A special Synod of the Diocese of British Columbia has told its delegates to the national Church’s General Synod this month that about two-thirds of its members approve of same sex blessings now or sometime in the future.

A slight majority of the 197-member Diocesan Synod, 102 or 51.7 per cent, voted to tell the delegates on Saturday, June 2, that they felt a resolution coming before General Synod to “affirm the authority and jusisdiction” of diocesan bishops and synods to authorize same sex blessings should be approved by the national Church.

Another 13.7 per cent were in favour of the motion in principle, but said that now was not the time the Canadian Church should take action.

And some 22.8 per cent said the Anglican Church of Canada should never approve same sex blessings. The rest were undecided or expressed no opinion.

The synod and the vote were advisory, and B.C.'s ten delegates to the national Synod are not bound to vote in any particular way. The Synod was held at Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria.

The Diocese of BC for historic reasons includes only the Anglican Church of Canada on Vancouver Island (plus all Gulf Islands), with about 13,000 Anglicans in 55 parishes.

The special BC Synod heard from the Dean Peter Elliott of Christ Church Cathedral, Diocese of New Westminster, and Bishop Victoria Matthews of the Diocese of Edmonton, before voting on the issue.

After the Synod, Dean Elliott was quoted in the Victoria Times Colonist: “The Anglican Church is a big tent. We love and celebrate diversity, and people have the freedom of expressing their convictions."

At present, the same sex blessings have been authorized only in Diocese of New Westminster, in parishes and clergy that agree with the practice. In 1998, the New Westminster Synod voted in favour of same sex blessings was 51.3 per cent. Two more synod votes with increasing majorities in favour of the blessing followed before Bishop Michael Ingham issued a rite of blessing in 2003.

The delegates said they felt remaining in the Anglican Communion was important, and also that failing to pass a resolution to approve same sex unions could be seen as perpetuating an historical and current injustice against homosexual persons.

The General Synod meets in Winnipeg from June 19 to 26. A memorial (formal message) to General Synod passed by BC’s Diocesan Synod follows:


Anglican Diocese of British Columbia

91st Synod June 1, 2007


MOVED BY: The Very Rev. Logan McMenamie

SECONDED BY:  Canon Dr. Martin Hendy

That this 91st Synod of the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia memorialize General Synod 2007 as follows:

We have met in a special session of Synod to consider the question of the blessing of same-sex unions and our relationship as a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion. This has come after consideration of the Windsor Report, the St. Michael Report, the proposed motion of the Council of General Synod for General Synod 2007, and the May 1, 2007, Pastoral Letter of the House of Bishops. We have also gone through a preparatory study using a specially commissioned DVD and have been blessed to hear addresses on this subject by the Right Rev. Victoria Matthews and the Very Rev. Peter Elliott.

Members of Synod were asked if they were in favour of the blessing of same-sex unions. 51.7 per cent of us said that the blessing of same-sex unions should be approved at General Synod 2007, while 13.7 per cent said they were for it in principle, but that as a church we need to wait on action. 7.6 per cent of members said they were unsure what to do but were open to proceeding, while 2.0 per cent were unsure what to do and so we should wait. 22.8 per cent of us said that the Anglican Church of Canada should never approve same-sex blessings. 65.4 per cent appear to be in favour of blessing same-sex unions, but are not agreed about when to do it. 2.2 per cent expressed no opinion.

Many of us are concerned about the potential breakup of the Anglican Communion over this issue. There is a strong feeling that we need to strengthen and maintain our relationship with as a member province of the Anglican Communion, and that we need to be at the table.

Many of us are concerned that failure to allow the blessing of same-sex unions at this time will perpetuate an historical and current injustice.

We ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our continued discernment process, and for the blessing of God on the General Synod meeting in Winnipeg.