Niagara asks for same-sex rite; bishop withholds consent

The diocese of Niagara approved the blessing of same-sex unions at its synod in Hamilton, Ont., this past weekend, making it the second Canadian Anglican diocese to do so. The first was New Westminster.

The motion asked the bishop to “grant clergy permission to exercise their discretion in blessing the relationship of gay or lesbian couples who have been married civilly, once they with their congregations have petitioned the bishop for permission to be a ‘blessing community.'”

The motion was carried with a 66% majority of the assembly. Of the 319 clergy and lay delegates, 213 voted in favour of the motion and 106 opposed the motion.

However, Bishop Ralph Spence withheld his consent, explaining that, “As the bishop I hear the will of the house—I would have personally voted with house in majority.  (But) I am the bishop for all people, and try to keep unity with the rest of the church.  I am not able to give my assent to this legislation and hence will not.”

He noted that this is the first time the synod voted on this issue, and called upon the delegates to go back to their parishes and challenge any parish that has not had a conversation about the issue to do so.

For further information please contact:
Archdeacon Marion Vincett
Chief Executive Officer
Diocese of Niagara
Tel:905-527-1316 ext.340

Interested in keeping up-to-date on news, opinion, events and resources from the Anglican Church of Canada? Sign up for our email alerts .