Saturday, December 13, 2008

Why the Communion should accept the new North American Province

Close on the heels of the announcement of the formation of the new North American Anglican Province is the decisions of the Diocese of California to embed the blessing of same sex relationships into its statutes. Included in the announcement of policy around these decisions is this statement:

"The Prayer Book also provides an option for an alternative Rite. We recommend the supplemental Rite attached to this policy to be used for the blessing of all covenants whether between men and women or same-sex couples as a means of demonstrating our solidarity with our brothers and sisters currently denied the right of civil marriage, and as a means of having one Rite appropriate to all such Blessings." (page 3 of the document).

Here, surely, is the future of TEC following its General Convention in 2009: complete flexibility in respect of ceremonies, blurring distinction between marriage (man and woman) and a same sex partnership.

Viewed against the history of the universal church and its understanding of Scripture on marriage, this is a major change to core belief and practice of the church in respect of the fundamental relationship of human society.

Without deciding whether California is right or wrong on this matter, this is, I suggest, a difference in doctrine sufficient to warrant a clear distinction between those Anglican bishops, priests, and laity who wish to belong to an Anglican polity supporting California's policy, and those who wish to belong to an Anglican polity not supporting California's policy.

The Anglican Communion should get off its collective posterior and offer warm recognition to the new province. Our diversity as Anglicans warrants no less a response.

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