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N.Z. Church Affirms Same-sex Blessings

The General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia has voted in favor of blessing same-sex couples.

The vote occurred at 11:20 a.m. May 9. The acceptance is subject to the report of a select committee before the synod adjourns later in the day.

The synod debated theological principles late in the afternoon on May 8. In the evening, synod member Tony Hill called for a caucus by the church’s three tikanga to consider assent to the proposition. The church’s canons allow any one tikanga to veto a proposal before the house.

Each of the three tikanga assented to calling the vote, but Tikanga Pasifika abstained from the vote and recorded its dissent on blessing same-sex couples.

After the synod voted on the motion by voice, the Rev. Al Drye from Christchurch called for a show of hands and then for synod representatives to stand. The motion passed by a significant majority.

There was a brief burst of applause.

The General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia also approved a motion recording that Tikanga Pasifika opposes the blessing of same-sex relationships.

The motion — which seeks to protect Diocese of Polynesia against perceptions in the Pacific Island nations that their synod representatives are promoting a breach of island laws, customs, and the expressed wishes of Anglicans in the islands — passed without dissent.

The motion’s text follows.

A Tikanga Pasifika Perspective on the Blessing of Same-Gender Relationships

That this 63rd General Synod / Te Hinota Whanui:

Deeply mindful of the deep interweaving of cultural and religious values at the core of our Pacific societies that place a profound respect and reverence for the belief in God and the belief in the traditional understanding of marriage;

Noting the constitutions of the respective Pacific Island Countries (Samoa, Tonga, Fiji) do not recognize any union between the same gender;

Receiving with deep appreciation the report of the Small Working Group and noting the proposed recommendations;

Recalling the outcomes of the talanoa on the report of motion 29 in the Diocese of Polynesia and notably at the Diocesan Synod;

Celebrating the core values of the 3 Tikanga Church of mutual respect and common journey;

Noting that the discussion and positions on same gender relations have shifted quite significantly in Aotearoa New Zealand over the last 2 years;

Mindful of the respect for the positions of the respective Tikanga of the Church; and

Noting with appreciation the willingness of the Tikanga Polynesia not to be an obstacle in the journey of Tikanga Maori and Tikanga Pakeha towards the blessing of same-gender relations in Aotearoa New Zealand;

Resolves to:

Accept the position of the Tikanga Pasifika against the principles of the report of the Small Working Group based on the above-mentioned preambular clauses outlining the premises for the Tikanga Pasifika;

Note Tikanga Pasifika’s desire not to hinder the progression of the recommendations for the Tikanga Maori and Tikanga Pakeha;

Encourage Tikanga Pasifika to convene talanoa on this issue in its journey towards a greater understanding of the plight of minority groups in the Pacific region and to report back to General Synod of the outcomes of the talanoa series on this matter;

Promote greater partnership across tikanga with a view to nurturing and deepening Tikanga relations on challenging issues faced by our societies.

Adapted from Anglican Taonga


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