There is no easy pathway forward on holding together churches with differences over same-sex relationships. Ian Paul writing at Psephizo, as a member of the C of E's General Synod, describes his experience this past week of participating in a long "Shared Conversation." The sense of I have is that (1) the CofE is heading along a similar pathway to ACANZP (2) it is hard to get the process right, let alone fair presentation of content (3) holding together is everyone's conviction, the possibility of schism is nevertheless ever present.
[UPDATE: Alongside Ian Paul's reflection, I commend also reading Lucy Gorman's reflection, from a quite different perspective. In a nutshell, what I am trying to do here is to offer a suggestion for how we might be a church that includes both Kiwi Ian Pauls and Kiwi Lucy Gormans].
Picking up from yesterday's post, I cannot see a way forward for our church to remain together which does not involve permission for same sex blessings to take place, which does not involve continued commitment to our current doctrine of marriage and which does not involve an agreed, authorised liturgy for such blessings which is nevertheless not adopted as a formulary of our church.
For comment, picking apart, praising or ignoring, I offer the following proposals:
(1) A canon is agreed by General Synod/te Hinota Whanui which provides for use in our church a liturgy for blessing same-sex relationships where a bishop authorises the use of that liturgy in her or his diocese;
(2) Both that canon and an amended Title D (our canon on ministry standards) make clear that no clergyperson is compelled to bless a same-sex relationship, nor is any officer of the church (minister, churchwarden) compelled to make a church building for which they are responsible available for a service of blessing of a same-sex relationship;
(3) An amended Title D makes clear that a bishop may consider for ordination or for appointment to office a person in (a) a civil marriage, or (b) a same sex relationship which has been blessed using a liturgy provided by our church or its equivalent in another church.
Could we be as brief as that?
Now, if what has been written above is torn asunder in comments, then I may come up quickly with a fifth post in this series, hastily amending what I have written. If comments are kinder (but, I expect, still critical) and the debate is slow burning, then the fifth post in this series may take longer to come ... but it will be before 1 October 2016!