Monday, February 29, 2016

A Way Forward: Sections 1 and 2: Critical Review (1)

To read the A Way Forward report in full, go here. To read it in sections, go here.

For this post we are concerned with the Introduction and the Executive Summary.

Incidentally, on the front page of the report, is the name of our church correct? I thought it is "the Anglican Church IN Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia" but the title page has "the Anglican Church OF Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia."

Why a Critical Review?

The unexamined life is not worth living and the unexamined report is not worth having. Given that this report and its recommendations have some capacity - depending on what, precisely, General Synod in May 2016 agrees to - to (at best) divide the church into two integrities and to (at worst) divide the church into two schismatic tendencies, it is worth subjecting the report to careful, critical scrutiny. To an important degree that has already happened here at ADU with brilliant comments made to my initial posts about the report last week. But the series I am proposing through this and subsequent Mondays (+/- a day), between now and General Synod, will enable some systematic consideration to be given to the report, section by section.

I will just say once in this series: our church owes a great deal to the group who produced the report. They worked hard, and spent countless hours on the task. They deserve our thanks and praise for producing something worth discussing and, it perhaps will prove, in the end worth passing into legislation.

So, to the Introduction and Executive Summary

I don't have much to say about the Introduction and the Executive Summary, sections 1 and 2. They are what they are, and useful for that. But the Introduction does remind us who was on the group that produced the report: thirteen members of our church, drawn from our three Tikanga. In the Introduction we are told of something I suggest all readers of the report keep in mind at all times:

"While working group members agree that they have met the brief given, they were not and are not of one mind on many issues."

And later, in respect of the key to any such report, its substantive theological base, as well as connecting that theological set of explanations to our constitution and Church of England Empowering Act (1928):

"The explanations are not necessarily the views of every individual member."

So, General Synod, good luck with making a decision, from your working group that could not find a common mind on a set of compromises!

The Executive Summary is what it is, but a couple of statements within it could be highlighted here.

Risk

First, in respect of an issue for a number of clerical colleagues, that changes to what we believe as a whole church might imperil any priest refusing to conduct the blessing of a same sex relationship if that couple chose to sue the priest on grounds of discrimination:

"The canons of this Church already make provision for any priest or bishop to decline to perform a rite of marriage. It is not anticipated by the group that any such minister could be held to be non-compliant with any relevant parliamentary legislation through electing not to perform a rite of blessing for a couple married under civil legislation."

I think I see the legal reasoning here: a civilly married couple are not being refused marriage by a priest who will not bless their relationship. But would that, in itself, prevent a case being taken by a lawyer who generally sought to convince a judge that said priest acted in a discriminatory manner by refusing to bless the couple?

Two Integrities

Secondly, in respect of the matter of two integrities in our church (should the report's recommendations become, in due course, legislated into the canons and formularies of this Church):

"The working group believes that the proposed rites and canonical changes contained in this report, if adopted, will enable every priest and bishop in the Anglican church in this province to retain their integrity within the Church: those who believe the blessing of same-sex persons is congruent with scripture, tikanga and doctrine, and those who believe that such a blessing is contrary to these."

At precisely this point I would like to know if this is, in fact, the unanimous view of the working group or whether this is a matter on which the working group was not of one mind. If the former I would feel more confident that these two integrities have a chance of being birthed. If the latter then I would be interested to learn more about what other possibilities exist in the minds of the working group members.

This matter of "two integrities" is of the highest importance if we are to remain one church. There will be more to say in subsequent weeks as I work through the next sections of the report.

Next week, the "dynamic nature of Doctrine." And, no, "Doctrine" is not one of the names of the new teams in the expanded Super Rugby competition.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...


"But would that, in itself, prevent a case being taken by a lawyer who generally sought to convince a judge that said priest acted in a discriminatory manner by refusing to bless the couple?"

Peter, my main point in what follows concerns not law, but marriage. Perhaps this comment will inspire a Kiwi of the profession of the law to post a comment that improves on my mere speculation. Your readers would certainly welcome such comments, as would I. But my basic concern is that every church cease to do Caesar's part in marriage and begin to do Christ's part instead.

Here beginneth a parable of the law.

Presumptively, every *public accommodation* must be offered equally to all. Where that is the rule, the plaintiff in a discrimination suit will argue that the respondent offers a public accommodation.

So how might one prove that a blessing is a public accommodation? One might argue that it is a good or service ordinarily offered to anyone able to meet a stipulated set of conditions. Since, for some, the sole point of a blessing is its equal and unconditional availability, it must indeed be a public accommodation. Hence the worry.

How might one rebut the claim that a blessing is a public accommodation? One could argue that it was not in fact available to all, but only as a part of a pastoral relationship with a patently religious and non-public character that did not in every case result in blessing. Not only does this rebut the worrisome claim, but it establishes a robust line of defense: since each blessing is unique (eg in the way that each absolution in penance is unique), cases cannot be compared, and a charge of discrimination is unintelligible. But this removes blessing a step or two from SSM, which clearly is a public accommodation, to pastoral rites like confirmation or ordination which clearly are not.

Here endeth the parable of the law.

Bowman Walton

Anonymous said...

Cont'd

Which brings to mind our earlier discussion of the trichotomy of marriage-- created pairbonding, state registration, church blessing. You will recall that *created pairbonding* is the universal interpersonal reality, *state registration* is the social recognition of that reality, and *church blessing* entrusts a pair in that reality to God.

Because the state registration is sufficient to make a recognisable marriage, and achieves already in itself the commutative justice of availability to anyone who can meet a stipulated set of conditions, why would that also be a church's part in marriage? This seems to be both redundant and disparaging of the dignity of the state's proper role. And how is that availability etc related to a church as the totus Christus? The rite may have religious language in it, but so do the rites in Las Vegas wedding chapels, Wicca circles, and other non-churches. How does it manifest a Christian view of pairbonding as God's creation? And finally, why would the ACANZP require married members to receive blessings that have no intrinsic connection to what ACANZP is?

On the other hand, a pastoral relationship that results, when appropriate, in a blessing that sets the couple, their circumstances, and their state of life in the context of God's wider purposes is much more plausible as the church's part in the totality of marriage.

Interestingly, such a relationship with blessing is open to robust theologies about *created pairbonding*, but it does not require that they agree in detail so long as they make sense of the blessing. One can easily see how clergy for whom the inner meaning of all pairbonding is Genesis 1:28, Genesis 2:18, the Song of Songs, St Matthew 19:1-12, Ephesians 5, and Revelations 21 could lead a quite traditional journey into the Great Mystery. Clergy who understand the inner meaning of all pairbonding in Christ in terms of other scriptures could reach the common destination by a different path. Very importantly, such an approach protects the conscience, not simply with a right to decline to work with some couples, but also with a new freedom to teach what the scriptures show about marriage in Christ.

In that way, it may be the basis for a bargain. It gives proponents of SSB a rite that they want and the pastoral flexibility to develop its use over time as the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to SSM become for clear. But it does not send opponents of SSB away empty-handed. It gives them a new context in which to teach their theology of marriage, some of which is also quite new. It probably also gives them a rite that bears clearer witness to that teaching than the lawyerly rite of 1662. It may also be that neither side wants to concede what they do in this deal, but also that both sides have strong reason to take what it offers.

Bowman Walton

Liturgy said...

Thanks so much, Peter, for undertaking this systematic framework for discussion.
Thanks also to those who put such work into producing this document.

I think they have been let down in their work.
The original presentation has already been critiqued on this site in a comment on a previous post.
The "full text" at least seems to have been replaced with a PDF, but the "sections" are still in web pages that have stripped the text of formatting and numbering.
You rightly point out they get the name of our church wrong. This occurs frequently. If we cannot get the name of our church correct at the highest level - change the name of our church to one that our leaders can remember.
It is different to what you indicate they have called it. "Province" is capitalised in the text. They name of our church in the document is "the Province of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia".
The layout of the pages, with that title going over a page, makes the work look rushed.
In the Archbishops' WFWG covering letter, why is Archbishop Winston Halapua titled "Bishop for Polynesia in Aotearoa New Zealand"?

Your Two Integrities question is the most important one in today's post, I think: Is the the working group's belief that the proposed rites and canonical changes contained in this report, if adopted, will enable every priest and bishop in the Anglican church in this province to retain their integrity within the Church the unanimous view of the working group or is this is a matter on which the working group was not of one mind? That should have been clearly spelt out in the report.

Blessings

Bosco

Father Ron Smith said...

"Incidentally, on the front page of the report, is the name of our church correct? I thought it is "the Anglican Church IN Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia" but the title page has "the Anglican Church OF Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia." - Dr. Peter Carrell -

Apropos this little anomoly: 'IN' or 'OF' ?

One-time beloved Anglican Bishop IN Polynesia, The Rt. Revd. John-Charles Vockler, was once asked whtehr his correct title should not be Bishop OF Polynesia - simply because he was travelling overseas, mostly to the USA, engaged in fund-raising for the diocese OF Polynesia.

The good bishop's own mind on this matter was that, as he was only one of two Bishops in Polynesia (at that time there was a Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church in the same area); it was thought better to call himself a 'Bishop IN Polynesia'.

My question is, does a simple preposition change the esse of a bishp's location or authority?

Father Ron Smith said...

""The working group believes that the proposed rites and canonical changes contained in this report, if adopted, will enable every priest and bishop in the Anglican church in this province to retain their integrity within the Church: those who believe the blessing of same-sex persons is congruent with scripture, tikanga and doctrine, and those who believe that such a blessing is contrary to these."

One wonders whether each diocesan bishop - whatever their personal feeling about Same-Sex Blessings is (provided this passes through the regulatory processes) - should allow individual parishes to make up their own minds about whether, or not, to provided Same-Sex Blessings. After all, the individual parish is where the pastoral needs are actually met, that are being talked about in these conversations.

In that way, any 'blame' attached to the celebration of Same-Sex Blessings would be experienced at the parish level - rather than in the (maybe rather more sensitive) bishop's theological preferences.
This will also encourage LGBTI people to migrate to parishes where they can actually experience the Love of God towards them in the local Church Community - without prejudice.

Liturgy said...

Fr Ron reads what he quotes from the report (at his 10:11pm comment) differently to the way I read it, but in doing so raises an important discussion.

I understand his quote to simply mean a bishop or priest follows his/her conscience and can bless or not bless a couple. This blessing will be a formulary of our church. My understanding is that a bishop cannot prevent someone in his/her diocese from using a formulary of our church. A vicar cannot prevent an assistant priest in a parish from using a formulary of our church.

Fr Ron is raising the important discussion: if a bishop, for example, believes the blessing of same-sex persons is contrary to scripture, tikanga and doctrine, is that bishop's integrity not compromised by having such a blessing within his/her diocese over which s/he has oversight? And vice versa for those who believe it is congruent.

I look forward to the responses to the point Fr Ron's opens up.

Blessings

Bosco

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron and Bosco
A few observations (to sit alongside your questions and observations, not to counter them):
- if the recommendations are passed without amendment, then I understand that a Diocese choosing not to have blessings would not be able to permit one or two parishes to, nevertheless, offer them;
- I imagine that is, at least, for the reason that the report ties blessings to possibilities re ordination and appointment: it would be invidious to be a diocese generally against blessings, permitting a few to occur, but then denying such blessed persons the opportunity to be discerned for ordination;
- I also imagine some or most and even all our bishops might say that on these matters their conscience is informed by the church's discernment! A local synod voting wholeheartedly in the houses of clergy and laity for blessings to occur would guide the conscience of the bishop otherwise inclined not to perform them (!?)
- on each of the matters you raise, the question arises whether the "Diocese by Diocese" basis of choosing re implementation is the best way forward. It is a longer discussion but I recognise that other (attractive) ways nevertheless have their shortcomings and thus the working group's recommendation will stand scrutiny.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bowman
Thanks for careful consideration of the nuances ... sleeping better already!

Liturgy said...

Peter - you said, "I understand that a Diocese choosing not to have blessings"

I saw allusions to that in the report - but could you point to the actual place where it is clearly defined that dioceses choose diocese by diocese to allow blessings or not?
& how can a diocese forbid the use of a formulary?
Could a diocese forbid "Reconciliation of a Penitent"? Or only allow the use of "page 404"?
If so, please point to on what basis.

Blessings

Bosco

spicksandspecks said...

The Dunedin Doctrines (or even Darwin or Dubbo Doctrines)has quite a ring to it, don't you think? :)

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco
The report says in various places, including handily in the executive summary that on a diocese by diocese basis there would be a choice to authorise or not the rite for the blessing of a same sex relationship.

Now the question remains whether this is a power our church can give its dioceses in respect of formularies, so your "how can a diocese forbid etc" is a question to which GS will either give an excellent answer, a poor answer, or no answer because it (in the end) refuses to move in such a direction.

Father Ron Smith said...

One important matter arising out of this conversaqtion has just been illustrated in the repsonse of the Chair of the Canadian Anglican General Synod to the House of Bishops Report that it would not be able to afford majority support for a change in the Marriage statue att the upcoming General Synod of the Canadain Church.

What has been point out by the synod Chair, is that such an important matter should not be a decision for Bishops alone, but decisions for the Church can only be made at the Meeting of all 3 Houses of the General Synod; including the Laity and the Clergy of that Church.

This does raise the question of, whether or not, the bishops of ACANZP should be given the authority to over-rule a decision of the G.S. - whatever the outcome of the availability of a particular process might be - in this instance the use of a Service of Blessing for S.S. Unions.

One hopes that such jurisdictional matters will not delay the Synod's promulgation of a Rite for Same-Sex Blessings in our Church. It is the very least we should provide for the right-ordering of Same-Sex monogamous relationships. Such a provision for Gay couples might even encourage heterosexual couples to take their call to marriage more seriously, which is what the Church wants, surely?

Liturgy said...

Peter, you wrote, "in the executive summary [it states] that on a diocese by diocese basis there would be a choice to authorise or not the rite for the blessing of a same sex relationship".

I would really like you to quote from the document where it clearly states this.
All I can see is, "It is necessary to present both rites to allow for the possibility of any diocese or amorangi choosing to adopt the rite of blessing for opposite-sex couples only." which does not make it anywhere near as clear as your statement.

With the intention to allow bishops to have their integrity in the diocese over which they have oversight, it makes sense that the whole diocese hold to the bishop's integrity. This means that if a bishop is of a mind that blessing a committed same-sex couple is contrary to scripture, priests within that diocese cannot exercise their integrity should they believe that blessing such love in church is part of the Gospel.

Alongside looking for where the document makes the diocese-by-diocese decision possibility clear, my primary question is how this is possible? My understanding is that we are a voluntary compact of dioceses who have thereby given over the right of the primary church unit (the diocese) to a communion of dioceses, and in doing so we cannot depart from the formularies we have agreed on together within this communion we call The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

To illustrate in the extreme. An individual diocese cannot depart from our agreed beliefs - one diocese cannot decide to add Mary to the Trinity; another diocese cannot decide to remove the Holy Spirit from the Trinity.

Your reply to me, Peter, was that this is an issue that GSTHW will need to grapple with. I think that it is remiss if the document is unclear about this - especially how this can be done.

Let me add another issue. Diocese A has Bishop A in favour of blessing same-sex couples, and a slight majority amongst clergy & laity - so it is voted through in Diocese A. After three years Bishop A retires. The diocese elects B as their new bishop, but Bishop B holds that blessing same-sex couples is contrary to scripture. We now have a diocese overseen by a bishop whose integrity is being compromised.

Let me add to the messiness of our church whose name varies regularly: The Executive Summary mentions Te Pouhere based on, amongst other things, A New Zealand Prayer Book – He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa. But what "A New Zealand Prayer Book – He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa" refers to varies. Some think it refers to a physical, published book - but I know people, highly influential and significant in our church, who see NZPB as referring to ALL liturgical formularies - bound physically together at different stages in different forms - or not ever bound together physically at all. This means, of course, that the Blessing rites will form part of A New Zealand Prayer Book – He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa and thereby part of the foundational doctrine of our church per Te Pouhere.

Blessings

Bosco

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco
Try page 27 of the report, proposed changes to Title G Canon III Part B: Of Civil Marriages.

The gist: a minister may conduct the blessing of a civil marriage providing (a) A GS authorised service to do so exists; and (b) the Synod of the Diocese in which the minister holds a licence has authorised the use of any such service (according to (a)) for "such a civil marriage"; and (c) [Section 3.3] has the permission of the local bishop if the service is conducted in another diocese.

Now, it could be argued that this is a "weak" rather than "strong" form of prohibiting the blessing of same sex relationships in Dioceses which choose not to authorise the use of such services, but the point remains that the proposal is that Dioceses would have discretion to choose whether to do so or not.

Is it a departure from the formularies to prohibit the use of one of them?
(As an instance, a number of us are very uncomfortable about our second marriage service (and share that discomfort with the many couples preparing for marriage who, in my experience, do not choose that service). Would it be a departure from the formularies if a bishop said to his licensed priests, "Do not use that service"? [Obviously it would be "illegal" on current legislation for a bishop to make such a ban, but could it, theoretically, be possible to do so, without it being considered a "departure"?])

I agree that Dioceses cannot add Mary to the Trinity, but, may I ask, how can some parishes here add words to NZ eucharists asking that the sacrifice about to be made be acceptable to God??????????

On changing bishops in a diocese: I would presume in the example you present that either electoral synods will question prospective candidates on what they would wish to do re authorisation or not and, conversely, successful candidates, once elected bishop, would decide whether or not to ask their synod to agree with their views on authorisation or not. That is, Dioceses, I am presuming, could collectively change their minds from time to time.

Liturgy said...

With the greatest respect, Peter, I dispute nearly every point you make:

1) Formularies trump canons. General Synod is slowly acknowledging that it has been misunderstanding the way we can make agreements as a church. A good example of a misunderstanding is Title G Canon III 2.6: "The minister shall use one of the marriage services or a composite of the required elements of the authorised services provided in the Formularies of the Church." If we want the ability to mix and match marriage rites we need to alter the formulary - we cannot make this change by a canon. Similarly, the canon suggestion you quote is not legally able to effect the change that you contend it does.

2) No - a bishop cannot 'say to his licensed priests, "Do not use that service"'. The bishop is subject to General Synod and has thereby vowed and signed agreement to all the formularies. However uncomfortable one feels, if the bishop wants to remove the formulary s/he needs to go through the normal processes to do so.

3) I'm very surprised at your multiple-question-mark question. The ability to add words into the Eucharist is a formulary of our church. The words you allude to have been used by bishops of our church.

4) Could you formulate a motion in Diocese A now with Bishop B that you can assure would pass in all three houses of the diocesan synod and maintain the integrity of Bishop B? I struggle to do so.

Blessings

Bosco

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco
(1) Then your dispute is with GS ... what if you were to write to the General Secretary and to the legal eagles advising him and the Primates?
(2) Agreed re a bishop forbidding the use of formularies. But the proposed legislation would create one option for not authorising use of a formulary so, Ditto re (1).
(3) One can only add words that are consistent with the Doctrine and Sacraments of Christ as understood in this church which is not the Roman church!
(4) Probably not, but my point is that (a) a bishop could be elected who is uncomfortable with the Diocesan policy of her or his new Diocese; (b) there is opportunity for bishop and diocese to become aligned in policy.

Father Ron Smith said...

Great questrions, Bosco. Questions that really need to be sorted before the next General Synod.

Liturgy said...

Hi Peter

A) There is no such thing as "not authorising use of a formulary". As you know, there are few checks and balances on changing a canon. The suggested canon you see as enabling this process can be changed by a majority at the next meeting of General Synod. If canons can trump formularies, then the whole formulary structure is just a cynical farce. Which it is not. I have been saying this for years - now at the last General Synod meeting there has been acknowledgement beginning that this is correct.

B) The only way you can test your opinion on (3) that it is inconsistent is to submit this to the appropriate Title D process.

Blessings

Bosco

Anonymous said...

Rev'd and dear fathers, Bosco, Peter, and Ron:

If a *Formulary* is a received doctrine, such as the Nicene Creed, then it surprises me that a somewhat experimental and even controversial item such as a rite for blessing from a local task force would be exalted to that supernal category. Have I misunderstood your conversation? Is Motion 30 overreaching?

Bowman Walton

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bowman
My working understanding of a "formulary" according to our church's legislation and liturgical commitments is that a "formulary" is an agreed liturgy or set of liturgies, as decided and agreed by our church through General Synod approving twice, the diocesan synods also approving, and there being no appeal within 12 months of the second GS approval. Thus and so a formulary expresses the doctrine of our church, and what has been decided becomes part of the way in which we interpret and understand the general state of our church's teaching, summed up as the Doctrine and Sacraments of Christ.

Thus our formularies include "high" doctrine such as the Nicene Creed as well as "practical matters" such as a rubric that intinction is an acceptable manner of receiving the bread and wine of communion, for the agreement of the church involves both the prayers we use and the rubrics we apply to the practice of worship.

So the proposal is that our formularies are expanded to include two new services of blessing.

The difficulty is that we would then be a church which said/believed one thing (services X1 and X2 are formularies of our church so this is what we believe) and (in some dioceses) did another thing (we do not authorise THAT formulary for use here.

Thus - IMHO - we face the question, perhaps unique(ish) in the history of the church, of whether we can carry off this particular "trick/sleight of legislative/liturgical hand" of formulary-and-canon as a means of holdinjg together a church in disagreement.

See also Bosco Peters today who has posted: http://liturgy.co.nz/blessing-same-sex-couples-a-way-forward

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Bowman,

What ought be understood about 'formularies' of ACANZP is that, though these may be 'authorised rites'; clergy are not necessarily forced to celebrate themm for a number of reasons.

A licenced clergy-person may, for instance, refuse to marry a divorced person; or to Baptise the child of unbelievers. YES, believe it or not.

Thus, apparently, even if the proceeds of Motion 30 are put into our Statue Books (formularies), clergy will still not be forced to celebrate S/S Blessings. This is one of the 'benefits' of not being a State Church.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron/Bowman
But that is only one issue about formularies!
They also express the beliefs of this church, that is, the beliefs of this church to which holders of licences and offices of this church sign to give adherence.
I may refuse the baptism of a child of non-believers but I cannot refuse to believe the contents of the service.
What we are discussing with the proposed formulary for the blessing of a same sex partnership is whether people can be part of a church with at least one formulary they do not accept as expressing the truth of God. Much more is at stake than whether I or you will ever use said formulary!

Anonymous said...

"What we are discussing with the proposed formulary for the blessing of a same sex partnership is whether people can be part of a church with at least one formulary they do not accept as expressing the truth of God. Much more is at stake than whether I or you will ever use said formulary!"

Yes, Peter, that motivated my query.

As you may know, TEC pondered the same question with respect to its new marriage rite. The Task Force for the Study of Marriage had proposed a rite under TEC's dormant provision for Trial Use of a service devised by, say, the Standing Liturgical Commission during a rare revision of the whole BCP. Some were very concerned about the rights of dissenting dioceses to not use a service thus authorised by the General Convention. So last week (or was it the week before?) I linked to an Episcopal Cafe thread with a rather warm discussion of this topic featuring snarky you-have-nothing-to-worry-about TFSM members and suspicious but-you-people-depose-those-who-disagree-with-you Ephraim Radner and Christopher Seitz.

More anon.

Bowman Walton

Father Ron Smith said...

An interesting parallel with all of this is the way in which protesters against the 'Two Integrities' involved in the Church of England. This was managed at first by the dissenting group moving out - to the R.C. Ordinariates. However, the C. of E. did not sink. It went on to proclaim Women as Bishops, not only priests. So where will the 'protesters move to on this issue? - GAFCON, perhaps, or F.o.C.A.? - Joining the Sydney Diocese in a separate Communion?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
Why is the presumption that those opposed to blessings might leave?
If blessings are not approved will those seeking them leave for (e.g.) TEC?

Father Ron Smith said...

I'm only thinking of what has happened, historically, Peter, in other jurisdictions. In fact, our friends in Australia, the Sydney diocese with David Ould and co., have already made threats to shack up with FoCA if the other Australian provinces don't play ball according to their (Sydney's) Aussie Rules.

Anonymous said...


It might be interesting, inexpensive, and perhaps even calming to see a poll in which Anglicans in your blessed province ranked the matter among other religious concerns, and literally for good measure, rated it on a few Lykert Scales:

1. In assessing your relationship to ACANZP, how would you rank the importance of these areas of concern in ACANZP today?

[25 issues listed, including "bleesings of same sex relationships"]

As you may know, ACANZP's next General Synod will consider whether parishes should host services of blessing for same sex couples married in civil ceremonies according to New Zealand law,

2. How sure are you about your opinion on this topic?

-3 I have no opinion.
-2 I have not put an opinion into words.
-1 I have an opinion but also some doubts.
0 I have an opinion but am open to reasonable argument that opposes it.
+1 I have an opinion and could modify it in the light of new information.
+2 I have an opinion and have heard all the arguments that matter.
+3 My mind cannot be changed.

3. At the upcoming General Synod, what priority should the synod give to a proposal to bless same sex marriages contracted in city halls?

-3 Lower priority than all other matters
-2 Lower priority than most other matters
-1 Lower priority than half of Other matters
0 Have not decided
+1 Higher priority than half of Other matters
+2 Higher priority than most other matters
+3 Higher priority than all other matters

4. How much time to you think ACANZP should take to make a sound and informed decision about blessing same sex marriages?

0 The decision should be made as soon as possible.
1 The decision should be made this year.
2 The decision should be made by 2021.
3 The desision should be made by 2026.
4 The decision should be made without a time limit in mind.

5. If ACANZP's General Synod made a decision about that church's ritual for same sex couples with which you disagreed, which would best describe your response to that decision?

0 I would have no reaction.
1 I would have a mildly negative reaction.
2 I would have less respect for the General Synod.
3 I would be less involved with ACANZP.
4 I would reconsider my association with ACANZP.
5 I would seek another church.

Bowman Walton

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, Bowman, I think New Zealanders don't take too kindly to other people arranging parameters for political polling in their territory. As you've probably gathered, from your own local situation; people are quite defensive about their own cultural and political values, and do not take kindly to foreign questionnaires.

Mr Trump , for instance, seems to be proving attractive to those in the U.S. who prefer isolation from the rest of the world to any sort of international co-operation on matters of common thriving.

Perhaps this is at the heart of each Anglican Church community wanting to minister to the real cultural needs of their own people - rather than being forced to compete with others' tradtion & culture.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bowman
I think the last comprehensive survey our church did involved pegs and theodolites :)

Anonymous said...

"Mr Trump , for instance, seems to be proving attractive to those in the U.S. who prefer isolation from the rest of the world..."

Anonymouse, los Trumpistas locos appear to want isolation from one particular country whose citizens refuse to speak English, hence the talk of a wall on our southern border, and the Pope's sly decision to say mass in sight of the site of it.

"...to any sort of international co-operation on matters of common thriving."

Speaking of which, within the hour Jon White has graciously posted a link to Bosco's and Peter's blogs in the Episcopal Cafe.

Bowman Walton