Private Members’ Motions – Liturgies for same-sex couples
The Church of England publishes the texts of motions proposed by individual members of General Synod here: Private Members’ Motions. The page is updated from time to time, most recently two days ago.
There has been this one addition since last month’s meeting of General Synod.
Liturgies for same-sex couples
Ms Christina Baron (Bath & Wells) to move:
‘That this Synod:
Request the House of Bishops to commend an Order of Prayer and Dedication after the registration of a civil partnership or a same sex marriage for use by ministers in exercise of their discretion under Canon B5, being a form of service neither contrary to, nor indicative of any departure from, the doctrine of the Church of England in any essential matter, together with guidance that no parish should be obliged to host, nor minister conduct, such a service.’
Private members’ motions are only considered for debate if they are signed by at least 100 General Synod members. The process for adding signatures is described here: GS Misc 1166.
The Church of England, having now shown its determination to allow women to occupy high ecclesial office with the recent appointment of a female Bishop of London (+Sarah Mulhally), seems more open to the possibility of Blessing of Same-Sex relationships than some other branches of the worldwide Anglican Communion – maybe even ACANZP.
While our dioceses are still in the process of affirming the intent of Motion 29, which would allow SSB to be offered by bishops and clergy who wish to do so – with no sanctions against those who do not (my own diocese of Christchurch having already affirmed the process), there is still the further step of the Motion being put to our General Synod in New Zealand in May of this year, before the actual details of how differences on this issue may be addressed/accommodated.
Although our New Zealand and Pacifica Province was well ahead of the Church of England with regard to the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate; like the Church of England; we still have not yet made up our minds about the blessing of same-sex relationships – either those of couples with the benefit of a State-recognised Equal Marriage or Civil Partnership – or even those members of the Church who want their monogamous, life-long-intended same-sex relationship to be recognised by a simple Blessing in the Church.
This issue is not going to simply go away. For the Christians whose lives are circumscribed by their inability to enter into a binary sex relationship the action, or inaction, of the Church on this matter, will no doubt have an influence on their faith in God and in the Church that presumes to carry out God’s purposes in the world. Meanwhile, the world itself moves on.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand