Diocese of Ottawa to write liturgy for same-sex blessings

The March 2009 issue of Crosstalk (PDF), the newspaper of the Diocese of Ottawa, reports on the decision of the diocese to move forward with “an agenda for discerning whether the blessing of same-sex couples will become a practice on a limited basis in the Diocese of Ottawa.”


In his Crosstalk column in this issue, the bishop said the parish of St. John the Evangelist has agreed to conduct same-sex blessings if the Doctrine and Worship Committee recommends that the diocese move forward “in the spirit of experiential discernment.” If he gives the green light for the parish to proceed, wrote the bishop, “this is as far as I am prepared to move on the matter until General Synod 2010.”

Read all of the cover story and Bishop John Chapman’s column (p. 2) here.

The National Post report characterizes these decisions as “defying” a “moratorium” on same-sex blessings. The diocese says it is not:

In a press release issued on Monday night, the diocese said: “Just as the Church was not able to come to a clear mind regarding the benefits of the ordination of women to the priesthood until it experienced the priestly ministry of women, Bishop [John H.] Chapman has taken the process of discernment with regards to same sex blessings to a place beyond discussion.”

In 2007 the Anglican Church of Canada said it interpreted the moratorium to mean that New Westminster could continue with the rite but no Canadian bishop could authorize new parishes to take part in same-sex blessings.

Yesterday, a spokesman for the Anglican Church of Canada said what the Diocese of Ottawa is doing is not a breaking the ban but rather a continuation of their “discernment process.”

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  1. There is no moratorium that is anything more that a suggestion nor is there an international “church” —

  2. garydasein

    Not many nonchurch people seem interested in this story of Ottawa saying they will try blessing same-sex couples. In a country where civil marriage is already available and in which the United Church of Canada already does full church weddings for same-sex couples, any possible interest would seem to be the implications for the larger Anglican Communion. But the Anglican Communion is not a subject that will sell a lot of newspapers any more than a discussion of the Elizabethan Settlement would. Only the National Post covered this announcement by Ottawa and they are under the impression an international church decided on a ban, which is very amusing, except that to a certain extent it says how outsiders view the Anglican Church of Canada. The rightwing spin about Anglican ecclesiology seems to be the default position of this story.

    The Anglican product is too complicated for many consumers to grasp. What looks like an international church but isn’t? What looks like a ban but isn’t? What looks like a blessing of a marriage but is only a blessing of a couple? And it is only a trial blessing, an attempt to figure out if same-sex couples deserve a second-class status.

    The time has come for some clarity from the Anglican Church of Canada on equal access to all the sacraments and orders of the church.

    Gary Paul Gilbert

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