Okay, I'm back now. It was a wonderful holiday. I think the best part was spending a fair amount of time with my sister (our lives have been hectic lately and we haven't even talked much on the phone) and getting to know one of my favourite cousins again.
Sunday was an emotional time. We attended St. Thomas the Apostle in Sherwood Park. My Dad's older brother and sister attend there on a regular basis. It was pointed out how special it was to have three siblings in their 80's in attendance. It hit my sister, my cousin, and me that this might be the last time or close to the last time. My Dad's sister, who is 89, is moving out to the coast in the fall. My sister and I have determined that we will work hard to ensure that Mom and Dad can go out to the coast for her 90th but that is a year away and who knows what will happen.
It was so relaxing sitting alongside the lake at my cousin's in Vernon. Of course, the first day I got a sunburn and I had to be careful after that. And my face reacted to the sun and broke out in hives of some sort - although these are not too noticable. We accidently wandered into a wonderful little book store and I had an encounter with a psychic that was quite interesting. I found the background for my "business" cards (not in the book store but else where). My cousin in very much into Reiki and I learned a fair amount about that - at least enough to make me curious. Actually it was so wonderful seeing her looking so good and so full of energy as ten years ago (the last time I saw her) she was struggling health-wise.
And so I come home to catch up on e-mails and the news of synod. Good thing I read up on it last night as just about the first question/comment I got when I went to coffee row here was on what had happened.
So my impressions. I am pleased that Fred Hiltz is our new primate. I was in the Diocese of Edmonton Sunday and there are mixed feelings there. It was difficult for them to see +Victoria not become our next primate but there was also relief that they would not have to replace her.
The passing of the one resolution and the defeat of the other brought mixed reactions. I am pleased that those who wish me to be classified as a heretic and cast out of the church because of my support of same-sex relationships no longer have grounds for that. I am dissapointed that local option did not pass. I met +James Cowan when he was bishop in residence at Emmanuel my second year there. I quite liked him. I can respect where he is at in voting for the one resolution and against the other. When our church passes a resolution stating we can bless same-sex relationships/marriages I would really like it to be solid theological grounds clearly stated so that there is no ambiguity. (I would still have voted for the passing of both resolutions as I have no doubt as to the theological grounds for blessings as pointed out in my paper, which was presented to diocesan council). We do need to have those grounds stated clearly and consisely to lessen confusion for some of our people. Right now, I can tell my people the reasons I believe that there are no barriers to blessings and, indeed, there are solid grounds, but it would certainly help to also have a clear and concise statement from the larger church as to why it believes this to be the case, which I do not have right now. I also think the theological grounds should not be stated in defense of our position as opposed to those who do not support same-sex blessings but as a solid support of what we firmly believe God is calling us to do. We do not need to counter point for point as that does not fully encompass the grounds for blessings.
On the other hand, I think of the couples I am getting to know through Integrity and it breaks my heart to think that I cannot in good conscience (because of my vow of obedience to my bishop) bless their relationship/marriage should that be what they wish. I see such good and strength in each relationship - often way more so than in some opposite-sex relationships I know. Coming from a family with half of its members having struggled in at least one of their relationships/marriage, I am keenly aware of when God truly blesses a relationship.
I think that we have made "marriage" our idol rather than the health of the relationship in marriage. As a priest, I am mostly concerned with the health of any relationship and how it affects each partner - more than whether it is a marriage - blessed by the church or not. It is the fruits not the official status that is most telling. I am pleased with the change in the order of the purposes of marriage in the BAS as well as the direction the interpretation and understanding of Genesis 1 and 2 is taking.
So yes, the ultimate outcome of GS is ambiguous but there is a great deal of hope for the future.
Love and Prayers,