Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Blessing Same Sex Unions in Toronto

There is no longer any doubt in my mind that widepread, formal recognition by Christian churches of same-sex unions, by liturgical rites in church, is on the way - one small step at a time.
One of these small steps is in the diocese of Toronto, where the local archbishop has given pastoral guidelines for blessing same sex unions. Technically, the impact will be only local, in his own archdiocese, and limited to a simple blessing, not full marriage. Effectively, though, this one of those small steps that makes subsequent strides that much easier. Civil marriage for same sex couples is already a well-established fact of life in Canada. Church blessings in Toronto will soon spread across the nation, just as civil marriage did after a purely local introduction. From country-wide blessing of civil unions, to blessing civil marriages, to full church weddings, will be easy steps. Sweden already has gay and lesbian church weddings in the Lutheran church, with which Anglicans and Episcopalians are in communion. Other Scandinavian churches will soon follow suit - as will Canadian Anglicans, just a little later.

Archbishop Johnson with Queen Elizabeth, 2010

From Christian Post:

The Archbishop of Toronto, the Most Rev. Colin Johnson, issued pastoral guidelines this week to accommodate those in "stable committed same gender relationships" seeking a blessing of their commitment.
The guidelines, he acknowledged, will not be welcomed by all, with some opposing it and others feeling it is not nearly enough. But he stressed that those who disagree with same-gender blessings and those in favor of it are both recognized and affirmed in the diocese.
"The diversity of our diocesan community demonstrates that we are called to witness to the faith in a variety of ways, and though such witness is rooted in differing interpretations and understanding of holy scripture and the tradition, they are recognizably Anglican," the guidelines state.
In June, the legislative body of the Anglican Church of Canada agreed not to take any legislative action in response to differing views on same-sex blessings. The General Synod determined that they could not come to a common mind on the controversial issue, that a legislative approach would not be appropriate at the time, and that there are and will be a variety of practices across the Canadian church body.
With that, the Synod agreed to have "more conversation" on the matter.
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