Anglican Communion begins split after Canadian diocese's same-sex union ceremony
While leaders of the Anglican Communion met last week and reiterated the church's ban on same-sex unions, Michael Ingham, the bishop of British Columbia's New Westminster diocese, authorized such blessing ceremonies. On Wednesday night, St Margaret's church in east Vancouver blessed the union of Michael Kalmuk and Kelly Montfort—and Kelly, in this case, is a man's name.
"We've kind of helped write history here tonight," Kalmuk told The Daily Telegraph of London. Just how historical the ceremony was remains to be seen. Such ceremonies have taken place in other Anglican churches (including some in the Episcopal Church here in the U.S.), but never with the explicit support of the local bishop.
It's "highly unlikely" that Ingham will be disciplined by either Canada's top Anglican leader, Michael Peers, or Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, reports the Vancouver Sun. Both privately support homosexual unions and the ordination of gay clergy, but criticized Ingham's actions. The Anglican leaders, known as primates, have "nothing approaching a consensus in support of same sex-unions," said Williams. "I very much regret the inevitable tension and division that will result from this development."
Indeed, the division has already begun. The Church of Nigeria, the largest Anglican diocese in the world, severed communion with Ingham and his diocese after the ceremony, and several other primates are taking similar measures. "He needs to repent," Archbishop Livingstone Mpalanyi-Nkoyoyo, Primate of Uganda, told the Telegraph. "His teaching is heretical."
The story is unlikely to be a flash in the pan, but just how deeply this will divide the Anglican Communion remains to be seen. Keep an eye on the Canadian Anglican News Network and the Anglican Communion News Service for more developments.
More articles on the controversy:
- Bishop defends same-sex blessings | Says it's time for Anglicans to accept the decision and move forward (CBC)
- Vancouver parishes to bless gay unions | Controversial bishop first to formally approve rite, says it is Christian 'duty' (The Ottawa Citizen)
- B.C. bishop tries to end rift over blessings (Canadian Press)
- Bishop authorizes same-sex blessings for six Anglican congregations (Vancouver Sun)
- Anglicans to bless same-sex unions in B.C. | Bishop Ingham is believed to be the first Anglican bishop in the world to formally approve such blessings, although some U.S. bishops have informally allowed such ceremonies (National Post, Canada)
- Archbishop of Canterbury regrets blessings | The archbishop of Canterbury expressed "sadness" Thursday over a Canadian diocese's decision to permit blessing ceremonies for homosexual couples (Associated Press)
- First Anglican 'gay wedding' infuriates traditionalists | Evangelical primates demanded firm action against the Bishop of New Westminster, the Rt Rev Michael Ingham, after he issued a rite for same-sex blessings in his diocese in western Canada (The Daily Telegraph, London)
- Blessing for male partners reopens church's wounds on gays | Pressure on archbishop after Canadian ceremony (The Guardian, London)
- 'I delight in you. I will go with you wherever God calls' | Ceremony sure looked, sounded like a wedding (The Daily Telegraph, London)
- Earlier: Rulings bring marriage closer to reality for gay Canadians (Seattle Times)
Politics and law:
- Televangelist given key Zambian post | Zambia's leader has named a popular television-evangelist and former opposition leader as his new vice-president (BBC)
- Also: Zambia's President Mwanawasa appoints opposition leader as vice president | Evangelical television preacher Nevers Mumba ran against him in the last election (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks)
- Vocal gay Republicans upsetting conservatives | The two main tenets of President Bush's brand of Republicanism—the "big tent" philosophy and the "family values" agenda—may be on a collision course (The New York Times)
- Historians trace an unholy alliance: Religion and nationalism | Is religious sentiment, long considered the prime enemy of nationalism, actually one of its founding elements? (The New York Times)
- Religious voters in Bush's prayers | President, advisers seek ways to boost evangelical turnout (Howard Fineman, Newsweek)
- Christian right has issues with Bush | At issue are questions about the administration's stance on gay rights and abortion (The State, S.C.)
- Assembly bill takes aim at ammunition | 'Sin tax' would pay for shooting victims' medical care (Pasadena Star News, Calif.)
Missions and ministry:
- Japanese pastor reaches out with suicide line | Rev. Yukio Saito has devoted his life to persuading the isolated and despondent to spare themselves (The New York Times)
- Chicago suburb battles crime with clergy | In a move that worries civil libertarians, Mayor Eric Kellogg has appointed volunteer chaplains to comfort crime victims and promote neighborhood activism in the poverty-stricken town of 30,000 (Associated Press)
- Flourishing expressions of religion embrace and care for today's society | The next time you read some evangelical firebrand breathing hellfire and brimstone against the evils of the modern age, remember there are those who, in the name of religion, quietly follow other, more elevated paths (Hubert G. Locke, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
- Ministry helping gays keep faith | Jeremy Marks, founder of the group Courage, provides support to homosexuals who wish to follow path of Christian discipleship (Akron Beacon Journal, Ohio)
- Focus on Family prepares for future without its founder | Hodel's new role will largely be behind the scenes, but his decision-making will be critical as the organization seeks to groom others to succeed Dobson, broaden its reach to younger families and keep donations coming (The Denver Post)
- Habitat for Humanity to open slum 'theme park' | Millard Fuller, founder of the organization, said he expects the Global Village & Discovery Center to attract as many as 70,000 tourists in its first year of operation (Reuters)
- Also: Theme park offers the thrill of … brick-making | The Global Village, which opens on 7 June, has a serious point to make (BBC)
- Faith, fun attract flocks | Orlando is moving toward becoming "the Las Vegas of the evangelical world" (The Orlando Sentinel)
- A former refugee plus 500 blankets equal help for Africans | Obang Okello tells his story to local Christians (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
- Haitian church's tutors teach success in Fort Lauderdale | Volunteers at Bethel Evangelical Baptist Church hope a little extra attention will make a big difference in the academic careers of Haitian-American students (South Florida Sun Sentinel)
- Religion Today: Caring for creation | Bartholomew I, the so-called "green patriarch" is bringing his message next to the Baltic Sea (Associated Press)
- Sparks in a crucible | Terrorism showed its ugly face in 1901 kidnap of an American missionary in the Balkans (New York Daily News)
- Earlier: Christian History Corner: The Day the Ransoming Began | A gripping new book details the first American missionary hostage crisis, over 100 years ago (Christianity Today, May 23, 2003)
Singing about God at graduation:
- School allows student to sing Christian song | As compromise after lawsuit, she won't read introduction (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
- Teen settles with school over hymn | Honer will get to sing about God, but will be listed on the commencement program not as a speaker, but as a performer (Associated Press)
- Cracks in Jefferson's wall | It's good to see that common sense prevailed in the compromise that will allow a religious song to be sung during graduation ceremonies at Winneconne High School on June 8 (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
- Earlier: Student sues to re-insert 'God' in song | Winnebago County school cites separation of church, state (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
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