Anglican Bishop John Parkes on Saturday obtained a majority vote at the synod of the Diocese of Wangaratta allowing the blessings of same-sex marriages. In the coming weeks, he will bless two local priests after their marriage. John Davis and Rob Whalley will marry after a relationship of more than 20 years.
Despite the church not currently allowing clergy to marry same-sex couples, Bishop Parkes said, “Will things develop? Who knows. The future is an open horizon of possibility.”
After a year of researching how to promote inclusion of LGBTIQ people while still obeying church rules, the bishop said, “It’s about inclusivity. It’s about God being God of all people….
“This is a long-overdue recognition that if God is love, and faithful persons are living together in love, then the church ought to bless those persons in the name of God.”
The bishop acknowledged the possibility of resistance.
“There are suggestions that I will be disciplined by other parts of the church.
“If I’ve done something wrong then I am more than happy to answer for it, but I don’t believe I have.”
He said tension existed within the church over the issue for many years.
Despite that, he thought now the right time for him to act on his beliefs.
Bishop Parkes retires later this year.
Awareness of LGBTIQ despair led Anglican Bishop to decision
Bishop Parkes said as he researched the issue he became aware of the high number of LGBTIQ people either self-harming or committing suicide.
That was his motivation to act and offer blessings.
“I hope that at least in this part of north-east Victoria it will mean that gay and lesbian Christians can be who they are; marry under state law and be blessed and accepted in their church.”
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