Sunday, March 4, 2018

Our Synod debate and vote [UPDATED]

On Saturday 3 March 2018 the Synod of the Diocese of Christchurch met. Our major item of business was responding to the Final Report of the Motion 29 Working Group on the Blessing of Same Sex Relationships. [An UPDATE is below.]

Here Bishop Victoria tells the story of what happened:

"The Final Report on Motion 29:

Conversation and debate about the Working Group's Final Report on Motion 29 at the one day Synod at St Christopher's on 3 March was wide-ranging and mostly respectful; challenging and emotional. In the end our Synod voted to adopt the recommendations of the Motion 29 Final Report.

Both the house of clergy and the house of laity approved the recommendations with a 60/40% split. This simply indicates the opinion of our Synod as a way of informing those going to General Synod to debate the recommendations there.

Personally, I would like to express my gratitude to the people on the Working Group, the authors of the report. General Synod asked them to find a way people who hold different beliefs might move forward in unity, and they produced the Report and recommendations considered at our Synod.

I also thank our Clergy and Lay Synod members. Their faithfulness is appreciated.

But most importantly, I want to thank those members of our Diocese that bravely got up and spoke about issues that are deeply personal and usually private—I want to assure them that their voices have been heard.

General Synod meets in New Plymouth in early May 2018.

In Christ

Stuff has a news item here.

My reflection on Saturday's vote is that the 60:40 split in favour of moving forward on SSB has pretty much been the split on This Topic in the Christchurch Diocese for a long time. Several years ago when we had a motion favouring the now much forgotten Anglican Covenant (that is a motion which was a proxy for favouring "not proceeding with SSB") the motion was lost something like 45:55. In other words, yesterday was not a signal of a changed theological/ecclesiological make up to our Diocese in respect of This Topic.

I myself would take care not to interpret this vote as a signal of other characteristics of our theological/ecclesiological make up. For instance, if the vote yesterday have been that we do not support the current legislation on euthanasia being considered in our parliament, I surmise it would have been 90:10 against it.* If the motion had been about continuing to profess the Nicene and Apostolic Creeds I think the vote would have been 99:1% in favour. (I make no prediction about our keenness to retain the affirmation of faith in the p. 476 eucharist!). And if the motion had been about retaining the status quo on our current permissions and discretions re the remarriage of divorcees, I suggest the motion would have passed 90:10.

*Our most recent vote against euthanasia, last year, was 100% against legislative change.

UPDATE: A stirring editorial published today, Tuesday 6th March is here. I agree: the wisdom of Solomon is needed. This matter is not only about whether secularism is influencing the church, it is also about whether anyone is willing to hear what the church has to say ...

I am not going to publish any comments here. A recent comment thread here on ADU canvassed these matters widely and in depth. I envisage nearer to the time of General Synod in May, 2018 I will post about this topic again and comments will be welcome.

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