I asked my priest if this point of view was required by all Anglicans. He assured me that this movement was “from the 1990′s.” and not really a “going concern” these days.

    So, is the Essentials movement still trying to win churches in Alberta, Canada, and, if so, where?

  9. Kate says:

    Your priest was incorrect. Essentials as an orgainzation has wound down, but only because the Anglican Network in Canada is continuing its work. We have churches in Athabasca, Calgary and Edmonton – you can find information here:

    You can find links to articles about who we are, our history (and how we grew from the Essentials movement) here:

  10. Michael Li says:

    Anglican Network in Canada is growing for the time being.

  11. Pat says:

    Frank (#4) I am grieved by your judgementalism! The Lord knows that I, and many others, are on His side and that is what keeps us in the ACoC. We are called to be salt and light where salt and light are needed.
    I do not stay because I fear the loss of my pension or because I am afraid of change or anything like that. When the Lord wants me to make a move He will open a door for me, that has been my experience in the past.
    When I was part of Anglican Essentials at the national level I was supportive of those who felt called to leave the ACoC. I thought I understood where they were coming from. It grieves me not to receive the same support in the decisions I feel called to make.

  12. Frank Wirrell says:

    For Pat:-
    I have read your comments and would ask that you again review mine. If there ever was a time for orthodox Christians to take a stand it is NOW. You are undoubtedly aware of the actions of Michael Ingham in legally stealing properties in New Westminster and the congratulations extended to him by Fred Hiltz. In Abbotsford the property was paid for entirely by orthodox Christians with absolutely no contribution from the diocese. I do not know in what diocese you are located but considering no criticism came from the House of Bishops one can only conclude they are either supportive of apostates like Michael Ingham or are not prepared to answer the question raised in my posting.

  13. Bill says:

    I am really grieved by this blog and the grossly condemning comments. I have never had an issue with those who could not longer remain within the ACC. BUT, do not make sweeping comments that because someone has not left that everyone has left. All the comments on this blog seem to be filling up more and more with condemnation.
    We talk about interpreting Scripture and following in Jesus’ footsteps. Well, start living it! You want to walk and follow in a righteous life – then go out and be focused on loving people for the Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to convict and correct. Stop striving for a self-righteous life.
    At this point, since AEC has evolved into ACA, this blog is nothing more than stirring and creating hate. If the Lord released me from the ACC, I doubt I would want to go over to ANiC at this point…I probably would not be accepted.
    I am asking you to stop this.

  14. Kate says:

    Bill – might I respectfully suggest that you are making a sweeping statement based on one commenters words? And remind you that this blog is just the writings of four people, three of whom worship in ANiC churches? To assume that you would not be accepted based on a blog post is unfair to the many folks who worship in ANiC churches every Sunday morning (and I quite disagree with Frank’s assertion that there are no faithful folks left in the ACoC – although I confess I also find it very hard to believe that God would call anyone, especially presbyters, to stay. Sorry Pat, but it’s how I feel about the issue).

  15. Frank Wirrell wrote: “This is true especially if you simply sit on the side lines and do nothing. It is time we asked ourselves the question stated in an old hymn, “Who is on the Lord’s side?”
    Currently within the ACoC one can truthfully say, “NO ONE!!””

    I respectfully disagree. Take the Diocese of Rupert’s Land, for example. If it were the case that no one in the Anglican Church of Canada can truthfully say that they are on the Lord’s side, the synod resolution in question would have passed with a unanimous vote. It did not. It passed by an overwhelming majority, alas, but the parish to which I belong actively opposed it, and all of our clergy and lay delegates voted against it. I know of two other parishes of which the same can be said.

  16. Frank Wirrell says:

    For Gerry T. Neal:-
    I thank you for your clarification of this matter and totallly agree with the stand taken by your clergy and delegates. However, the ACoC is on a very slippery slope when you have so-called bishops that will allow a motion which is totally contradictory to the authority of Scripture. Bishops are supposed to be “Chief Shepherds” of the flock and when they fail to take a firm stand the church cannot but fall. Bishop Donald Phillips could have shown some genuine leadership if he had stood his ground and refused to give his permission. The clergy pushing for this action should be removed from office.

  17. Daryle says:

    If that were to happen, Frank, I would guess that there would be 12 clergy in Rupert’s Land, and no bishop!

    I held for many long years that remaining within as leaven for the loaf was the right thing to do for me…and the right witness. When things soured at the National level, I could not make my own offering at the same altar as an apostate church, although I had left from one of the 3 faithful parishes, as noted already.

    For me, the leven in the loaf is a poison. I have witnessed many brave men and women turn a ’180′ on orthodoxy, one creeping inch at a time, and embrace godlessness.

    Consider how our Lord weeps for us!

  18. Jack S. Pratt says:

    Frank, you do realize a diocese legally owns the church properties, right? And since there are buildings on those lands, that in effect means the diocese owns those too. Unless a congregation is willing to pay exorbitant fees to physically move the church, the diocese legally owns it.

    I understand where you are coming from when you shrilly say the diocese “stole” the properties, but come on man, pull your head out of the sand and realize that.

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