In my view, being up front at the start, I do not think anyone should leave our church because of Motion 30 approved at our recent General Synod. But some are leaving. I can imagine some are leaving because Motion 30 does not go far enough towards blessing of same sex partnerships, but I have no specific evidence of that. Some are leaving because Motion 30 goes too far towards blessings and appears to presage a future line our church will cross.
A few weeks ago Charlie Hughes, then Vicar of Henderson, left. This past week Michael Hewat, until yesterday Vicar of West Hamilton, and a sizeable number of his congregation have left. By Sunday they will be worshipping in a new location. You can read the NZ Herald report here.
Rather than discuss why someone shouldn't leave at this time, here are my present reasons for staying:
- we have not crossed the line where we have changed either our constitution or canons in an unacceptable manner,
- the grace of inclusion of viewpoints at GS in Motion 30 requires a reciprocal obligation for holders of various viewpoints to remain engaged with the process of the next few years,
- the evangelical witness within the Anglican church historically has been a witness against the tide of majority viewpoint and the current tide is flowing no more strongly than in past times,
- if our church does not wish to retain an evangelical witness within its midst, the church should be honest about that and drive that witness out through expulsion rather than have that job done for it by resignations and departures,
- speaking personally, I have gay friends in the church whom I would like to remain in conversation with as a fellow Anglican rather than as a former Anglican.