In New Zealand, Anglican diocese sees no bar to gay ordination

In New Zealand, Anglican diocese sees no bar to gay ordination

Anglicans in New Zealand’s biggest city have declared that people in same sex-relationships should not be excluded from any church office, including ordination.

The motion, which passed by a two-thirds majority on September 3 at the Diocese of Auckland’s synod, says that a current moratorium by bishops on gay ordination should cease. Next year, the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia is due to hear further recommendations on the subject at its General Synod in Fiji.

Auckland Bishop Ross Bay has refused to take a public stand on gay ordination, but told the synod that he now has “greater clarity” on the issue. He said he desires to facilitate respectful debate, noting the church’s failure to hear the experiences of gay and lesbians.

“We have not actively studied the Scriptures in the same way together. I have the responsibility of offering leadership … conscious of the care required,” he told the Auckland diocesan synod. “Should the appropriate basis for change be found within the church, I would be willing to proceed with such ordinations within this diocese.”

Earlier, some parishes reported that they believed church members would leave if the motion passed. The synod also rejected the proposed Anglican Covenant, which seeks to keep the Anglican Communion together after a decision by the US-based Episcopal Church to ordain clergy in committed gay relationships.

By David Crampton, Ecumenical News International

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