A Guest At The Table

Today’s prompt is guest, which is appropriate, given how many of our brothers and sisters will feel this way after the disappointing and heartbreaking decision made by the General Synod on same-sex marriage.

The canon did not pass because of a single vote. Let that single vote stand as a testament that it only takes one person to destroy the hopes of a community. However, after seeing some of the backlash present across media (including some dear friends of mine), I have come to see that this defeat has much broader implications. Many dioceses (including my own) have come out and stated they will authorize same-sex marriage rites regardless of the Synod’s decision, and I have heard some murmured discussion of churches possibly breaking with the wider Communion as a result.

Schism is on the horizon because of the vote of a single clergy member. It is quite possible that we will see more backlash as a result of the decision made at Synod, and I have a feeling it will not bode well. This worries me, as relations within the wider Anglican movement are already fraught, what with the African community’s concerns about defending tradition, and the Episcopal Church being censured due to its decision to allow its clergy to perform same-sex marriage.

It’s starting to look like this is the kind of decision that has the potential to make or break the Communion. While I am confident that our big tent has enough room for everyone to make themselves welcome, I am beginning to become truly concerned about the rips in the fabric. We cannot afford to lose anyone – churches, dioceses, or national organizations, and yet that is the way it looks to be going. It is so strange to me how the request to allow others to solemnize their love the same way heterosexual couples do has the potential to tear asunder the seamless coat of Christ. How is it that a movement founded in and for love – the very thing Christ asks of us to do – has the potential to do this much damage?

This is troubling for me on a personal level. While I am absolutely delighted that my diocese will authorize my priest to solemnize my upcoming nuptials, it hurts my heart to see that the canon did not pass by a single vote. It disturbs my mind to see the dioceses warring with one another over whether the bishops will authorize same-sex marriage rites, and I am concerned by the possibility of schism in a church that I have come to call home.

These are bleak days ahead of us, but I have faith that we will get through them. I have faith that I will live to see a day where the canon does pass and the wider Communion will enjoy the freedom that I do (thank you, Reverend). It is my hope that some of the more disillusioned brothers and sisters will return to Anglicanism, and have their own faith restored, and that the bleeding of congregations will stop.

These are my hopes, and these are my prayers; though for now, I will continue to privately grieve for those of my own who have had these long-treasured hopes dashed.


2 thoughts on “A Guest At The Table

  1. Excellent article, friend. It breaks my heart too, BUT the church is filled with human beings at the end of the day. Even with the Spirit’s movement, and our salvation in Christ, the church can still behave as if it is still in the world: Holding onto our own prejudices, maintaining rigid hierarchies, and warring against each other to the point of schism. It has been happening since well the church in Alexandra broke away from the main church in the late 5th century over a doctrinal dispute, and it will happen again.

    Thankfully that does not mean the Spirit is not moving. To the contrary, the fact that some churches are going to ahead with marrying same sex couples anyway says to me that the Holy Spirit is moving and changing the church slowly. Hopefully it sticks with it, and in this case follows the United Church of Canada’s lead on this.


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