Sunday, March 04, 2007

Good News

About a year and a half ago our diocese put out a study guide on same sex relationships. At the time I was a member of Diocesan Council and received a copy of said guide. At first glance I could not read it through. I persevered and was able to read from beginning to end. I won't go into details as I realize that those who put it together did a lot of hard work and did so believing that what they did was what was right. However, there was really only one side presented (negative to the Anglican Church of Canada's resolution to affirm the integrity and sanctity of committed adult same sex relationships). The process itself was flawed as it did not include any homosexuals on the committee that prepared the document nor, to my knowledge, were any GLBT listened to when the guide was prepared.

Eventually Integrity got hold of the document. When I observed the pain in our membership I nearly cried. We met to discuss what to do. We finally decided to approach Diocesan Council and ask that the guide be rescinded basing our request on the process. The request went to Diocesan Council, a motion made and the vote was split. (A positive sign for a conservative diocese). The bishop tabled the motion and requested that Integrity prepare a response to the guide.

This past Saturday, Integrity made their response. There was a cover letter written by one of our members and edited, with permission, by another. There was a copy of the Living God's Blessing letter circulating for General Synod in June. There was a paper on Marriage, Sexuality, and Blessing (my contribution) citing Canadian Anglican sources, a wonderful paper on scripture, with some theology and social sciences thrown in and a letter from a priest in the diocese explaining why he cannot and will no longer refuse to perform same sex blessings. Each of us spoke to our part in the anthology. There was also testimony from another of our members about what a difference Integrity makes in his spiritual life and a voice of support (as well as supportive presence) from a couple that supports Integrity.

We were heard with respect and thanked for our work. The questions and comments were in the main quite supportive. A three point motion was put forward, once again requesting to have the original document rescinded. We had to leave before the discussion on the motion but we left knowing that we had been heard and we left the rest in God's hands. On the whole, we were quite positive.

Today I received an e-mail which informed us that the motion to rescind had been passed with a strong majority. I give thanks and praise to God for this marvelous outcome. I do want to say that I recognize the hard work and the honest intent of those who put the original document together and I regret any pain they may feel in its rejection. But, in all conscience, I could not just stand by and let that document stand. I give thanks for and to the many members that supported our request and praise God that we will once again have a chance have a chance to dialogue and listen.

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