Anglicans propose separate church for gays

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 05/04/2014

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The Anglican Church could disintegrate as a result of differences over the blessing and ordination of gays, according to one of the options it is considering.

Ten options are being considered by a church commission to deal with the differing views over same-sex relationships - of which one would see the end of the church as it currently exists.

The commission, chaired by former governor-general Sir Anand Satyanand, was set up two years ago to "listen, read, discuss, and provide a description of possible options for a way forward".

There were 199 submitters on the issue, including retired Wellington bishop Richard Randerson.

Randerson, who has been married to wife, Jackie, for 46 years, said it was the quality of the relationship - not the sexual orientation - that was important.

"I think the tide is shifting within the church and more people are coming to the acceptance of homosexuality and accepting same-sex relationships with those committed to the church."

Different dioceses needed to have the power to make their own decisions without compelling others to do the same. An option to set up a separate church for gay people was "ridiculous", and the dismantling of the church was extreme, he said.

The most appropriate ways forward were options of bishops or the synod making a decision on a case-by-case basis; the church adopting an acceptance of same-sex relationships; and a specific group within the church overseeing blessings when gay people were involved.

Also on the table for final consideration by the synod at a meeting next month was spending another two years discussing the issue with church communities; the church splitting to have two opposing views; and having particular priests to deal with same-sex blessings.

Randerson said any moves to keep the status quo would not be progressive and the reality was that "same-sex attraction is a natural thing for some people".

"A lot of this hinges on biblical interpretation and a handful of verses in the Bible that some people construe as anti same-sex relationships.

"The Bible was written at a time when committed same-sex relationships weren't a topic for discussion . . . we're 2000 years down the track now."

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- The Dominion Post

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