General Synod in Winnipeg - the view from the delegates' table.
The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada has narrowly decided not to affirm same sex blessings in its 30 dioceses by turning down a “local option” resolution.

While lay members were in favour of affirming the jurisdiction and authority of local diocesan bishops to authorize the blessing by a vote of 78 to 59, and clergy delegates also approved 63 to 53, the Church’s bishops turned down the motion by two votes – 19 to 21.

However, what the outcome will be for the Diocese of New Westminster is unclear. In 2003 Bishop Michael Ingham, responding to a third request of Diocesan Synod, authorized the blessing. The priest who carries out the ceremony, and the parish in which it takes place, must agree with the blessing. In four years about 20 blessings of homosexual couples have taken place, the majority at Christ Church Cathedral.

The General Synod still has before it a motion that would allow the Diocese of New Westminster to continue, and may deal with it on Monday, the last day of the seven-day Synod, which occurs only every three years.

Earlier, the General Synod had decided that same sex blessings, such as those carried out in the Diocese of New Westminster,  doesn't contradict the "core doctrine" of the Church. The concern of some bishops apparently was not with the blessing itself, but whether the Canadian Church is ready.

That vote that the blessing was "not in conflict with" core doctrine passed by a vote of 21 to 19 in the House of Bishops, and 152 to 97 by clergy and lay members, who voted together.

The followed a distinction of Edmonton Bishop Victoria Matthews and her Primate’s Theological Commission. That body came to the conclusion that the blessing was doctrine, but not core doctrine, such as the Church’s creeds.

Meeting in Winnipeg from June 19 through 25, the Synod includes representative clergy and lay people from all the Church’s 30 dioceses.
The resolutions that passed were bracketed with several procedural motions during which the Synod decided to come to decisions regarding the blessing by majority vote, and rejected moves to require majorities of two-thirds or 60 per cent.

“But whether we voted by 50 plus one, 60 or 67 per cent, there will be people who are not happy,” said the Rev. Richard Leggett, one of the Diocese of New Westminster’s 12 members of the Synod.

Much more news of the Synod is available on the Anglican Church of Canada’s website, Delegates Neale Adams and the Rev. John Oakes are “blogging” the Synod, and their daily reports are available at and at