Synod members react to vote result

Steve Schuh
St. John’s, Shaughnessy
President, Integrity Vancouver
It saddens me to see all my clergy walk out. It says to me they have a great deal of contempt for gay and lesbian people. It says they can’t be in a church which accepts me. At the same time, I am joyful that the church is saying ‘welcome’.

Rev. Trevor Walters
St. Matthew’s, Abbotsford
Member of Essentials clergy group
This diocese is a rebel diocese. Nine churches left with us and members of at least six other parishes ? In the next year, you will see other parishes voting not to remain in the diocese.

Maureen Ashfield
St. Margaret’s, Cedar Cottage
I’m glad, and in some ways, shocked. It’s just really sad that, over one issue, people are willing to leave. What it means is that now, we’re facing ongoing discussion about legal issues, about property. We haven’t actually resolved it. We’re into another era of ongoing battle. It was our hope that we could just get on with things.

Judy Bueschkens
St. George’s, Maple Ridge
Member of diocesan Anglican Church Women board
I’m upset. I don’t think this is going to be a good thing for the Anglican church. The will of man has been chosen over the will of God. It’s a sad day. The view of a minority has taken precedence and I think a whole lot fewer people will be in church tomorrow. I won’t.

Rev. John Firmston
St. David’s, Vancouver
I feel a sense of shock. This is a major loss. It will take some time before we can fully grasp the consequences. Just because the representatives from eight or nine parishes left, doesn’t mean the vestries will follow them; that requires a majority vote. I am still reeling; I haven’t begun to work through the consequences of the vote.

Rev. Trevor Fisher
St. Francis-in-the-Wood, West Vancouver
It’s a shock, though expected. If you were going to write the worst possible outcome, this was it. I knew it was going to happen, but hoped against hope that it wouldn’t. I have voted consistently against this issue since 1998. I will not be seeking the licence (to perform the rite of same-sex blessings.) Our congregation is very Anglican in the sense that there is room for all points of view. I believe nobody from our parish will leave (over the issue), but we will find out.

Lynn Burch
St. Francis-in-the-Wood, West Vancouver
My reaction is not one of shock, more that I don’t know if anyone knows what the next step will be. We voted for something without knowing what the consequences will be. It’s hard to be pleased with something which will ultimately be so divisive. I also believe that you could have voted either way on the motion and still be for or against same-sex blessings. (The bishop’s proposal) really doesn’t clarify anything.

Bishop Michael Ingham
Diocesan bishop, New Westminster
No one is being excluded from our fellowship today. We have not taken sides with one group in our church against another. We have chosen to live together in mutual respect. We acknowledge and repent of the pain we have caused in the course of this long process. We are deeply aware that there is much more work to do to build up mutual understanding and reconciliation. In this we ask for the support of the wider church, not condemnation, and patience from those who live in very different social contexts from our own.

Dean Peter Elliott
Rector, Christ Church Cathedral
Dean of diocese of New Westminster

We’ve seen a continual, increasingly supportive, move forward in some way to acknowledge and bless relationships of gay and lesbian disciples of Jesus. Our bishop’s compromise received 63 per cent support and it’s clear to me that that is the will of the majority of synod. I am very sad that some members of the church can’t accept the bishop’s compromise, but I’m very happy that we can begin to offer this ministry to gays and lesbians, to bless life-long partnerships.

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