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Anglican Diocese on Support for GLBT Members

St Matthew-in-the-City Congratulates Anglican Diocese on Support for GLBT Members

Saturday, September 3 was a huge day in the ongoing struggle to end discrimination against GLBT members of the Anglican Church.

The Revd Glynn Cardy rejoiced that, “Never before has an Auckland Synod so clearly, overwhelmingly, and emphatically endorsed the being, relationships and ministry of its gay and lesbian memberships!”

For the first time an Auckland Diocesan bishop publicly said he would be willing to discern and ordain GLBT candidates for ordained ministry, including if they were in committed same-sex relationships. The Revd Cardy observed, “We thank him for his courage in doing so.” He went on to say. “It is not diminished by his qualification of that support by saying, ‘should the appropriate basis for change be found within the church’ - namely some level of agreement in the House of Bishops and an understanding of, or change to, our Canon Laws that would permit this.” Bishop Bay’s full address is printed here http://www.auckanglican.org.nz/dox/Diocesan%20Synod/2011/Synod%20Charge%202011.pdf.

For what is believed to be the first time, the Diocesan Synod had a long, thorough and civil debate on the issue thanks to Bishop Ross Bay who allowed the synod space to test the mind of the diocese. As one gay member of synod reported, “What made it particularly powerful and affirming was that most of the voices calling for justice for the GLBT community were ‘non-gay.’ ”

The motion [as amended with clauses 3, 4, and 5] presented by Glynn Cardy and seconded by Margaret Bedggood—both of St Matthew-in-the-City—read:

"That this Synod

[1] Holds that sexual orientation should not be an impediment to the discernment, ordination, and licensing of gay and lesbian members to any lay and ordained offices of the Church; and further

[2] persons in committed same-sex relationships likewise should not be excluded from being considered for discernment, ordination, and licensing to any lay and ordained offices of the Church.

[3] commits to an intentional process of listening to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, organized by the Archdeacons in consultation with the gay and lesbian community.

[4] commits to an ongoing discussion with the ministry units, asks the Archdeacons to facilitate this, and invites responses to those discussions to be submitted to Diocesan Council by 31st March 2012; and

[5] commits to support the process and work of the Commission to be appointed by General Synod Standing Committee, as resolved at its meeting in July 2011."

This motion was put in parts, and members voted via a paper ballot. The most contentious clause, [2], passed by nearly a two-thirds majority. The rest passed overwhelmingly.

One gay member of the House responded, "for the first time, after all these years, I feel affirmed by my Church." Another noted "this has drawn a line in the sand that has not been drawn before, and we will never go back".

One Anglican same-sex couple upon hearing the vote thanked Glynn and the many others involved in presenting this motion, “We have been told countless times that we are the Body of Christ. For too long now we have felt like an amputated limb.”

After the vote, Mr Cardy wished to express St Matthew-in-the-City’s “appreciation to LGBT Anglicans who have stuck with us, or prayed for us ‘outside the gates.’ ”

ENDS

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