Seven Canadian Anglican congregations voted this past week to align themselves with a conservative South American diocese, following a split over theological issues, including the blessing of same-sex unions.
In 2002, the diocese of New Westminster in Vancouver became the first Anglican diocese in the world to formally recognize the blessing of same-sex unions, sparking a divide in the church.
At a Feb 13 meeting, parishioners of St John’s Shaughnessy Anglican Church in Vancouver voted in favour of breaking from the diocese of New Westminster. Church representatives insist this is a much deeper issue than same-sex marriage.
“I have friends I would consider deep friends who are homosexual,” says Cheryl Maczko-Chang, director of the Anglican Network in Canada. “This is not about homophobia, but I cannot tell them the bible says something it doesn’t.”
Within the church there is a diversity of opinion on the issue. St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Vancouver is an affirming congregation with a gay priest.
“The conflict is, on the surface about sexuality, but I think it goes much deeper,” said Markus Duenzkofer, rector of St Paul’s, in Dec 2007. “It’s a conflict about understanding scripture.”
“How do we read a document that was written 2,000 years ago in the 21st century?”