The Diocese of Adelaide has published its papers [pdf] for their upcoming synod, 19-21 October 2018. Before getting to the contentious stuff davidould.net notes that this is by far the best branded synod we’ve seen so far. We love the use of those primary colours and the clear fonts.
Readers may not be so happy with what’s in the papers. As with many other dioceses, not to mention every other metropolitan diocese outside Sydney, there are motions seeking to provide a liturgical validation of same-sex marriage.
20. MARRIAGE EQUALITY
Moved by The Rev’d Stephen Daughtry
Seconded by Ms Meriel Wilson
That this Synod recognise and record that:
a) There are Anglican clergy and laity in this diocese, people in good standing with our Church, who sincerely believe the celebration and blessing of same sex marriages is neither incompatible with the teaching of Holy Scripture or with the will of God.
b) This belief has been arrived at through prayerful reflection and conversation, is informed and supported by much biblical and theological scholarship and takes into account the pastoral and cultural context of our time in history.
c) Anglicans in faithful, committed same-sex relationships have sought and are seeking blessing from the Church to which they belong. They, their families and friends and the above-mentioned clergy and laity, and many in the wider public, are deeply saddened that they are being denied the support and blessing of their Church.
In light of these realities, we ask that the leadership of this diocese pastorally and publicly acknowledge that the Anglican Church is divided on this issue and that prayerful people of good conscience on both sides of the debate are seeking to discern the leading of the Holy Spirit in their ministry and the life of the Anglican Church.
We also respectfully request that this Synod relay the outcome of this motion to all bishops of the Anglican Church of Australia and to General Synod.
21. SAME-SEX CIVIL MARRIAGE BLESSING
Moved by The Rev’d Stephan Clark
Seconded by The Rev’d Tracey Gracey
That this Synod, encouraged by the resolution passed recently by the Synod of the Diocese of Wangaratta:
a) acknowledges the widespread national and local support for the recent changes to Australian marriage laws, to include same-sex couples;
b) commends the pastoral value of the Archbishop authorising a Form of Blessing for optional use within the Diocese of Adelaide alongside, or in addition to, a wedding conducted by a civil celebrant;
c) requests that the Diocesan Leadership, in consultation with the clergy and laity of the Diocese, investigate the possibility and desirability of a process leading to Diocesan provision for the blessing of civil marriages.
davidould.net thinks that motion 20 is much more clever than 21. 21 is very unlikely to pass given the widespread awareness of the fracturing it would bring about, not to mention the impossible position it would put the Archbishop in given the Bishops’ Agreement. Motion 20, on the other hand, makes no request for such blessings or liturgies but seeks nevertheless to legitimise the position. It’s function is to establish a “dual integrity” in the diocese – that both positions are valid – and is therefore couched in the language of “good standing”, “sincere belief” and “good conscience”.
Those things may certainly be true of people who want to change the church’s doctrine of marriage. But they were almost certainly true of those in the Scottish Episcopal Church who did change their church’s doctrine of marriage. The Australian General Synod called such a move “contrary to the doctrine of our church and the teaching of Christ“. It’s possible to be in good standing, have sincere belief held in good conscience, and yet still be against the teaching of Christ.
We will, of course, seek to keep readers updated on the outcome of those debates.