ACANZP – General Synod defers decision on S/S/ Blessings

‘A Way Forward’ on same-sex blessings has been tabled until the 2018 General Synod.


The Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has decided to table its ‘A Way Forward’ report on blessings of same-sex couples until General Synod 2018, “with a firm expectation that a decision to move forward will be made” at that time.
Archbishop Brown Turei, Archbishop Philip Richardson and Archbishop Winston Halapua will appoint a working group to establish a structure that allows both those who can and cannot support the blessing of same-sex relationships to remain within the church with integrity.
The three archbishops made this statement today:
“We are aware of the considerable pain that this decision will cause to those most affected.
“But we are confident that our determination to work together across our differences will bring us to a place of dignity and justice for everyone.”


I may not be the only priest in our Church in Aotearoa/New Zealand and Polynesia to feel let down by the decision, announced today at General Synod in Napier, to postpone the prospect of allowing for the Blessing of Same-Sex Couples in our churches. This could be put down to what has become known in ecclesiastical circles as ‘Anglican Fudge’

No doubt, the fact that the wording of the proposed legislation was cumbersome – if not clumsily framed (for instance: incorporating the Church Blessing of both heterosexual and homosexual civilly married couples in the same measure); but with time allowed at Synod for a better worded Motion (than Motion 30, the original), one could have hoped that there had been enough time for both opponents and supporters to address their differences and get on with the appropriate safeguards for both parties in Synod

However, it would seem that representatives from at least two dioceses – Christchurch and Nelson  (both conservative, by and large) – were insistent that there should not be any substantive provision made for the blessing of Same-Sex Unions in the meantime. The only ‘way forward’ for the conservatives in Synod seems to have been to delay any such measure till at least the next Meeting of the General Synod in 2018. (One could quote the old adage: “Justice delayed is justice denied”).

Considering the hopes that had been built up in the minds of those interested in going forward with the Measure proposed at the last General Synod in 2014 – to find a ‘Way Forward’ for the Blessing of Same-Sex Unions; this delaying process must be accounted as a grace disappointment with the processes of Church Government that seems, always to process change at the pace of its slowest (read conservative) members.

It could be that the majority of Church-goers, who have come to  accept the situation of legalized Same-Sex Marriage in the civil realm, are perhaps wondering why the Church is holding back from sharing the joy that this openness to a significant minority has given to the friends and families of such couples in our church. However, it would seem that the relics of a one-time culture of sexism and homophobia will take longer to be eradicated in our Church – at least to the degree to which the Primates of the Anglican Communion committed themselves in their recent meeting in Canterbury.

After all, our Church is not being asked to actually ‘marry’ the couples concerned – only to offer a Church Blessing to those in our own congregations who have been legally and civilly married out in the real world.

My question is: Is this how Christ would have treated them?

Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison!

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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2 Responses to ACANZP – General Synod defers decision on S/S/ Blessings

  1. Brian Ralph says:

    I suppose I have expected this. The many nice people in the church are too weak willed to stand up to the conservatives and I do not want to write my thoughts of those people on your blog. The only reason I will continue to attend my Anglican parish of St John’s Roslyn is because 2 elderly ladies rely on me for transport and would not understand if I told them I no longer felt part of the church. In NZ, the only place where I am a 2nd class citizen is when I enter the church. I have found far more acceptance amongst my many non-Christian straight friends who never go near a church than in the church.
    I left Australia and especially the Sydney diocese to find a country and a church where I am accepted. I am now proud to be a NZ citizen, Australian politicians are unwilling to stand up to the church just like the Anglican church of Aoteaora New Zealand. I will no longer put Anglican or even Christian on any forms asking my religion. I made a decision for Christ at about age 7. I have told many people I now consider that the worst decision of my life. As I read history I see that the established church has long stood against human rights although individual Christians may have worked for them. I still believe in a God but have come to the belief that much of the Bible which I have read daily for most of my life is just a lot of nonsense. Now I only read it (or hear it read) when I attend church.

  2. kiwianglo says:

    Well, Brian, I am now 86 years old, and I hope not to die before ACANZP welcomes the LGBTQ Community in the Church with the grace and respect that it deserves. I, too, am very disappointed with the outcome of G.S.2018 – especially as both Maori and Pasifika Tikanga members were willing – despite some unease among some of their members on cultural grounds – to allow the Blessing of S/S Unions to proceed. However, this battle may have been ‘won’ by the conservative element in our Church, but the Peace that passes all our human understanding will not come until justice is done, and seen to be done – perhaps at G.S.2018?

    This is all very sad – especially after even the recent Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury, U.K. voted overwhelmingly to condemn homophobia in Provinces of the world-wide Anglican Communion.

    However, God is not dead! Christ is Risen and Ascended, Alleluia, and will come again.

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