update 22 October 2019: Lisa Ahuja is no longer licensed in the Diocese of Perth. It appears that she carried out this blessing shortly after the end of her license upon leaving her position at Perth College.
davidould.net has obtained the full video of a same-sex blessing performed by a priest licensed in the Diocese of Perth. The blessing was held at the non-denominational Little Bay Chapel on the Sydney Coast.
The Priest who performed the ceremony on Tuesday 8 October is formerly Perth-based Lisa Ahuja, an American who originally served in the Episcopal Church from where she moved to Australia in 2015. Until recently she was listed as the chaplain of Perth College, a position that she began in January 2018.
We have taken the decision not to publish the full video since it contains footage of a minor who appears to be the adopted child of the couple in the ceremony.
The ceremony itself contained the following elements:
- A Processional
- A introduction where Ahuja declares that “we have come together to celebrate their marriage”.
- Bible readings. John 15:9-17, 1Cor. 13:1-13
- A bi-lingual reading of the couple’s “story”
- A prepared statement by the couple’s adopted child
- An exchange of vows
- A prayer over and exchange of rings
- A presentation of gifts to the couple (a statue of one of the couple’s “patron saint”)
- The signing of what was described as a “wedding certificate”
- Prayers, including the Lord’s Prayer spoken in a number of languages, for the marriage
- A Recessional
There was no declaration of marriage made at any stage but Ahuja does refer to the ceremony on a number of occasions as a “marriage” or “wedding”. It does not therefore appear to be a legal marriage ceremony (nor is Ahuja, as a celebrant recognised as a licensed minister in the Anglican Church of Australia, registered nor permitted to perform such a ceremony). It was however treated as such by Ahuja and all those present.
The conducting of this ceremony is another clear breach of the Anglican Church of Australia’s bishops’ agreed moratorium on such actions until Constitutional clarity has been established on the topic.
Clergy are also expected to seek the permission of the local bishop when intending to perform ceremonial duties in a diocese where they are non-resident. I understand that no such request was made to the Diocese of Sydney.
We have asked the Archbishop of Perth, Kay Goldsworthy, for comment.
This Post Has 16 Comments
another fake ceremony – they’re like kids play acting, thinking that they are adults doing the real thing. The trouble is that the gullible and ignorant media fall for it and will report it as a real ceremony.
I suapect shw would say that since it was in a non-denominational chapel, and she was not vested, that she was acting as a private citizen …
She might but she was wearing a clerical collar and it is not the building but the diocese in which it is located that matters.
I am sure that is what she would say but can someone in orders ever truely act as a private citizen? Personally I don’t think they can; I am pretty sure their commission from the Bishop at their ordination says the same.
Why are you Sydney Anglicans so obsessed with sex? Surely there are more important things for you supposed loving, caring Christians to worry about?
Loving and caring would be a good start
I am not a “Sydney Anglican” (whatever this nomenclature is meant to mean), but an Anglican priest serving in another diocese. Your question is one that is not an uncommon one, yet it is a question that I think deserves an answer.
The rejection of same-sex marriage and same-sex blessings within the Anglican Church is not due to Sydney Anglicans (or any other Biblically faithful and orthodox Anglicans) obsession with sex but rather due to their obsession with the Apostolic Gospel, that is the Gospel that was believed and proclaimed by the Apostles.
With the case of those within the church who are proponents of same-sex marriage, their gospel message can be summarised with four words: “Come as you are”.
At one level this is true. All unbelievers are invited to come as they are. Christ invites sinners, who are broken, afraid, shame-filled, sad, fearful to come to him. This invitation from the Lord Jesus Christ is beautiful! We don’t come to him on the mend, we don’t come to him with anything to bring except our sinful selves. It is what grace is all about.
However, this truth is not the whole truth. It is a half-truth presented as the whole truth, which makes it an untruth.
The reason it is an untruth is that the mesage of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is not merely “Come as you are”, but “Come as you and go as the Lord Jesus says”. The former has no repentance.
In his wonderful wee gem of a book Concise Theology, Jim Packer defines repentance as:
“changing one’s mind so that one’s views, values, goals, and ways are changed and one’s whole life is lived differently. The change is radical, both inwardly and outwardly, mind and judgment, will and affections, behaviour and lifestyle, motives and purposes, are all involved. Repentance means starting to live a new life.” P.162.
This is why the endorsement of same-sex marriage or same-sex blessings by church leaders is actually about the very nature of the gospel. They are preaching a gospel of no repentance, saying in effect, one does not need to repent.
To reduce the Gospel to merely saying “Come as you are” is an untruth because it is not the message of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus for any church leader to preach this half-truth as if it were the whole truth is the most unloving uncaring thing one could do – it will keep people out of the Kingdom of God.
Thank you. One question that sticks with me is this…What exactly is it that a person with same sex attraction needs to repent of?
Nothing whatsoever. The difficult words in the Bible are about same-sex activity, not attraction – just as they are with all manner of other sinful behaviour.
Some of the most amazing Christians I know are those who struggle with their various temptations to act sinfully and yet resist, trusting that Jesus is enough for them.
I think you’re creating a straw man – I certainly support same sex marriage, but also preach repentance and the change in nature brought about by being submitted to Christ through the Holy Spirit – what I do not do is believe that same sex marriage is wrong – that’s where you’ve take the stick by the wrong end.
Hi Andrew. Not obsessed at all, just care a great deal about the denomination in which I’m ordained and long for it’s ministers to act with Integrity.
Perhaps those that are obsessed are those who insist on blessing that which the church has repeatedly, at every level, said should not be blessed?
You have strange rules.
The Anglican Priest who raped me repeatedly over a number of years was given a full Anglican Funeral when he died.
BTW..he never repented or confessed.
I guess it must be ok to give blessing to Paedophiles?
Peculiar stuff that
I’m very sorry to hear of your experience. I’m sure that everyone here, no matter what position they take in this debate, would have the same sorrow.
I can’t speak to the details of that funeral because I don’t know the situation. But I think a few things would be helpful to say:
1. The funeral service is not a “blessing” of the deceased. It is a declaration to the living of the difference that the Resurrection of Jesus makes in the context of that death. The prayer book is very careful not to suggest that what we do in the funeral can change the status of the departed.
2.The Bible is clear (Heb. 9:27) that we can’t change someone’s eternal fate once they’re dead.
3.Given the above, I and many other ministers are prepared to offer a funeral for all sorts of people. In fact, it is of course true that every single person that I have ever buried was an sinner. As we all are.
The Apostates’ Church of Australia seems to be growing from its humble beginning with two bishops.
If the priest in question is not licensed anywhere then she wasn’t performing an Anglican wedding – pure and simple – either she has been licensed as a state celebrant or the marriage itself may not actually be valid (IMHO). What I am glad to see though is that you recognise her ordination as a priest. Well done.
I don’t know of anyone who claims this was an “Anglican” wedding. As the piece makes clear, the ceremony was lacking a few key elements yet presents itself as a celebration of a marriage.
She is, however, only licensed to conduct weddings according to the rites of the Anglican Church of Australia.
However, if the parties considered that it was a legal wedding then, according to the Marriage Act, they are married.