October 2019: LGTBIQA+ Inclusion
To affirm the Parish Council position on inclusion of LGBTIQA+ parishioners, underpinned by our belief of the Real Presence of Christ both in sacramental forms and community of the faithful. To affirm the Anglican ethos of unity in diversity and reject rhetoric that would seek to sow division among God’s people. To express solidarity with the Diocese of Wangaratta, which has recently developed a rite of blessing for civil marriages.
- The 2015 Annual Meeting of the Parish passed the following resolution without a single opposing vote, noting: (a) That Changing Attitude Australia was established to move forward the debate about human sexuality in the Anglican Church and beyond(b) That Changing Attitude Australia has invited parishes to identify themselves as’‘Welcoming Congregations’; this designation is intended to signal that the congregation is one where gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people can be guaranteed a welcome; that this Annual Meeting confirms St Peter’s membership of Changing Attitude Australia and reaffirms our wish to be designated as a ‘Welcoming Congregation’
- In 2017, Parish Council responded to the postal survey on marriage equality by passing a resolution that noted the contribution made by LGBTIQA+ parishioners to the parish, while deploring hateful attacks on the LGBTIQA+ community that the postal survey had enabled and expressing support for the Yes vote, recognising that the postal survey was about civil marriages only.
- In October of 2019, Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev’d Glenn Davies, asked those within the Church who were personally in favour of marriage equality to leave the Church on grounds that their support for marriage equality fatally compromised the Church’s mission. Also in October, at the Melbourne Diocesan Synod, a motion was passed that expressed the Synod’s sorrow at the Diocese of Wangaratta’s development of a rite of blessings for civil marriages.
4. That the Parish Council of St Peter’s Eastern Hill:
(a) Embodies and proclaims the Real Presence of Christ, both in sacramental forms and in the community of the faithful;
(b) Believes that Jesus points us to a God of infinite and transformational love;
(c) Witnesses that the Jesus who is present at St Peter’s is an inclusive Jesus who welcomed those rejected by the religious authorities of the first century CE;
(d) Notes that the 2015 Annual Meeting supported the Parish being an inclusive and welcoming congregation;
(e) Notes the parish’s support for marriage equality during the 2017 postal survey;
(f) Notes the contribution made by LGBTIQA+ people to the life and witness of the parish over many years;
(g) Deplores the recent remarks by the Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, asking people to depart the Anglican church which sought to privilege a narrow and doctrinaire view of Anglicanism;
(h) Deplores a recent motion by the Synod of the Diocese of Melbourne that expressed “sorrow” with respect to Wangaratta’s recent development of a rite to bless civil marriages;
(i) Notes recent moves by the Diocese of Wangaratta to introduce a rite of blessing for civil marriages, including same-sex marriages, is theologically consistent with our support for same-sex civil marriage during the 2017 postal survey:
(j) Reaffirms our commitment to inclusion as a necessary outcome of our commitment to living the Gospel in the world;
(k) Reaffirms our support in particular of LGBTIQA+ parishioners;
(l) Reaffirms our commitment to an authentically inclusive Anglican ethos, which accommodates diverse perspectives and rejects the rhetoric of division;
(m) Rejects recent divisive comments by Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, which are at odds with a traditionally Anglican understanding of unity in diversity;
(n) Disassociates itself from the recent Melbourne Synod resolution expressing “sorrow” over the Diocese of Wangaratta’s introduction of a rite of blessing for civil marriages on the grounds that this motion is also at odds with a traditionally Anglican understanding of unity of diversity;
(o) Welcomes and expresses joy that the Diocese of Wangaratta has developed a rite for blessing civil marriages, including same-sex marriages;
(p) Expresses solidarity with the Diocese of Wangaratta, which has sought to respond sensitively and pastorally to the very rapid growth of civil marriages in Australia, alongside recent changes to the Marriage Act (1961) following the outcome of the postal survey in November 2017.
Parish Council agrees that this position should be promulgated within the Parish of St Peter’s Eastern Hill and externally via social media.
In the wake of the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney’s statement that LGBTQI people have no place in the Church and should just ‘Go Away!’, the Parish of Saint Peter’s, Eastern Hill, in Melbourne has made this Statement of Support for LGBTQI people, in the belief that ALL people are made in the Divine Image and Likeness, and ALL are loved by God whatever their Sexual or Gender identity might be.
Father, Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand