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Canada’s Anglican Church provisionally approves same-sex marriage ceremonies

A man holds a rainbow coloured Canadian flag attached to a hockey stick during the" WorldPride" gay pride Parade in Toronto, on June 29, 2014. Toronto is hosting WorldPride, a week-long event that celebrates the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Mark Blinch *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-CANADA-ANGLICAN, originally transmitted on July 13, 2016.

TORONTO (RNS) Canada’s Anglican Church has provisionally voted to amend its rules to allow clergy to celebrate same-sex marriages, a day after it narrowly defeated the measure.

The General Synod will hold a second reading on the measure in 2019. If it passes, the Canadian church will join the Episcopal Church, which formally approved marriage ceremonies regardless of gender in 2015. As a consequence, the Anglican Communion placed temporary restrictions on the Episcopal Church.

On Monday (July 11), more than 200 delegates attending the Canadian church’s General Synod north of Toronto voted to reject same-sex marriage by a single vote after an emotional and divisive debate.

Some bishops, including Toronto Archbishop Colin Johnson, declared they would perform same-sex marriages despite the outcome.

“We cannot leave this synod with this kind of confusion,” Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Canadian church, told stunned delegates and clergy attending the six-day synod, held every three years to establish church policy.

To pass, a resolution requires two-thirds support from each of the three orders, or bodies, within the Canadian church: laity, clergy and bishops.

On Tuesday, Michael Thompson, the church’s general secretary, said the electronic voting system had miscoded his file, listing him as a lay person instead of a priest, causing the initial resolution to fail. The error was discovered after delegates requested a hard copy of the record.

The motion then passed — by one vote.

“This vote has been difficult for many, and no outcome can address all of our church’s need to live and work together,” Thompson said in a statement. “We have a long road ahead to restore our common life.”

In 2004, the church affirmed the “integrity and sanctity of committed adult same-sex relationships.” A year later, the Canadian government legalized same-sex marriage.

But the church’s work “is not done,” Hiltz told delegates. It now returns to provincial and diocesan synods for consideration and comment before the next General Synod in 2019 undertakes a second reading or vote.

Some bishops have said they will go ahead and approve same-sex marriages, citing a ruling that the church’s marriage canon does not explicitly prohibit them, said Matt Gardner, a church communications officer.

The head of the global Anglican Communion, Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, had no immediate reaction to the Canadian development, said his spokesman, Ed Thornton.

Anglican national churches in Brazil, South Africa, New Zealand and Scotland have taken steps toward approving and celebrating same-sex relationships.

(Ron Csillag is a Toronto-based correspondent)

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Ron Csillag

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  • And make no mistake folks — the term “apostate” is the CHARITABLE interpretation !!!!

  • Neither of you have to be Canadian Anglicans. Canadian Anglicans don’t have to join whatever fundie bigoted sect you guys belong to either.

  • ” The English Established Church, e.g., will more readily pardon an attack on 38 of its 39 articles than on 1/39 of its income.” (Marx/Capital)

  • Well, so far no fire and no brimstone has rained down on Canadian territory

  • Canadians voted in marriage equality a year before our courts granted it. The majority wanted it. Moreso than here. Still no divine wrath. In fact Canada has continued to prosper.

    It’s amazing how much bigotry is central to your Christian faith. How you call other Christian sects heretics and apostates because they won’t hate like you do. How pathetic.

  • So you are clearly saying, “so far”, just like Frank said above.

    I am merely agreeing with that sentiment, nothing more.

  • I am making fun of your prognostication. Praying for the destruction of those you disagree with is standard passive aggressive Christian fundie practice. It gets more fun when nabobs like yourself will blame any unrelated tragedy on the fact that ones society is progressive.

  • O Canada! (That’s all I know of the Canadian anthem.) Congratulations to the Canadian Anglican Church! Equality for All, Marriage for All – it’s a beautiful thing.

  • Nor will it, ever. Love and acceptance are what we all should be supporting, whether one is a Christian, Muslim or Jew.

  • I haven’t prayed for anybody’s destruction. Never have, never will.

    And like you said, so far there are no signs that catastrophic divine judgment has come to Canada. So far.

    In fact, since the article is not really about Canada but instead about how very low the Canadian Anglican Church has sunk, I’ll even go you one better and say that, SO FAR, the apostate backslidden quicksand Canadian Anglican Church is showing no signs of catastrophic divine judgment.

    So far. Not yet. All quiet on the Canadian front.

  • Of course you aren’t. You are just expecting divine wrath upon Canada because they don’t hate the same people you do. But if a society can survive the ravages of poutine, back bacon and the music stylings of of Bryan Adams and Shania Twain, they are indestructible. Your expectations of God’s doom coming to Canada will come for naught.

    You have a strange definition of cultural lows. As I say, bigotry is so central to your faith that you cannot conceive of Christians who do not share it.

  • “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

  • It’s what I always say about the political and religious and religiously political grifters who have made an enemy out of gay people, and are willing to repeat any reviling and slanderous remarks about them for the sake of powe, money, and dominion.

  • All those touristy Canadian cigar stores must be concerned about the normalization of US-Cuba relations. There goes their niche.

  • I can see that your opinion is shaped by your a theistic disposition. You lack many things and I don’t have to waste time arguing about something that is natural and man made. They are out there for every right thinking person to know. Any church that changes scripture to satisfy a group amounts to appoststacy. Bible is far ahead of politics, it has been there for centuries. I don’t attend Anglican and don’t forget, there is a division in that community.

  • I suspect that you are one of the people I am referring to. Thank you for sharing. I also suspect you are one of those True Christians that feel perfectly good about attacking other Christians for not being as good Christians as you are.

    By your very own statement, every Christian is an apostate just waiting to happen.

  • Meh…the embargo won’t be lifted anytime soon…don’t hold your breath

  • The Anglican church which has its roots from Britain, otherwise known and called church of England is a sale out. The conservative wing mostly in Africa and Asia have broken away and no longer affiliate with it some years ago when it first recognized and ordained gay bishop. I thank God I don’t worship or identify with apostate church. In my estimation, the church is filty.

  • Very good point. Plus Canada produces more comedians per capita than any other English speaking nation.

  • These churches are no longer relevant so it doesn’t matter what they say or do. Whatever they “decide” in 2019, marriage will always be one man-one woman.

  • Not much, it appears. Jesus didn’t come to Earth to create paradise, love or unity, good though all those things are, but to save us from our sins that prevent us from living with God in eternity. Any church’s job is simply to help that process along: to remind us all of our sins and push us to repentance. In that sense, these dying apostate churches are failing miserably in their duty. Just like robbers, adulterers, gluttons, etc. they need to be telling homosexuals with love and compassion to turn from their lifestyles towards God. I’m not holding my breath.

  • Yes, there does seem to be a great winnowing taking place, doesn’t there. It is also helping to redefine Christianity away from the big established churches with their PC bureacracies and state funding towards smaller, independent house churches that stick to the Bible. All good news.

  • Spuddie, I prefer the term “biblical” to hateful language such as “fundie” or “bigot”. Homosexual acts are clearly condemned throughout the bible in both testaments and Jesus himself said that marriage is between a man and a woman too. You can’t be a Christian without accepting those facts. They are indisputable. No follower of Jesus can condone sins such as adultery, murder, sexual perversion or any other. I hope you’ll learn to see that this is not “bigotry” but faithfulness to unchangeable moral laws. Yours in, I hope, friendship.

  • You would like to pretend your view is the sole voice and interpretation for all Christiandom as well. But that isn’t being honest. I am not going to pretend your view is the only Christian or biblical one out there. If being honest is hateful to you, so be it.

    Bigot is appropriate for people who attack others in service of their prejudices. If you don’t like the label, don’t look for excuses to ostracize attack and discriminate against others using your religion as a pretext.

    “You can’t be a Christian without accepting those facts.”

    That is entirely your view. Many Christian sects beg to differ. You option on such sects doesn’t change the fact their Christian. Evidently bigotry and malice are such defining features of your version of Christian it’s that you deny the existence of others sects which do not share such feelings.

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