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Search for new structure opens

The archbishops have opened a four-month search for suggested new church structures that could accommodate differing convictions on blessing same-gender relationships. 
•  The full text of the archbishops' letter. 

Taonga News  |  03 Jun 2016

The archbishops have outlined the process and the timetable by which the church will make a final search for a structure that will satisfy people of differing convictions on the issue of the blessing of same gender relationships.

And Anglicans who want to have a say in shaping those structural arrangements have four months to make their suggestions.

On September 1, the archbishops will name the personnel on a new working group whose task will be to consider those suggestions.

The deadline for those suggestions is October 1, and the working group will provide feedback to the proposers and the wider church by the end of January 2017. It may also develop its own options.

The working group will finalise its proposal – or set of proposals – by July 1 next year, as required by Motion 29.

Last month’s General Synod in Napier put the issue of same-sex blessings on hold for another two years – but made it clear that a decision on this matter will be made at the 2018 General Synod.

The Napier synod passed Motion 29 – which tabled the ‘A Way Forward’ report until the 2018 General Synod “with a firm expectation that a decision to move forward will be made then.”

Motion 29 also called for the establishment of another working group, with a tightly focussed mandate: “to consider possible structural arrangements within our Three-Tikanga Church to safeguard both theological convictions concerning the blessing of same gender relationships.”

While both Tikanga Maori and Tikanga Pasifika had made it clear they were ready to adopt the provisions proposed in the ‘A Way Forward’ report, Tikanga Pakeha was sharply divided.

Tikanga Maori and Tikanga Pasifika then suggested a grace period of two years in which the church could seek other “structural arrangements” that would be acceptable to all.

The archbishops have today sent out a letter to the wider church which outlines the General Synod’s adoption of Motion 29, describes the process by which “possible structural arrangements” are to be sought, and suggests a prayer for use during the search period.

That letter can be read here.