Saturday, May 10, 2014

General Synod & Ma Whea Report

The Bi-annual General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa/New Zealand is commencing this weekend. Although I know 2 people in attendance my local Bishop and my local Vicar (as Vicar-general of the diocese), I will probably learn less than I could about the synods every 6 months in England.
Kelvin Wright is blogging but his blogs are more about his feelings than any specific details. My own Vicar has cut down on use of the internet so not much will be revealed there.
I can learn more from Liturgy although Rev Bosco Peters is not attending.

The Ma Whea report disappointed me as it just gave 10 options for synod to choose without any recommendations.
The options are:
Option A: Affirming Traditional Understanding
Option B: Preserving Present Circumstances
Option C: Bishops to Determine What Equals Right Relationships
Option D: Delegate to Diocesan Synods/Te Runanganui Power to Determine Right Relationships
Option E: Adopt a New Understanding
Option F: The Anglican Church Having Two Views
Option G: Dual Episcopacy
Option H: Planned Dismembering
Option I: Anglican Church to Add a New Rite of Blessing by Priests of Those in a Same Sex Relationship.
Option J: Adopt a Two Year Period of Focussed Discussion within Church Communities with a View to Making a Decision in (say) 2016

 If I was a betting man (which I am not) I would place bets on Option J. As some have said the matter has been discussed for nearly 60 years. No wonder that the main response I hear in my church is laughter. These are people who are not directly affected. I however have reached the end of my tether.

I moved from homophobic Sydney to a diocese where an openly gay partnered man had been ordained.  He is Priest-in-charge of one of our small parishes. he was ordained by the previous bishop but the present bishop would not agree, not for personal beliefs,  but because a moratorium has been declared within the province.  However I have met personally with another partnered LGBT priest and hear of yet a third. I cannot give details but their relationship is known to the bishop and they continue to be licensed.

The wink-wink, nudge-nudge situation is intolerable. I have openly stated that the only official area where I face discrimination in New Zealand is in my church.
I am suppose to be a full member yet if I was to be married it would not be recognised and if I was to ask for ordination it would not be possible (openly).
I am unlikely to want either but I would not recommend any young LGBT person become a member of the church today.
If Option J ( or A or B) is the winner, I plan to withdraw my membership of the church. I believe in the Grace bestowed in the Eucharist so will continue to attend in various churches but I do not want to be officially linked with an officially homophobic institution whatever might be occurring unofficially in  Don't Ask Don't Tell.
I have signed the petition at

There are many moving comments on the petition but one I want to post by Warwick

I was Christened at All Saints Ponsonby and Confirmed at St Lukes Mt Albert.
After 39 years of marriage, the inner struggle was tearing me apart: with a devoted wife, 3 adult children, 9 grandchildren, how could I break out of the societal expectations and test my innermost feelings?
Antidepressants for 20 years went someway to calming me and yet I knew there was a conflict I could no longer deny.
I am now in a same sex relationship of 5 years; we have shown our commitment to each other and our family by Civil Union, but we are denyed open acceptance by our Church governing body.
Surely, God knows who we are, how we feel, accepts us for our difference from a societal dictated majority norm.
We are best friends to each other, we share emotions, family, love of each other and of others.
We plead with the Anglican Church to fight the good fight for multicultural and sexual differences to be recognised as part of God's plan.
Recently I asked the hard question of a clergy in my local area, what should or could be my home church:
"are you an accepting church?"
Response: If you mean accepting of the word of God, then we follow the word of God absolutely: if you mean are we accepting of homosexuals, then again, we follow the word of God."
The result is that my partner and I will not return to St Stephens at Whangaparaoa!
This type of openly practiced judgement and discrimination is out of step with the knowing world; it is a continuation of the old testament dark age fable thinking.
Please Anglican Synod open your eyes, your eras and your hearts and spread the word of a modern loving and forgiving God whom we all want to believ in.
I am sorry that I do no know how to sign this below not being one who has that degree of computer literacy. This is a genuine and sincere, heartfelt response which I would still want to stand up and have recorded.

I have looked up  St Stephen's at Whangaparaoa on the web and there is plenty of evidence that it is an Evangelical church of the Sydney type although in the much more inclusive diocese of Auckland.
 The assistant bishop of Auckland, Jim White is particularly open (for a bishop) on his blog.

I can live with the existence of these type of parishes such as St Matthew's here in Dunedin as long as I never go into them but  I can no longer live with them imposing their narrow hateful beliefs on the rest of the Anglican church.  The attempts of many to accommodate them means LGBT people have no place in the church as it exists.
My comment on the petition
I am sad that the only official area in Aotearoa/New Zeland today where I face discrimination is in the church. In my youth, friends committed suicide as the church taught them they were sinful for what they could not control. Today young people just leave the church. I want to see the church openly welcoming LGBT people both into ministry and blessing their relationships

The comments are well worth reading, some are sad. At last view there were 713 signatures and (from reading the comments) most are in New Zealand.

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