Anglicans vote to bless gay relationships

Anglican Church will bless same-sex relationships

New Zealand’s Anglican Church voted this week to bless gay relationships.

But it still won’t marry homosexual couples in church.

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia’s vote lets ministers bless gay couples in same-sex civil marriages or civil unions.

The vote happened at the church’s biannual synod in New Plymouth this week.

The vote lets bishops either grant or deny priests in their diocese permission to bless gay couples in committed relationships.

In New Zealand, the Anglican Church comprises three wings: Māori, Polynesian and Pākehā.

The three wings have debated the issue for 50 years.

Polynesians reject gay relationships

The Polynesian group opposed the motion to allow Anglicans’ blessing of same-sex relationships.

It says Pacific islands will never accept it and abstained from voting.

It abstained so that it wouldn’t restrict the Pākehā and Māori wings.

The motion passed finally by a large margin.

To allow Polynesian and other conservative churches to opt out of the changes, they will not form part of official liturgy.

Instead there are no written blessings. Ministers will deliver them informally.

Despite the compromise, two prominent conservatives resigned their posts.

Rev Jay Behan, a member of the ruling synod and Rev Al Drye both quit after the vote passed..

They said, “We leave with no anger or bitterness in our hearts and we wish you the best as you seek to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Another conservative group, the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans New Zealand also dissented.

As a result of the vote’s outcome, it says it believes that the General Synod acted in a way that left biblical authority behind.

It says it’s ready to welcome other conservatives opposed to the decision.

Support came from Very Rev Ian Render, who is dean of Waiapu Cathedral, gay and and married.

He says, “I would like, in this late stage of my stipended ministry life, to feel as though I – and everyone else like me – finally will have a place to stand in this church.”

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