The Rev Edward Prebble agrees with Bishop Philip Richardson’s argument that only General Synod has the authority to make the ordination of gays and lesbians safe from legal challenge.
And so he’s laid down a challenge to the bishop.
He’s invited him to second a motion to the next General Synod recognising that same-sex orientation is “an expression of God-given diversity.”
In an open letter to Bishop Richardson, Edward Prebble draws attention to a resolution that he and the late Professor Richard Sutton moved at the 2004 General Synod.
That called for the church in this province to study, listen and report back on a way forward on “issues relating to homosexuality.”
However, he writes to Bishop Richardson, the divisions on that subject ran so deep that synods became widely seen as a fruitless way forward.
But if only General Synod can make decisions on these matters, and “we do not wish to force the issue by making synod come to a decision, you leave gay, lesbian and bisexual Anglicans in a cruel Catch-22.”
Eight years on, Edward Prebble wonders whether this is a matter “whose time has come.”
He tells Bishop Richardson that he’s confident he could persuade one of his friends in the Auckland, Waiapu, Dunedin or Te Wai Pounamu delegations to the 2012 General Synod to move the following motion:
“That This Synod/ Te Hinota Whanui regards sexual orientation towards those of one’s own gender as an expression of God given diversity.
And he challenges the bishop: “Would you be willing to second the motion?”
Bishop Richardson says he’s read Edward Prebble’s letter “with interest”.
“But I don’t think that the kind of motion that he’s describing would be helpful to the General Synod – for the very reasons that he gives in his letter.
“However, I suspect that there are some constructive steps that the next General Synod can be encouraged to take towards resolving this matter, which I’m keen to investigate further.”