This month we focus on International news & articles – with a bit of UK news thrown in at the end…
The Anglican Church in New Zealand has set up a commission to report on the ordination of openly gay and lesbian priests. The commission is expected to complete its work and recommend a way forward in time for the 2014 General Synod. A full report can be found at http://www.anglicantaonga.org.nz/News/General-Synod/Decision-time
Sadly, prejudice is still rife elsewhere, as demonstrated by the story of a gay Presbyterian minister who was literally pre-judged before ever preaching a sermon in a southern states town in the USA.
Elsewhere in the United Sates, New York has become the 6th US State to vote for marriage equality for same-sex couples. One of the notable elements of the vote in the state senate was the role of Republicans whose vote was needed for the bill to pass. Traditionally Republicans have tended to support the concerns of the conservative Christian groups in opposing such moves but several Republican senators changed their minds to vote the bill through. One Christian lobbying group has vowed to make Republican senators pay for their ‘betrayal’ in next year’s elections.
In June the Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen took the opportunity to speak out against same-sex marriage. Arguing that same-sex marriage “could open the way for other forms, such a polygamous marriages, or perhaps even marriage between immediate family members,” he warned of dire consequences if marriage rights are given to same-sex couples.
But others are not convinced. Australian Marriage Equality convenor Alex Greenwich is quoted as saying, “The Archbishop should acknowledge we live in a secular, multi-faith society, and … that his views should not be imposed on those religions that want to perform same-sex marriages, such as the Quakers and progressive Synagogues. Not one of the alarmist predictions made by the Archbishop have come to pass in any of the countries that allow same-sex marriages to take place.”
In a historic vote, the United Nations has, for the first time, passed a resolution addressing human rights violations which arise from sexual orientation or gender identity. The landmark resolution was tabled by South Africa and Brazil, and approved by 32 votes to 19. Among the countries which voted against were Uganda & Nigeria.
And finally, Metropolitan Community Church leaders in the UK have written an open letter to Rowan Williams on the Church’s treatment of homosexuality. One paragraph offers a different approach to ministry and mission…
“We are an LGBT(lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender)-led church, yet we talk far more about mission than we do about sexuality. We commend this approach to you.”
To read the letter in full follow this link – MCC Open Letter
God Bless and Keep You
July 2011 – Christians at Pride, CofE announces review of sexuality, Financial Support
June 2011 - Annual Meeting, Scottish Presbyterian & Italian Lutherans, CofE Bishops Controversy, Pilgimage of Repentance
May 2011 – Gay Marriage debate, Transgender recognition, Maze,
April 2011 – Baptist Focus, BMS World Mission, Pastor Peter J Gomes
March 2011 – Religious Civil Partnerships; Bishop Derek Rawcliffe
February 2011 – Ugandan Murder; UN Resolution; April Conference