The Parish Council of St. Mary's Kerrisdale plans to put a motion before their annual Vestry (membership) meeting next month that would ask Bishop Michael Ingham to designate St. Mary's as a parish where the rite of same sex blessing may be performed.
Eight parishes in the diocese have been authorized to perform the blessing. In every case, a parish is required to hold a Vestry vote before it can ask to become a place of blessing.
In 2006, after a vote at Diocesan Synod, Bishop Ingham placed a moratorium on further authorizations until after the national General Synod, which took place last summer. The eight parishes already authorized can still hold same sex blessings, but none of the diocese's 71 other parishes can.
At the General Synod in
Bishop Ingham has asked several lawyers learned in Canon (church) law to help him sort out the implications of the General Synod's somewhat conflicting decisions on the issue. He has yet to announce whether he will lift the moratorium and allow more parishes to request the blessing.
In St. Mary's parish publication Icon, former diocesan chancellor John Spencer wrote that that because St. Mary's is an influential parish both in the diocese and beyond, "news of the passing of such a motion at Vestry would have a significant influence on the whole question of same sex blessings."
"The same is true if the parish votes against the motion," he added. St. Mary's Vestry meets February 25.
Spencer wrote that if the parish does decide to ask for permission, the bishop's consent would be held in abeyance until and unless he lifts the embargo.