Kootenay Anglican bishops, priests grapple with same-sex marriage vote

Kootenay Anglican bishops, priests grapple with same-sex marriage vote

After same-sex marriage amendment rejection, priests, bishops voice discontent

The Anglican Church of Canada voted down a same-gender marriage amendment last Friday, July 12, preventing the policy from being added to national laws.

The proposal was rejected by a narrow margin at the church’s General Synod, a meeting held every three years.

Now priests and bishops from around the country and the region are voicing their discontent with the decision.

“There was, as you might imagine, there was a lot of hurt when it failed,” said Rev. Yme Woensdregt, priest of Christ Church Anglican in Cranbrook.

The vote required a two-thirds majority in all three “houses” to pass and it didn’t get it. The House of Laity voted 81 per cent to approve it, the House of Priests voted 72 per cent to approve it, but the House of Bishops voted 62 per cent. So even though the majority of Bishops were in favour of it passing, it still failed as it didn’t meet the two-thirds majority and the entire proposal failed.

READ MORE: Anglican Church rejects same-sex marriage amendment; will not add policy to national laws

“It really was [disappointing] and there was a lot of pain and a lot of hurt around that,” Woensdregt said. “So after all of that happened, the bishops met for hours after the vote and they issued an apology for what happened.”

The statement from the Bishops begins as follows:

“We, members of the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, see the pain and anguish inflicted on LGBTQ2S+ people, on members of the General Synod, across the Church, and in the world, as a result of the work and the vote on the matter of Canon 21, concerning marriage. We see your tears, we hear your cries, and we weep with you. We have caused deep hurt. We are profoundly sorry.”

Furthermore, a document entitled “A word to the Church: Considering the proposed amendment of Marriage Canon XXI” was also issued by the Council of General Synod in March, 2019. CoGS is the body which continues the work of General Synod between its triennial meetings.

This document, approved by General Synod with a vote of 85 per cent, contains five affirmations. The first acknowledges that Indigenous communities have the right to do things differently from settler dioceses.

The second acknowledges that there are diverse understandings of the existing Marriage Canon and the third acknowledges the “ongoing reality that there is a diversity of understandings and teachings about marriage in the Anglican Church.”

The fourth commits to presuming good faith among those who hold diverse understandings and teachings and the final affirmation commits to “standing together.”

Rev. Dr. Lynne McNaughton, elected as Bishop to the Anglican Diocese of Kootenay, to which Cranbrook belongs, earlier this year, will also be issuing a joint statement with other bishops who have affirmed all of this. Additionally, she will be going ahead to authorize same-gender marriage within the Diocese of the Kootenay.

READ MORE: New Bishop elected to Anglican Diocese of Kootenay

“So essentially what’s happened is something that we Anglicans call local option,” Woensdregt explained. “Each diocese, each bishop, will be able to decide for his or her diocese whether to move ahead or not.”

Woensdregt added that he is glad the bishop of the diocese here is “solidly on board with same gender marriage.” McNaughton has been actively involved in the work of moving the church’s conversation forward on same-sex marriage throughout her career.

“LGBTQ people did not choose their sexuality just as I didn’t choose to be heterosexual and the gifts of the church are available to all people.”

While some dioceses, like Kootenay, have bishops that will decide to bless same-gender marriages, it is far from the ideal situation the majority of Anglicans across Canada have been hoping and praying for.

“We happen to have a bishop who is solidly on board with same-gender marriage and she’s going to go ahead with it, but there are other places where the bishop is solidly opposed and LGBTQ people won’t be able to get married in those dioceses. So it’s not a perfect solution because there are places where it can’t happen, but it’s probably the best we can hope for at this time.”

When asked if he believes this amendment could go through at the next General Synod in another three years’ time, Woensdregt is not hopeful.

“I think the church is just tired, we’ve been dealing with this now for the last nine years,” Woensdregt said. “And the church is tired of talking about this and I don’t think there’s going to be any movement on the part of those bishops who are opposed.”

However, there may be hope for the system that allows a vote like this to happen itself to change. Woensdregt says there is some talk of revisiting how the Synod approaches these sorts of votes.

He explained that one of the things that played into this particular vote is that every bishop was able to vote as a member of the House of Bishops. The problem is, there are some dioceses, such as the Arctic notably, where they have one Diocesan Bishop and then three suffragan, or “junior” Bishops.

Woesndregt said that the Bishop of the Arctic is “utterly opposed” to same-gender marriage amendment, and that there are some in the church who believe he may have put those three suffragan bishops in place to “stack the deck.”

“So there is talk of re-jigging it so that only one bishop from each diocese gets a vote. Because you’ve got the same kind of thing now where the arctic with a dozen Anglicans has the same as or more votes than Toronto with thousands of Anglicans. And so people are looking at that and saying there’s something wrong with this system.”



paul.rodgers@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Montrose man is suspected of using his drone to look into neighbourhood homes, and possibly film those inside. Photo: David Henrichs on Unsplash
Trail RCMP report drone mischief and a hit and run

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Trail detachment

The Rossland Scouts Community Hall is directing a Trust grant into upgrading the building’s energy efficiency. Photo: Columbia Basin Trust
Columbia Basin Trust helps scouts hall become energy efficient

Columbia Basin Trust grants $18, 250 for Rossland Scouts Hall upgrades

FILE - This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. The U.S. is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021 cleared a Johnson Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two (Johnson Johnson via AP)
Six weeks with no new COVID-19 cases in Trail

The latest localized BC CDC COVID-19 numbers

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read