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Katene’s comments

Taonga asked Katene Eruera, who convened the Motion 29 Working Group, to briefly unpack the reports’ six key recommendations. The quoted sentences following each recommendation are his response:

Taonga News  |  10 Jul 2017
  • No alteration to the formularies of this Church

“We shouldn’t change anything in our prayer book, or in any other authoritative source which reflects church teachings on a particular subject – including marriage. This allows fair and robust debate to continue because we are not of one mind in this Church.”

  • Enabling amorangi and diocese to safeguard theological convictions within their episcopal units.

“General Synod/Te Hīnota Whānui should devolve responsibility on this issue to amorangi and dioceses, so that freedom of conscience can be guaranteed. This devolution should ensure that those who agree with same gender blessings – and those who disagree with them – are able to do so with integrity.

“Our report seeks to take a ‘light touch’ – because we believe that amorangi and diocese must be trusted to make the right decisions for their people.”

  • Amendment of the declarations of adherence and submission to the authority of GSTHW

“A clergy person or member of a church office shouldn’t be torn between (a) promising to abide by the authority of the General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui; (b) giving their assent to any decision GSTHW makes regarding same-gender blessings, and (c) staying faithful to their own conscience. 
“Rather, an individual should be free to exercise their conscience according to their theological conviction while pledging to uphold Te Pouhere / the Constitution and the rules and processes for good church governance and order that flow from it.”

  • Allowing amorangi and diocesan bishops to authorise individual clergy within their ministry units to conduct services blessing same gender relationships.

“The decision to authorise and conduct services of same gender blessings should rest with the bishop of an amorangi or diocese; and only clergy they authorise to conduct these services may do so.”

  • Providing immunity from complaint for bishops and clergy for exercising their discretion on whether or not to authorise or conduct services of same gender blessings.

“We should protect bishops and clergy from complaint; irrespective of their decision whether or not to authorise and/or conduct services of same gender blessing.”

  • Recognising Orders of Consecrated Life to allow for those with clear theological convictions to have those convictions respected and protected.

“Christian communities comprising membership of individuals, groupings or ministry units, who seek to profess a rule of life based on common theological conviction, may be officially recognised as part of the wider witness and life of this Church.”  

Footnote: The Rev Katene Eruera is the Dean of Tikanga Maori at St John’s College. He is an ordained priest, a theologian – and a lawyer. He was asked by the archbishops to convene the Motion 29 Working Group.