Dean of Perth “seeks to hold same-sex weddings in … Cathedral”

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And so it begins

The Anglican Dean of Perth says he could seek to hold same-sex weddings in St George’s Cathedral, providing he gets permission from the incoming Archbishop.

The Very Rev. Richard Pengelley said the Anglican church would need to lay out a national position on whether same-sex weddings could be allowed in churches, and it was his hope he would be given the green light to officiate at gay ceremonies.

Mr Pengelley conceded any push to allow same-sex weddings could lead to a split inside the Anglican church in Australia.

This year, he threw his support behind the campaign for same-sex marriage, revealing he has an adult son who is gay. has long predicted that Perth would be the diocese to push this, all the more since the election of Kay Goldsworthy as Archbishop. She has, of course, already let it be known that she’d be open to “considering” such a request…

In August, the next Anglican Archbishop of Perth, Kay Goldsworthy, suggested she was a supporter of same-sex marriage. The Archbishop-elect told The West Australian she favoured the more “inclusive” side of the marriage debate, though stressed that was her personal view only.

and yet it does increasingly seem as though that “personal” view will take precedence over the clear and regular orthodox position taken by the last few General Synods. But the Dean seems to think breaking away from the national church is worth it.

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This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. David Mitchell

    “The Very Rev. Richard Pengelley said the Anglican church would need to lay out a national position on whether same-sex weddings could be allowed in churches” << is there truth in that – that the Anglican church (General Synod I presume) need set the national position? Please say it is so such that we have comfort of a safeguard.

    1. David Ould

      well, we just censured the SEC and declared a broken communion for setting out to conduct SSM in churches. So Perth should be in no doubt that a similar decision is a deliberate choice to defy the will of the national church in this matter.

  2. Geoffrey Orr

    In regard to David Mitchell’s question, as I understand it a change to the order of service for marriage in “A Prayer Book for Australia” or the provision of an alternative order of service would be required and that would need to first be authorized by General Synod before adoption by individual dioceses.

  3. Bruce Lyon

    As you say David … and so it begins …

    We are seeing similar moves in UCA … ACC not impressed.

  4. Gary Nelson

    I think the issue will surround the constitution. Does the Fundamental Declarations allow same sex marriage? Can the Ruling Principles be changed to allow this move without every metropolitan diocese agreeing?

  5. Mark Durie

    Geoffrey is right. To conduct an Anglican same sex union would require a rite to be authorized for this. The existing marriage rites in prayer books allowed for use by Australian Anglican clergy all used hetero-normative language. Under the way the Australian Anglican Church is structured, General Synod would have to authorize a new marriage rite for SSM marriage to come in. But General Synod is too conservative to permit this. Also, the way the Australian Marriage Act is worded, it would be illegal under Australian law for an Australian Anglican priest to solemnize a wedding except using approved rites. So even if a Diocesan bishop – e.g. the Archbishop of Perth – were to give consent for a SSM rite, a breakaway approach to use this could be considered illegal by the laws of Australia without a properly authorized rite in place. Those who wish to move in this new direction could find it very difficult.

  6. Bruce Lyon

    I trust the new Bishop-elect of Newcastle Stuart will refine and re-inforce his view of Marriage as Male Female only and commit under his Episcopal time to never ever permit same sex liturgical marriages.

    Recent contributions at General Synod do not give me great enouragement.

    If this Bishop-elect ever ever for once allows either blessings of same-sex relationships, either separately or by knowingly allowing Holy Communion to the unrepentant, or ever ever allows same sex Holy Matrimony, let him be an anathema.

    Hold your ground, GAFCON>

    Stay traditional, Bishop-elect Peter Stuart, else you will have Hell to pay, I would not hesitate to warn, in great love, as the Lord will call you to account in due course.

    1. GregColby

      You speak as if you yourself, Bruce, are an official Council of the Church – only an official council of the church can declare anything or anyone to be ‘anathema’.

      Interesting that you would side track a thread about the Dean of Perth to lay into the Bishop that neither you nor David Ould thought electable.

  7. Tim Gaden

    The Dean of Perth will find that he needs more than the incoming archbishop’s permission.

    Section 4 of the Anglican Church’s constitution establishes the Book of Common Prayer and the 39 Articles as “the authorised standard of worship and doctrine in this Church” and permits no deviation in doctrine or worship from that standard. The Book of Common Prayer teaches that marriage is “a union between a man and a woman”.

    Not even General Synod can authorise a rite that contravenes the ruling principles of the Constitution. An attempt to amend Section 4 of the constitution would be required first. This would lengthy and very unlikely to succeed. It would require the assent of 75% of our 23 dioceses, including all the metropolitan ones (Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane).

    What would be possible would be a rite of thanksgiving or blessing after a civil union has been registered with the government. This is the line that Anglican Church in New Zealand seems to be pursing. The Constitution leaves services of this kind up to each individual Diocesan to develop and authorise for use in their dioceses, or not. But is wouldn’t be a marriage. It would be the blessing of a marriage.

    1. David Ould

      I don’t think that will stop them. Perth was more than willing to carry out ordinations without having the General Synod provide the necessary backing.
      And then there’s always the Appellate Tribunal.

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