Saturday, June 30, 2018

Disaffiliation in the Diocese of Christchurch

On Wednesday a meeting was held in our Diocese, involving senior Diocesan staff, Archdeacons, and vicars and wardens of four parishes in which votes have been hold and overwhelming majorities for disaffiliation from ACANZP have been secured. These votes have been prompted by GSTHW 2018's decision re permission for blessing of same-sex partnerships to take place.

Following that meeting we have been able as a Diocese to communicate the fact of these votes and the outline of what will now happen. That communication can be found here.

I was a part of that meeting as one of the Archdeacons. Two of the four parishes are in my archdeaconry.

I cite the opening and penultimate paragraphs from the communication for your convenience:

"On Wednesday 27 June Archbishop Philip, with senior leadership of the Diocese, met with representatives and clergy from four parishes within the Christchurch Diocese. The meeting was to discuss how members of the four congregations could disaffiliate from the Diocese in a respectful manner while maintaining good communication and leaving doors open.

Archbishop Philip opened the meeting recognizing the time, energy and cooperation from both sides in seeking to find a way forward together up until this point, and hoping that this spirit will continue now that members of four congregations had voted to disaffiliate. “This is a broken and painful place to be. But we need to find a way to walk through this uncharted land that is gracious, hospitable and realistic.” The meeting finished with an agreement to seek to work together on the way forward and in a time of prayer."

"The four groups were led by the Reverends Jay Behan from St Stephen’s Shirley; James De Costobadie from St John’s Latimer Square; Dave Clancey and Chris Spark from St Saviour’s and St Nicholas’, South Christchurch; and Steve McNabb from St John’s Woolston.

It was discussed that a resignation or exit process allowing three months for logistics to be sensitively managed was appropriate and that these three months will be used cooperatively to ensure the disaffiliation happens in good faith. 

It was agreed by all present the way forward needed to be respectful, orderly and should allow people time to make appropriate decisions. In some cases it was acknowledged that although the majority of the people attending these churches intended to leave, some might remain. And the Diocese is committed to care for those remaining as well as enabling as smooth as possible exit for those choosing to leave.
It was agreed that clergy and lay representatives who are disaffiliating would voluntarily not take part in the upcoming Electoral College. Furthermore, it was agreed in principle that there was a desire from both parties to part on good terms and to communicate with and about each other respectfully."

This announcement means we now enter a period of careful and respectful conversations about these disaffiliations, as planning and arrangements take place over the next several months.

Consequently, and in the spirit of a request within the meeting for care in use of social media, I am going to do the following:

(1) Accept NO comments in response to this post. (By all means send me a comment to tell me what you think. But I am not going to post it.)

(2) Publish no posts for the time being which relate in some close degree to our local situation.

(3) Reserve the right to post on the international Anglican situation, providing it relates to our local situation only in some distant degree (or not at all).

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