Anglican Church in New Zealand opens the door to blessing same-sex relationships

Posted May 9, 2018

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Synod of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia passed a resolution May 9 that would allow churches in New Zealand to bless same sex relationships.

The resolution explicitly states that there should be no change to “the Church’s teaching on the nature of marriage [which] is to affirm marriage as between a man and a woman;” but it says individual bishops should be free to use provisions already within the province’s canons for “a non-formulary service” to allow for the blessing of same-sex relationships.

The resolution also calls for changes to the canons so that no member of the clergy can face disciplinary action either for agreeing to bless such relationships or for refusing to do so.

Read the full article here.


Comments (9)

  1. Tony Oberdorfer says:

    The Anglican Church of New Zealand evidently is adopting “gay” marriage in the same step-by-step wishy-washy manner as the Episcopal Church has in the United States with no thought whatsoever given to those who understandably feel themselves forced to leave the church as a result

  2. Steve Williams says:

    I worship in the Diocese of Florida, one of the eight dioceses in the U.S. that don’t allow the same sex marriage blessings that were authorized by the Episcopal Church in 2015. I know many faithful LGBT worshippers who feel especially hurt by this, but the subject is not openly discussed here, and no explanation has been offered by our diocesan bishop. So I am especially interested in learning the reason someone like you would feel compelled to leave the church if same sex marriage is authorized. Would you expand on your reason?

    My own perspective is that every Sunday I find myself in a community of worshippers who are all there for slightly different reasons—some out of family tradition, some for benefits of their children, some for social reasons, or primarily for the ritual, music, sermons, or prayer. I don’t try to know the priorities that bring others around me to worship, so if there are some for whom blessing of a same sex loving relationship in their church would be especially meaningful for them, I don’t feel it affecting my worship—if I am even aware of it. Maybe significant numbers of Episcopalians felt they had to leave the church as it changed in order to accept divorced worshippers and allow them to remarry, or when women have been ordained, or slavery rejected and African-Americans more fully accepted. If those changes caused some Episcopalians to leave, would it have been better in the long run to have avoided those changes and avoided losses of membership?

    I sincerely would appreciate hearing your perspective. Thank you.

  3. Bruce Bogin says:

    Steve, I thought your comment was right on the mark. I think I can offer an explanation as to why people would leave the church if it offered same-sex marriage ceremonies. All people without exception suffer from low self -esteem. People differ in how they handle this. Some people turn to drugs or drink. Some become workaholics. Some find a sport or a hobby in which they can become proficient. Others bolster their self-esteem by looking down on some other group. For centuries the Jews have served that purpose and still to this day there is anti-Semitism or Jew-hatred even after the Holocaust. Of course it has been easy to look down on black people. They were slaves, and many denominations approved and supported slavery and later approved and supported segregation and Jim Crow laws. In both cases they found support in the Bible. More recently in our history it has become socially unacceptable to be opposed to Jews or black people. For years men have looked down upon women and treated them as inferior, as beings suited only to serve men. Again, they have support for this in the Bible. But women have been fighting back and they are making gains. So who can these poor wretches with low self-esteem look down upon? They are running out of groups to look down upon. In the last twenty years homosexual people have made tremendous strides at being accepted. They are heads of major companies, they are musicians and actors and artists, they are politicians. Ah, but under an interpretation of the Bible their life-style is a no-no, and so people with low self-esteem can look down on them. They can quit a church which accepts them and offers them the same services it offers to heterosexual people. Thus, those with low-self-esteem can feel good about looking down on certain others and thereby boost their feelings about themselves. It is pity, but that’s life.

  4. Steve Williams says:

    Bruce, I suppose the reason you give that some Episcopalians oppose same sex marriage could explain the policy adopted by the Diocese of Florida, where I worship. It is one of the eight U.S. dioceses which do not allow use of the rites approved by the national church in 2015, but no explanation has been offered to the LGBT congregants and others who are friends or family who love them and know the pain of their rejection. There are theories that the Bishop of Florida fears the turmoil or potential loss of whole parishes whose members apparently would feel compelled, like Tony, to leave the church. But this possible reason has not been substantiated by any words from the diocese. For my LGBT friends, that no reason is offered is insult added to injury, as is the policy that effectively prevents resolutions at our diocesan conventions and has resulted in avoidance of open discussion or dialog on topics related to the presence of LGBT worshippers in churches here.

    As a result, I have known LGBT congregants who felt compelled to leave their church here, just as Tony is concerned that others feel forced to leave their churches where, I presume, they find themselves in one of the majority of Episcopal dioceses where same sex marriage is permitted.

    1. Bruce Bogin says:

      Steve, you will never find a person who will admit to being a bigot, and no one will ever admit to being biased in order to shore up their feelings of inadequacy. It is not something one can talk about because it is too self-revealing. It is always easier to support biased feelings by basing them on Scripture. Scratch any bigot, anyone opposed to Jews, Blacks, women, gays, transgenders, and you will find inside a pathetic creature with low self esteem, and in the case of same-sex marriage, someone who is fearful that they themselves might possibly be gay.

  5. Steve Williams says:

    Bruce, I still look to my faith that in dialog we can overcome our fears of those who are different. Since mine is not the governing belief in my diocese, maybe I’m naïve.

  6. Tom Kentwell says:

    It’s so sad when churches turn from God’s ways.

    1. Bruce Bogin says:

      If turning from God’s ways means refusing sacraments to groups of people because of their sexual orientation, then I quite agree with you. Since all people are children of God, all should be treated the same.

  7. Joe Prasad says:

    The intent in marriage as I understand is to procreate. And so same-sex marriage does not make sense to me. The church should call this a “union”.
    It should be left up to each diocese/church to decide if they are OK with blessing same-sex relationships.

Comments are closed.