Diocese of Ottawa Synod, October 19, 2002

  • Ottawa Citizen Newspaper, Bob Harvey: Diocese of Ottawa Defers same-sex blessing decision until Fall 2003

  • B.C. stands alone: Ottawa Anglicans delay decision on same-sex blessings

  • Another deferred Ottawa Synod Motion (see below):  Moved by The Rev. George Sinclair, Seconded by The Rev. David Crawley, that this Synod endorse as its own position the position of the Canadian Anglican House of Bishops (1997) and the Lambeth Conference (1998) on the subject of the blessing of same-sex unions.


    Motion to the Ottawa Synod by the Rev George Sinclair, Rector of St. Alban the Martyr
    and National Chair of Anglican Essentials

    "This is done, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." I John 4:10.

    It is easy to get this wrong. It is easy to think we are full and God is empty, we are strong and God is weak, we are really real and God is ephemeral, we are loving and God's love is suspect. It is easy for us to believe that we are judges and God is on trial. Is He good enough to be with us?

    This part of God's word written calls us back to our senses. God is God and we are not and that is very good. There is no one more real than God; there is no one more loving-more good-more true or just or merciful. Thankfully, there is no power in the universe that can stop God from being God. God is full and we are empty. God is whole and we need wholeness. Every good thing we have is a gift from God. Even our knowledge of God is a gift. Apart from His act to reveal Himself we could not know Him. He made us for Himself. He made us to know Him and adore Him and enjoy Him and love Him-but we cannot do this of ourselves and by ourselves. In fact only He could reconcile us to Himself.

    "This is done, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." I John 4:10.

    The Christian faith is a revealed faith. The Christian faith is a revealed faith. It is not, however, a secret religion-mysteries known only to the anointed. It is a public faith-revealed and public, not only in the sense that we are to live as followers of Jesus in the public square, but more importantly that God's revelation of Himself is public. Jesus walked among us and when He died for us, His death was in a place so cosmopolitan that the charges against Him had to be printed in three languages-Hebrew, Latin and Greek. He did not die in a cathedral between two candles. The Bible is a public revelation. It is there for all to see. Anglican tradition describes it as "God's word written." That same tradition tells us that we are to "read, mark, learn and inwardly digest it."

    To talk, as some do, of "the Jesus I know" apart from this public revelation is to descend into sentimentality or mystery religion or gnosticism.

    "This is done, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." I John 4:10.

    On the issue before us today-the blessing of same-sex unions-the Bible, God's word written and public revelation-speaks very clearly and coherently. Same-sex sexual acts are contrary to God's will. Therefore we cannot bless same-sex unions. As an aside-the idea that there is a difference between the blessing of same-sex unions and same-sex marriage is foolish-everyone knows they are fundamentally the same in intent. The distinction does not clarify; it is an attempt to cloud the issue.

    The Bible speaks clearly, coherently and consistently that same-sex sexual acts are contrary to God's will. There are six passages in the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments, which clearly teach this. These passages are not anomalies. For instance, in First Corinthians, there is a text which could imply that if an atheist is married to a Christian, the atheist is made holy and fit for Heaven because he is married to a Christian. This passage with this interpretation is anomalous-it does not fit in with the many, many other passages in the Bible which touch on this and related issues. The six texts on same-sex sexual acts are not anomalies. The are in harmony with the deep and consistent Biblical teaching on sexuality-as well as Biblical teaching on creation, the nature of the human person, ethics in general, sanctification and sacramental theology. This teaching is that God desires us to be faithful in heterosexual marriage or be celibate in singleness. This Biblical teaching-agreed upon by Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Lutherans, the Reformed churches, evangelicals and charisma tics-means that we cannot bless same-sex unions. We can also not bless people who want to have sexual intercourse outside of marriage or bless people who want to have affairs or whatever else may come before us in the future. We cannot bless what God does not bless.

    This Biblical teaching is addressed to all. For some it will be very hard and for some it will be relatively easy to live in harmony with. It will be just as hard for many heterosexuals as it will be for some homosexuals.

    The question of whether or not homosexuality is genetic and not chosen is very relevant to where people are-what they will struggle with-the shape their being disciples of Jesus will take-but is not relevant to whether or not same-sex sexual acts are right or wrong. The Biblical teaching is not based on biology but on God and His true knowledge, as our Creator, of the true conditions for human flourishing. As science develops, it might become clear that there are some people genetically hard wired towards certain behaviours. For some maybe alcohol abuse, for some anger or violence, for some heterosexuals promiscuity. This does not mean that we bless the actions that result from being genetically hard wired. Biology will merely make clear some of the struggles we will face in following Jesus. It will make clear a need for sustained and deeper prayer for healing; for patience; for spiritual direction; for friendship; for hospitality; for community. Maybe it will push us to be more like the church in Acts 2.

    "This is done, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." I John 4:10.

    I urge you to vote for this motion. The Canadian Bishops in 1997 and the worldwide Bishops in 1998 reflect our orthodox Anglican heritage. They reflect the Biblical teaching. Please embrace and endorse it! End

    Same-sex blessings