[ACNS source: Diocese of Toronto] The Diocese of Toronto has embarked on a year-long process to discuss the issue of same-gender blessings. The diocese’s Synod, its governing body, approved the process at a meeting in Toronto on November 21.
The process will include information sessions for clergy and laity on March 6, April 3, April 24 and May 1, 2004, followed by a special session of Synod in the fall of 2004. Parishioners will also be encouraged to discuss the issue in their churches. Archbishop Terence Finlay said the process will help Anglicans in the diocese discuss and reflect on the issue before making any decisions.
“When Anglicans make decisions on important matters, we take time to ensure that all those who are involved and whose lives are affected by a decision, have an opportunity to listen and to be heard,” he told about 850 Synod members. “We take time to learn and share experiences, so that we allow the Holy Spirit to work with us and through us in the building of God’s kingdom.
“Obviously, this topic brings not only many different viewpoints, but for many, it also creates a strong emotional response. The challenge is not to shy away from our emotions and perspectives and hope it all goes away, but instead, to ask what we believe God wants for his people today, and to do it in such a way that respects and honours the viewpoints of others.
“We, as the people of God, strive to continue in the apostles’ teaching, and are being asked to discern God’s will for God’s church. We can only do this faithfully by being open to and respectful of one another and to listen as intently as possible for the voice of God.”
Synod deferred until next fall’s Synod a motion from Holy Trinity, Toronto, which sought to have some parishes designated as places where same-gender blessings could take place. Synod also deferred a motion from St Ninian’s, Scarborough, to petition the federal government of Canada to overrule the court’s decision on same-gender marriages.
Throughout the process for the discussion of same-gender blessings, the diocese will provide information and updates on a regular basis to all Anglicans through its Web site, www.toronto.anglican.ca and its monthly newspaper, The Anglican.
For more information please contact:
Diocese of Toronto
Tel: +1 416 363-6021, ext. 247