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Same-sex debate questioned

14 June 2013

THE Anglican Communion might never reach agreement about same-sex relationships, the Bishop of Gippsland, in Victoria, the Rt Revd John McIntyre, has told his annual diocesan synod.

An "enormous amount of time, energy, and resources" had been poured into attempts to find a common way forward on the matter, he said, but this could not continue, because those bearing the pain of the lack of resolution were same-sex-attracted people.

The "dynamics of power and control" that were underlying currents to the debate had a sinister element, he said. Some thought that if they could gain control of the Church, they could ensure its purity - and their own salvation - by excluding those whom they considered impure.

The solution might lie in "the historical genius of Anglicanism, common prayer", he said. In the emerging Church of England, "those who disagreed vehemently with each other on all manner of things were required to worship together with an authorised liturgy and no other. This became the basis for a unity grounded in Jesus Christ worshipped together, and not based on agreement with each other on all matters of faith and practice.

"Were we today to embrace our historical Anglican heritage fully, I believe we would go a long way to removing the unnecessary conflict and division in the Anglican Communion caused by the current debate about the place of same-sex-attracted people in the life of the Church."

In his synod address last year, Bishop McIntyre said that his commitment to scripture had led him to support the appointment of gay and lesbian people to church ministries, causing the Sydney Synod Standing Committee to accuse him of a "breach of trust" (News, 15 June 2012).

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