Two Anglican priests who recently wed, John Davis and Rob Whalley, say they won’t be driven out of the Anglican church over their marriage.
This week, Sydney Archbishop Glenn Davies blasted church recognition of same-sex unions and called for same-sex marriage supporters to “please leave us” rather than “ruin the church”.
“My own view is that if people wish to change the doctrine of our church, they should start a new church or join a church more aligned to their views,” he said.
“But do not ruin the Anglican church by abandoning the plain teaching of scripture.”
But the move infuriated senior Anglicans and the decision was referred to the church’s internal appeals tribunal.
The couple told the Border Mail that they will not be leaving the church and called for “perspective” in the debate.
“What [Archbishop Davies] is basically saying is people who disagree with him cannot breathe the same institutional air as they do,” Father Davis said.
“These are the demands of a fundamentalist sect.
“They are really asking for a complete bust up, they want it. But they want other people to leave, not themselves.”
Father Davis said the Archbishop had criticised same-sex relationships but had been silent on the Ugandan Anglicans’ support to introduce the death penalty for gay sex.
“The Archbishop of Sydney’s statements are not unexpected,” he said.
“But they are without doubt the most extreme that he has so far made. It’s deeply offensive stuff.”
Trans and gender diverse people welcomed at Brisbane Anglican schools
In a letter on behalf of the Archbishop of Brisbane, Reverend Jeremy Greaves said Davies’ comments had caused “deep distress”. But his views did not reflect that of the Anglican Church in Southern Queensland, Rev Greaves said.
“[We have] taken a different view, expressing [our] desire to be a welcoming and safe church for all and together to work through admittedly complex issues on which people hold diverse views,” he said.
“All God’s children are welcome and affirmed in the Anglican Church Southern Queensland and no one is asked to leave.
“We treasure the unity of the church and the reconciliation of all people and the whole creation wrought by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Asking people to leave the church undermines this fundamental truth.”
Rev Greaves also noted the Brisbane Diocesan Synod had recently affirmed that trans and gender diverse people were “welcomed, loved and supported” at Anglican schools.
Equal Voices group slams Anglican Archbishop’s comments
Meanwhile, national LGBTIQ Christian alliance Equal Voices also slammed Dr Davies’ comments this week.
Spokesperson Rev Dr Jo Inkpin is an Anglican priest in Brisbane. She said Dr Davies’ comments expose the church’s “ugly face” of exclusion of LGBTIQ Australians of faith.
“As both an Anglican priest and a transgender woman, I know too well the harm that’s being done,” she said.
“It is time to choose love not exclusion.”
Dr Inkpin said the “aggressive” comments are “deeply damaging to the mental health and wellbeing of so many in our society”. The comments are also a “betrayal of the love and generous hospitality of Jesus,” she said.
She’s concerned the federal government’s planned religious discrimination legislation would empower such exclusion.
“It is no coincidence that the Sydney diocese is also in the forefront of pressing for the strengthening of legally discriminatory powers,” she said.
“This week’s call for LGBTIQA+ people and their allies to leave churches is a harbinger of what is to come in our wider communities if the government does not rethink their actions.”
Regional Anglican dioceses vote on blessing same-sex marriages
The Anglican Church of Australia does not permit its priests to perform same-sex marriages.
But last month, the Wangaratta Anglican diocese in regional Victoria voted in favour of giving churches the option of blessing same-sex married couples.
The church’s internal appeals tribunal is now considering that decision.
Later, the synod of Newcastle diocese in regional New South Wales announced it would hold a similar vote later this month.
Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies said the church’s General Synod will meet for a special session on same-sex marriages and blessings.
He said Anglicans must make “a clear statement about the teaching of the Bible” so marriage “is held in honour among all and the marriage bed is not defiled.”
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