'Great richness' in same-sex marriage discussion paper

00:27, Apr 08 2014
Helen-Ann Hartley
POSITIVE PLACE: Bishop of Waikato Helen-Ann Hartley says she is looking forward to the talks at the Anglican general synod.

A church report on the controversial issue of same-sex blessings and ordinations has been welcomed by the new Anglican bishop of Waikato, Dr Helen-Ann Hartley.

The Anglican church in New Zealand will consider a church commission report dealing with the differing views of same-sex relationships that are dividing the church ahead of its general synod in May.

The report delivers 10 options which include affirming the traditional understanding of the Bible, adding a new rite of blessing by priests of those in a same-sex relationship and splitting the church into two.

"I very much welcome the release of these important documents," Hartley said. "They represent the fruits of many hours of labour, and an immense amount of careful conversation, listening and discussion."

Hartley said many Waikato people had made valuable contributions to the debate.

"I myself was a member of the Doctrine Commission, and feel that this document is one of great richness and depth. The documents are now to be considered by the wider church community in advance of general synod . . . and I look forward to the discussions that will happen then."

General Secretary of the Church, the Rev Michael Hughes, said the report did not state any conclusions.

"This is a valuable resource with an analysis and critique of a wide spectrum of church views that now becomes part of the church's conversations and deliberations for our general synod next month."

The commission sought to solicit as many views as possible, to engage in conversations with bishops, priests and lay people, and to do its own reading before finalising its report. A total of 199 submissions were received. The report notes views on both sides of the issue with a significant body of opinion in the middle ground. chris.gardner@waikatotimes.co.nz