Become a Church that welcomes all in Christ
Petitioning Members of General Synod / Te Hinota Whanui 2014,
We want to encourage the members of GSTHW14, the governing body of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, to take steps at this year's meeting (10-15 May) towards becoming a Church which welcomes all and expresses the love of Christ for all, including faithful LGBT Anglicans and their friends and families.
As expressed in the Ma Whea report, the Anglican Communion has been engaging in a variety of ways with issues of human sexuality since the mid 1950s (p. 27). In recent years in our province, we have had many opportunities for discussion and learning together, at parish, diocesan and provincial levels, and this year GS/THW will receive key reports from the Ma Whea Commission on Same-Gender Relationships, Ordination and Blessing and the Commission on Doctrine & Theological Questions. Much significant work has also been done through our series of Hermeneutics Hui.
We recognise that as a Church we are not of one mind on these matters. But we believe that our Scriptures, our living tradition, our reason and our experience are all calling us as a Church to find a way to honour the lives and faith of LGBT Anglicans in our midst. We still have much to learn together and we must remain committed to continued prayer and study on matters of marriage and sexuality. However, it has long been the Anglican way to learn by doing, through praxis and reflection.
If we continue to stand still as a Church, we will gain nothing and we will begin to lose many more LGBT Anglicans with their friends and families, and many, many others who already feel deeply alienated and grieved by our present exclusionary stance. We understand that some would experience any change as alienating and threatening, and that every care must be taken to minimize further damage – but our status quo is already causing threat, alienation and deep hurt to many of us.
Therefore, with this petition we prayerfully call on members of GS/THW to use the Ma Whea Report as a springboard for change and action, in the power of the Holy Spirit. We call on them to move us towards being a Church that has the freedom to welcome all in the love of Christ to full participation in our life.
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