The Revs. John Oakes and Richard Leggett listened intently to reaction to their joint report at the 2005 Diocesan Synod

A diocesan meeting to discuss what might be a proper diocesan response to a report by a national theological commission - as to who has the authority to decide whether same-sex blessings are legitimate - will take place December 2.

Executive Archdeacon Ronald Harrison told Diocesan Council last month that Walter Deller of the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad seminary in Saskatoon, a member of the Primate's Theological Commission, will be present to explain the report, called the St. Michael's report.

The St. Michael's report argues that same-sex blessings have to do with doctrine, and as such can only be authorized by the General Synod of the national Anglican Church of Canada.

Same-sex blessings in the Diocese of New Westminster, approved in 2002, followed a ruling by three canon law experts. They stated the blessing was a pastoral, not doctrinal measure, and properly under the jurisdiction of a diocese and its bishop.

The national General Synod in June of next year has the final say as to whether the national church adopts the St. Michael's report. If it does, it is possible the blessing would have to be withdrawn in the Diocese of New Westminster.

The Rev. John Oakes, who opposes same-sex blessings, and the Rev. Richard Leggett, who favours the blessing, have agreed to try to craft a position that the diocese might take in regards to the St. Michael's report, and to express this in a statement for the national Synod.

The last Diocesan Synod in May failed to come up with a position, but asked Diocesan Council to create one. The 40-member council has the task now of dealing with whatever theologians Oakes and Leggett come up with.

The meeting on Saturday, December 2, will take place at Christ Church Cathedral. Harrison said that while it will be open to everyone, the meeting is primarily for lay people in the diocese. Clergy had the opportunity to attend an all-day session that focussed on the St. Michael's report in May of this year.