NZ Synod votes for full inclusion of lesbian and gay people in ministry

The Auckland Diocesan Synod held on 4 September, 2011, debated and passed overwhelmingly a motion in support of the full inclusion of lesbian and gay people in ministry.

Jeremy Younger, Coordinator of Changing Attitude New Zealand, has forwarded a report of the meeting which is published on the Changing Attitudes web site – address below. Mr Younger writes:

It was a significant day in the ongoing struggle to end discrimination against LGB&T members of the Anglican Church in New Zealand for two reasons.

For the first time an Auckland Diocesan bishop said publicly in his Charge that he would discern and ordain LGB&T candidates for ordained ministry, including if they were in committed same-sex relationships. He qualified 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, Canon Laws that would permit this. The relevant paragraphs of his address are printed below.

Secondly, the Diocesan Synod debated and passed overwhelmingly a motion in support of the full inclusion of lesbian and gay people in ministry and committed to the listening process, initiated, as the bishop says, after Lambeth 1998. Auckland’s goals and the commitment made in the motion are exactly the same as Changing Attitude England’s and are the focus of our Conference on 24 September in Birmingham.

The Synod motion [as amended with clauses 3, 4, and 5] 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.

Never before has an Auckland Synod so clearly, overwhelmingly, and emphatically endorsed the being, relationships and ministry of its gay and lesbian members.

Two comments from gay members of the House afterwards were “for the first time, after all these years, I feel affirmed by my Church” and “this has drawn a line in the sand that has not been drawn before, and we will never go back”.

The text of the Bishop’s Charge follows the report above at:

Full Article HERE!

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