Diocese of Wangaratta pushes ahead with Same-Sex Blessings

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The Diocese of Wangaratta, at it’s recent synod, passed the following motion,

That this Synod:

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 Bishop authorising a Form of Blessing for optional use in the Diocese of Wangaratta alongside, or in addition to, a wedding conducted by a civil celebrant, and

c) requests that the Bishop of Wangaratta ensure opportunity for the clergy and laity of the Diocese to engage in further discussion as part of the process leading to the potential Diocesan provision for blessing of civil marriages.

Moved: Archdeacon Clarence Bester

Seconded: Ven Dr John Davis

The motion was passed overwhelmingly on the voices. A number of observations can immediately be made:

  1. The motion comes from the leadership of the diocese, presented by an Archdeacon and the former Vicar General of the Diocese.
  2. The sentiment of the motion is in clear contradiction to a number of motions at the 2017 General Synod and position established in the more recent Bishops’ Agreement which Bishop Parkes of Wangaratta agreed to.

Readers of davidould.net may remember Dr Davis’ attempt last year to argue that our position on marriage is simply a matter of canon law and therefore disputable. They will also be aware of Bishop Parkes’ repeated public statements in favour of same-sex marriage. He has wholeheartedly supported the synod’s move, as reported in the Wangaratta Chronicle saying he is “proud of the synod”. In his presidential address he stated:

I am taking my own advice as to whether I have the power at law and the proper theological, exegetical and hermeneutical justification to promulgate a service of same sex unions for use within the Diocese of Wangaratta

Bishop Parkes gave his address prior to the motion being debated and it clearly gave it a green light. It is hard to see his actions here as anything other than a direct challenge to the position that the Anglican Church of Australia has established both at a national synodical level and also amongst his fellow bishops. It also adds more pressure upon the leadership of the Australian Primate, Archbishop Philip Freier of Melbourne, who is Metropolitan of the Province of Victoria where the Diocese of Wangaratta is located.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Brian

    Hello, David – are you gong to comment on Anglican Unscripted about the departure of four parishes from Christchurch NZ described in Peter Carrell’s ‘Anglican Down Under’? The realignment is underway across the ditch.

    Wangaratta’s position isn’t surprising, given the Good Friday sermon the bishop gave – pure heresy.

    BTW, it’s “its” not “it’s” in the first line!

    1. RevRon

      Now that’s dotting the eyes and crossing the tease!

      1. Brian

        I’m OCD about misspelled its/it’s – or maybe I’m just a grammar Nazi.

  2. Andrew

    “I am taking my own advice …”
    He’s a lawyer.
    And my guess is that he’s going to enjoy this game, as he sees it.

    1. Chris Russell

      At least John Parkes has learned something from his days as Bishop in Queensland, when he reportedly told media that alleged pedophile priests such as Barry Greaves, could not be precluded from activities granting them access to children. “Until they were convicted, they were entitled to be considered innocent until proven guilty” (quoted in Gearing, “Archbishop’s Chaplain Behind Bars at Last”, 29 April, 2009). There’s legal training for you. In 2015, he boasted to the Wangaratta Chronicle, in relation to an allegation against at least one deviant priest in his new diocese: “I stood him aside the same day and walked him from the premises the next morning”. There’s leadership for you.

  3. MichaelA

    This makes it clear that it is time for Gafcon to host the development of a new Anglican polity in those parts of Australia where the official Anglican Church of Australia dioceses depart from God’s word.

    Wangaratta is obviously ripe for such a polity, so is Brisbane.

    This is the way the orthodox Anglicans do things nowadays – leave those who promote homosexuality and other forms of apostasy in the mainline Anglican churches, and instead provide alternatives. Surprise, surprise, it is these alternatives which grow, while the mainline churches wither away.

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