The Rev. John Oakes of Holy Trinity Vancouver was one of a number of rectors of conservative parishes who spoke in favour a motion to continue the moratorium. Archdeacon John Struthers of St. David’s, Delta, had seconded the motion
For the foreseeable future, the blessing of the union of gay and lesbian Anglicans will continue to be limited to eight parishes in the diocese.

By a vote closer than expected, 142 to 123, Diocesan Synod decided to continue to affirm its decision in 2005 to ask the bishop to impose a moratorium on allowing additional parishes to have the rite performed in their churches.

The moratorium on allowing additional parishes to use the rite came as the national General Synod was considering the issue, and the Windsor Report, done by a group appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, had called for a moratorium on all such public rites.

In 2007, a motion that would have affirmed the authority of Canadian dioceses to have a rite of same sex blessing was passed by the orders of lay and clergy delegates, but failed by two votes in the order of bishops.

General Synod meets next year and will again take up the issue. The two archdeacons who proposed continuing the diocesan moratorium, Stephen Rowe and John Struthers, argued the Diocese of New Westminster should wait for the national synod's action.

Noting that some other Canadian diocesan synods have voted to ask for a same sex blessing from their bishops, Struthers said: "Others have now joined us in running the race. We no longer run alone. The finish line is in sight."

"I believe that we must stay the course of limiting the number of parishes authorized to bless same sex unions to allow the church beyond our diocesan borders to complete its work," Struthers said.

Asking that the moratorium be lifted on additional parishes being places of same sex blessing was the Rev. Neil Fernyhough, whose parish of St. Hilda’s, Sechelt, is now authorized to perform the blessing. (Julie H. Ferguson photos)
The Rev. Carla McGhie of St. Clare-in-the-Cove, one of about six parishes that have voted to ask the bishop to be allowed to perform the rite, said: "We wait to practice the inclusivity that we preach, and so do other parishes." She said that couples wish to be blessed surrounded by friends in the parish that supports them.

Mark Munn of Christ Church Cathedral read a statement from Integrity Vancouver, a group of gay and lesbian Anglicans and their supporters. It said that the group feels that calls for "gracious restraint" by continuing the diocesan moratorium "is often seen as capitulation to bigotry and discrimination... Let us love God and live boldly once again."

The rectors of some parishes that opposed the blessings argued for continuation of the moratorium. The Rev. John Oakes of Holy Trinity Vancouver said the conditions that lead to the 2005 moratorium still apply.

The Rev. Al Carson said that his parish of St. Cuthbert was "strong but fragile...we hold together...but I continue to pray for a Church that is able to stay together in unity with diversity so that voices can be listened that we can experience together great grace and growth standing together as diverse Christians before our Lord."
Currently, the parishes that can conduct blessings are Christ Church Cathedral, St. Paul's, St. Margaret Cedar Cottage, and St. Marks, all in Vancouver; St. Agnes, North Vancouver; St. Barnabas, New Westminster; St. Laurence, Coquitlam; St. Hilda's, Sechelt.